Bazi Profile | In Adversity Rises the Leader (Hero)
The title of this article is a phrase used commonly in turbulent times. On Friday, September 11, 2015, 2.3 million Singaporeans went to the polling stations situated nationwide to cast our votes. During the run-up to the election, social media, with huge crowds attending opposition rallies including a whatsapp message that I received on the “bookies bet” on the results favoured the opposition; the actual result was quite a shocker. In my hubby’s words, “he was stunned like vegetable (a phrase from a popular Youtube song),” when the sample results were out at about 9pm that fateful night.
The resounding success of the ruling party reflected the silent approval of the majority’s endorsement of the shift of PAP’s approach to be more consultative, flexible, and inclusive whilst showing Singaporeans that they are the best team with the best track record to bring us further into the next 50 years.
It takes a crisis to showcase true leadership. On 9 August 1965, when the Malaysian parliament severed Singapore’s ties to Malaysia as a state, the Republic of Singapore was born. Mr Lee Kuan Yew had since led a team of committed people, groomed two more generations of leaders and led the country to transition from “the third world to the first world in a single generation” under his stewardship[2,3].
Similarly, when the PAP suffered a setback in the 2011 polls, we saw the bouncing back of the government led by Mr Lee Hsien Loong addressing the key hot button issues and grievances in housing, immigration, transportation and healthcare. In November 2011, Mr Lee pledged that “a new PAP for a new era.” was needed. This new PAP has worked and shown us that as a government, they are willing to correct any policy shortcomings and work in tandem with the general public to address needed issues.
Whether the election results were helped by our celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday or our lingering sentiment for Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, it has a large part to do with our need for assurance that we have the best and most qualified team leading us the next 50 years, especially with the turbulent times coming ahead of us.
Unlike the past where our country’s leadership team spoke about the course of the country’s future direction (whether it being the regional hub for education, finance or bio-medical industry), this election’s focus was really about its people and the issues that the country faces. These issues include Singapore’s aging population, rising costs of living, infrastructure overload and immigration policies. However, these are issues that all first world economies face today. From my view point as a Singaporean, there will always be issues related to aging population and the rising costs of living associated to being a developed economy. What we need, is not more opposition parties to check on a government which is trying to do its job better. What we need, is more debate, open-mindedness and foresight on how Singapore can forge its future for the next 50, 100 years or more whilst trying to resolve the impending concerns discussed — whether it is from the opposition or the existing ruling party.
In the absence of these discussions and being brought up in a well-protected environment (where we always err on the tried and tested), on hind sight, it is no surprise that the majority of us chose the party which brought us through 50 years. The winning party briefly discussed about the next 50 years, talked about leadership renewal and at the same time, expressed that they are humbled by the landslide victory. They promised that they will listen to our feedback (some would classify it as complaining) and work with us with an open mind while not subjecting themselves to populist pressures to do what is right for Singapore.
Let us turn and look at leadership in crisis from a corporate organization’s perspective. In PWC’s 2015 survey, McCormick & Company CEO Alan D. Wilson, noted that business leaders who “are always expanding their perspective and what they know—and have that natural curiosity—are the people that are going to be successful.”
I spoke to my business mentor Mr Benjamin Q. Avancena (Ben) to find out more about the critical things that a leader in an organization should observe during a crisis. Ben is currently the CEO and Founding Partner of OneAsia Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare consulting company based in Singapore. Prior to OneAsia, Ben worked at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices & Diagnostics for over 23 years.
When Ben first took over as Managing Director of the company, it was not for one but a total of three countries (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia). For a start, he worked together with his team and predecessor to build the vision and assemble plans for achieving substantial growth. Unfortunately, within a short period of 3 months, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 happened. Though he had only a few months’ of experience working in these 3 markets, Ben was driven and promised to stay committed to ensure that his company survives the crisis.
Working together with his team, strategies were put in place to overcome pricing, revenue collection and currency devaluation issues. These were crucial for the protection of the company’s profits, cash flow and employees’ job security. To ensure successful execution, he worked hand-in-hand with his team to implement the new pricing policies whilst ensuring proper communication with all levels of management and key customers. Through his transformational leadership (common of the Pioneer Bazi Profile), the company overcame the crisis and his team’s morale and performance swelled. It was not surprising that the company grew by leaps and bounds!
Through his years of experience, he believes that the following are the critical steps to overcome a crisis:
- Ensure active involvement, feedback and communication with your team and customers at all levels.
- Be in the field to understand core issues. An intimate knowledge of customers will allow you to understand critical and fundamental challenges faced by the team and the company.
- Have one-to-one meetings with all the key members of the organization. It is important to get to know them and have a good understanding of the work they have done. This will enable you to assess their strengths and areas of improvement and these assessments can be linked with insights learned from the market place about the organization and its people.
- Have a clear strategy and plan of action.
- Implement a comprehensive strategic plan based on knowledge learned from the market. This should include a clear SWOT analysis. Listen, talk and involve the team to identify issues and strategies to overcome them.
- Ensure you have the best team or people.
- Take an inventory of strengths and weaknesses of the leadership team. Identify gaps, competencies and skills. Rebuild the team, matching responsibilities with strengths and recruit strong talent where gaps exist.
- Relentless implementation and execution of plans.
- Be decisive and take action. Walk the talk, be hands-on, ensure proper execution, and consistently communicate plans of action. Decisions made may not be correct all the time but it is better than not making any decision or taking any action at all.
As seen from the above, so long as there are people, feelings and an organization involved (be it a country or company), it is important for the leader (whatever leadership style or trait) to understand and take stock of the situation; set the direction and strategies to overcome the crisis; identify and build your team, allocating the right people to the right roles (use Bazi Profile to aid you); walk the talk and ensure proper implementation and accomplishment of your set plans to achieve the set objectives.
Thank you for taking time to read this article, if you would like to find out more about your unique Bazi Profile personality based on the time-tested Bazi-Asian personality profiling system, please click on the links below where you can get the following personalized reports online:
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Janet Yung (amazon.com/author/janetyung)
Feng Shui and Bazi Consultant. Author. Harmony Adviser.
Terms utilized from Joey Yap’s Bazi Profiling System.
Allison, G. (2015). Lee Kuan Yew: Lessons for leaders from Asia’s ‘Grand Master’. CNN. Retrieved on 13 September, 2015 from http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/28/opinions/singapore-lee-kuan- yew-graham-allison/
Weatherbee, D.E. (2008). Historical Dictionary of United States-Southeast Asia Relations. Scarecrow Press. p. 213. ISBN9780810864054.
Lydia, L. (2015). The Quiet Transformation of the PAP. The Straits Times. Retrieved on 13 September, 2015 from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/quiet-transformation-of-the- pap
Berger, W. Why Curious People are Destined for the C Suite? Retrieved on 13 September, 2015 from https://hbr.org/2015/09/why-curious-people- are-destined-for-the-c-suite? and http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo- survey/