Thursday 22 November 2012


I heard it once said that a good example has twice the value of a good advice. I came across a powerful leadership story that I would like to share which highlights what is leading by example all about. We always think that to be a leader, an individual must have an ability to motivate group of people towards a common goal. Being a leader is very different than being a boss. Its role is similar to a father who has responsibility to lead and guide his family, from the birth of his children until they grow up and complete their study in addition to being a successful person in the future. This is a common goal for every big happy family.

                My father is not a famous and a career-oriented person, but till now I regard him as a highly educated individual. I have learnt from his actions, not by words alone and he would always teach and show me how to be a leader. My father was a lorry driver and a very hardworking person to support his family. He made sure that his children will get a better life in future and do not follow his footsteps as a lorry driver. I remembered on one day sweet day during school holiday, he brought his children, one by one to experience the hardship and difficulties of his work so that this experience would become a valuable lesson. 
                I have eight siblings and it was my turn to accompany my father to work as a lorry driver, loading timber to Pasir Gudang, Johor. Along the journey, I tried not to sleep because I wanted to chat with my father so that he would not feel sleepy too. I asked my father, why he had chosen the job as a lorry driver. He answered, Never turn down any golden opportunity in future because I made a mistake when rejected a good opportunity and the opportunity will not come back because it only comes once in a lifetime. I was surprised by my father's saying that opportunity will not reappear on a second time. After we had a chat, I realised that my father had received an offer to be an English teacher at Alor Star, Kedah. He rejected that offer just because he wanted to travel and live independently.

                From that experience, I was committed and made great stride to study hard so that I will not let down my familys hope. Even though my father could not spend time together with his family members, but whenever he returned back and on leave, he would ask the progress of our studies. At times, he advised me not to focus on extra-curricular activities too much because he was worried that I could not concentrate on my studies. I had to convince him that I would not neglect my studies while participating in extra-curricular activities. I realised that as a leader, an individual could not focus on two different things at the same time. But as a child, we had to convince our parents and double-up our efforts so that we could reach our aspiration successfully.
                F. John Reh mentioned that a leader has a vision. Leaders see a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal that needs to be achieved. It may be something that no one else wants to tackle. Whatever it is, it is the focus of the leaders attention and they work on it with a single-minded determination. They have a clear goal in mind and committed to get there. Whether anyone else shares that vision or not, they push forward towards it. They do not allow anything or anyone elses fears or doubts get in the way of them reaching their goal. They are always positive that they will get there.
                One of the leaders I want to highlight is Malcolm X, also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother Louise Norton Little suffered emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband. It was rumored that Malcolm Xs father died because he was killed by white supremacists. His mother was committed to a mental institution, Kalamazoo State Hospital. Her children were separated and sent to various foster homes and orphanages and at that time, Malcolm X was thirteen. Malcolm was a smart, focused student. He graduated from junior high at the top of his class. However, when a favorite teacher responded to Malcolm that his dream of becoming a lawyer was no realistic goal for a nigger, it made Malcolm felt hat the white world offered no place for a career-oriented black man, regardless of his talent. Malcolm then lost interest in school.

He dropped out, spent some time in Boston, Massachusetts working various odd jobs, and then traveled to Harlem, New York where he committed petty crimes. By 1943, Malcolm was engaged in drug dealing, gambling, racketeering, robbery and pimping. In 1946, Malcolm and his friend Shorty Jarvis were arrested and convicted on burglary charges, and Malcolm was sentenced to 10 years in prison. But he was paroled after serving an eight to ten year sentence at Charlestown State Prison.
                Normally people would prefer to share those have a nice, special and qualities background, but for me, I like to share about Malcolm X because he was one of the victims of discrimination which always happen in the world, in which those who have capabilities and potentials to lead, will give up and become a person that they would never want to be. This happened to Malcolm. Recalling his days while in prison, he used the time to further his education. It was during the period of self-enlightenment that Malcolms brother, Reginald visited and discussed his recent conversion to Muslim religion. Intrigued, Malcolm begun to study the teachings of the Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Ellijah Muhammad and in late 1948, Malcolm wrote to Muhammad who advised him to renounce his past, humbly bow in prayer to Allah, and promised not to engage in destructive behavior again.

                Intelligent and articulate, Malcolm was appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the NOI. Ellijah Muhammad also charged him in establishing new mosques in cities such as Detroit, Michigan and Harlem, New York. Malcolm utilised newspaper columns, as well as radio and television to communicate the NOI's message across the United States. His charisma and conviction attracted an astounding number of new members. Malcolm was largely credited with increasing membership in the NOI from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963.
                Malcolm said that, I am not educated, nor am I an expert in any particular field.... but I am sincere and my sincerity is my credential". Since joining the NOI, Malcolm had strictly adhered to the teachings of Muhammad which included remaining celibate until his marriage to Betty Shabazz in 1958. Malcolm refused Muhammads request for help to cover up the affairs and subsequent children. He was deeply hurt by deception of Muhammad, whom he had considered a living prophet. In March 1964, Malcolm terminated his relationship with the NOI and decided to found his own religious organisation, the Muslim Mosque Inc. In that same year, Malcolm went on pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia and the trip proved life altering, returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration and a new hope for the future. This time when Malcolm spoke, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races. Then he knew, human right is something you were born with. Human right is your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognised by all nations of this earth.

                Referring to the debate was Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X is the great leaders, one out of ten said that Malcolm was a great leader even though Malcolm was a drug dealer, drug user and gambler. Yet, he took it upon himself to learn to read, to learn to articulate and hone his speech, to learn proper mannerisms, to stand as a man, to learn the politics and ways of the world. These qualities were not given nor trained to him but he earned it and learned it by his own. He ever said, "Without education, you're not going anywhere."

                He was extremely militant, a separatist, border lining hatred for his Caucasian counterparts. However, after came back from Mecca, Malcolm became a real man and realised that he was wrong. Malcolm X believed that before we go to someone else's house, we must clean up our own. In other words, Malcolm X believed that in order for us to excel in this "integrated"  society, we must get ourselves together first. We must build ourselves up, so we are strong enough and resilient enough to come together with other races for common good. He was not a racist, nor is anyone that believes in his teachings. He merely believed that if the United State is a melting pot for various nationalities as it claims to be, then we must be strong and proud and, most importantly, knowledgeable of our own history and heritage before we can learn about others. He believed in Black Pride. That doesn't make the man a racist. It makes him a black nationalist. One of Malcolm X's famous quotes is, "I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should respect as such, regardless of their colour".

                After leaving the NOI, Malcolm X announced his willingness to work with leaders of the civil rights movement, though he felt that it could change its focus to human rights. Malcolm X declared that he and the other members of the Organization of Afro-American Unity were determined to defend themselves from aggressors, and to secure freedom, justice and equality "by whatever means necessary", arguing that if the government was unwilling  or unable to protect black people, they should protect themselves. Because of Malcolm was one of the charismatic spokesman, there were a few people did not like it. He received many death threats from Nation of Islam members. His home in New York, in Queens, was set on fire on February 14, 1965 a week before his death. The February 22, New York Times, presented quotation from an interview he gave on Feb. 18, "I'm a marked man. It doesn't frighten me for myself as long as I felt they will not hurt my family. No one can get out without trouble, and this thing with me will be resolved by death and violence".

                Malcolm X has been described as one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. He is credited with raising the self-esteem of Black Americans and reconnecting them