Monday, 19 November 2012

Strong-willed Woman

Faridah Hanim Haron or Ibu Hanim was my immediate superior from the previous company I worked before I joined the Civil Service. Both of them has shaped me where I am now. They are my role model and their coaching method was where I learned the skills, attitude and behaviour in management and leadership. I followed Ibu Hanim everywhere she goes, learn, and do whatever she does which in a way that is the most effective learning method in all. Her own story touches everyone and leads people to change for betterment.

Ibu lived in Kelantan when she was married and she has two children, a girl, and a boy. At that time, she was the headmistress for the Kemas Kindergarten but one accident has made her paralysed from the spine towards down the feet. She cannot walk and had difficulties moving around. It was hard imagining her children at home and her immobile conditions, but she discovered that her son could not response to her when she call and cannot speak at the age of three years old. For a child, his responses was considered slow at that time. It was a heart wrenching moment because she could not move to help his son. Subsequently, because of his son, she forced and courage herself to start moving and try to walk. Her strong-willed has gotten her to walk gradually even though it was a very painful experience. She accompanied her son to the doctor frequently to check his health.

At last, the cause was found out and he was given the ear machine so that he can hear and converse like a normal person. Ibu’s positive mindset and stories gave a tremendous impact to each person who knows her.

At the workplace, Ibu taught and showed me each step in doing a task and make sure I understood before she leave it to me to finishing it. She explained well about the reason each task and its goal. I remember vividly when she tells the other colleague about how we must know ‘Start with an end with mind’ by Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and with that I can conclude that she is a great woman who knows want she wants and acts positively.

The second person is Mr. Ho Sook Wah, the former Chief Executive Officer where he was good in conveying message through leadership stories in his speeches. I love to hear him speak and inspire me each time. His sincerity and passion to the job was show with seriousness, integrity and creative. He too has very much influenced me to always be an integrity person and serious in our job.

Both of them, Ibu and Mr. Ho gave me an insight and meaningful working experience in the 3 years we worked together. They were the most versatile and consistent change agent where they change the mindset of the subordinates in order to achieve the company’s goal. Indeed, they are great mentor, coach, inspiring leaders with positive mindset, Integrity, always has creative ideas and solutions cater to shareholders’ needs.

I personally think that great ideas come from the leaders who visualise and see big pictures. In the current workplace, subordinates do not know and understand the whole process involving the organisation. Therefore, they tend to be a follower. They only do whatever the boss instructs them to do without appreciating the values behind it. The leader has the responsibility to explain and make them understand the values and processes so that we can perform better. Subsequently, we embed a creative and innovative culture in the organisation.

The mistakes I always see in the organisation and leaders made as follows:
·         Tai chi culture;
·         Blaming culture;
·         Cannot see big picture;
·         No detailed and customised approach;
·         No analytical skills; and
·         No walk the talk.

Tai Chi culture starts when some task given to the person but ignored, not done properly and job being push to other people. This culture normally will eventually subside as blaming culture because people do not want to take responsibility and start to blame each other. Leaders often make mistakes when they could not see the big picture and the vision, mission and goals of the organisation. When this happens, detailed and customised approach based on situation is not implementing accordingly. I notice that not many leaders who can analyse and access each task and problem well. In addition, the lack of this skill from leaders can made wrong decisions and mistakes. Moreover, staffs judge their leaders if they walk the talk. When they are not, the level of happiness will go down and could not give their full strength and commitment to the said leaders.

In order to address the mistakes above and be a better leader, he must ‘turun padang’, do and experience some of the activities himself so that each decision made is according to the task. Be a role model to the staff, coaching and mentoring is important and crucial in knowledge management culture. He must know to appreciate the work process and read good leadership and management books, understand the correct and suitable leadership style and choose a better management method according to the organisation.

I was fascinated with the book Death by Meeting written by Patrick Lencioni when I read 5 years ago. The reason I especially like this book because of its practicality, performance based while looking on the soft side such as peer relationships. It shows how good and bad decisions made according to the meeting handling by leaders and a proper ways to be good one.
Lastly, a leader must do reflections everyday and strategise his moves daily to leverage the vision we have set every day.

I would suggest that to be a grown and developed leader, one must have a sense of belonging to the organisation and passionate to the job, then only it will drives him to work towards the set goals and mission. Continuous search and read good book and and new information. Recently, new concepts was designed to cater the complex challenges, demands and new expectations face by the organisations and government where each person should be promoted to good instincts, reflexes and well-honed solutions in addressing problem. Volans introduced Future Quotient (FQ) in 2011 where it involving the past and present thinking and how it affects the future thinking.
In FQ, new leadership is needed to align mindset and behaviors with longer time. Therefore. It emphasizes the five dimension of high FQ leadership such as :

1.    Systematic
This refers to a systematic and planned change according to the desired results. The change must involve the stakeholders and its corporate agenda.

2.    Wider
The scope of change has to include a wider aspect of 360 degrees where past, present and future aspects were looked and analyzed.

3.    Deeper
The capacity for deeper understanding has become stretched and the time has come for us to think and analyses deeper by looking at key challenges. Each challenges need to be analyzed and dig further to get a better perspectives in getting to solutions and decision.  It could use Cause and Effect the Fishbone Model and 5 Ws and 1 H to achieve this process.

4.    Higher
Leaders with FQ will make higher ambitions and expectations embracing stretch goals and setting their targets higher than others thought it should be. This is a risk staking stage.

5.    Longer
Timescale in planning must also include long term planning and short term as well. Traditionally, organization tend to focus on short term strategies instead of long term, as a result we realized the fact and make sure long term strategy is inserted as part of the strategic planning.

FQ also introduced Long term Innovation 7 C’s criteria such as :

  •    values, empathy, passion, purpose, demonstrate a strong change orientation

Leaders need a capacity both to scan
360-degree horizons and to focus down like
a laser on critically important priorities. They challenge the status quo. They are driven to change the current order. If they are CEOs, they see beyond the bottom line. The critical point is that they take their investors, customers, employees along with them where they ask for more change.
  • openness, playful, understanding, remain intensely curious

A voracious appetite for new ideas, for new
conversations and for different ways of doing
old things—or new things to be done.
  • connected, fusion, generous, networked, experiment with new ways to be collaborative

Success comes from being connected, being
collaborative, tapping into society’s “cognitive
surplus”—or willingness to contribute to open
source methods for developing solutions.
  • focused, patient, risk-tolerant

System change demands immense courage,
sustained over long timescales. High-FQ
leaders have courage and stamina, plus an
ability to adapt when necessary. They also
motivate others to follow their lead.
  • analysis, ideas, optimism, play into creative destruction and renewal

Understand the macro-economic trends,
the lessons of history and the drivers in the
sustainability agenda that will reshape global
  • having children, legacy, long-termist

Generational agendas come in many forms.
They differ for product designers and for
animal breeders, for family businesses and
pension funds. There are natural selection
processes that ensure a better alignment of the business with the interests of stakeholders, and lessons can be learned and transferred to other sectors.
Culturally Connected
  • systemic thinking, vision, work to co-evolve the cultural context

Changing mindsets is tough, but changing
behaviors is almost impossible at times
unless you also change cultures. That is what
a growing number of pioneers are attempting.
Done well, this takes us several steps
towards paradigm change.
The Future Quotient Final Report 10-Nov-2011, Chapter 3.

As a result, to be an inspired and role model leader, he must has the desire of continuous learning and reflect while practicing the FQ dimensions and values to achieve the target according to the agenda.

Wong Yuen Roei
Sidang C DPA 1/2012



Ali, M. (2011). Successful Manager's Handbook. DK.
Analytical Quotient. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2012, from
Culbert, S. A. (1996). Mind-set Management : The Heart of Leadership. USA: Oxford University Press.
Future Quotient. (2011, November 10). Retrieved November 16, 2012, from
Henry Mintzberg, B. A. (2010). Management? It's Not What You Think. Prentice Hall.
Kohlrieser, G. (2006). Hostage At The Table. USA: JOssey-Bass.
Van Assen, V. d. (2003). Key Management Models. United Kingdom: Prentice Hall.

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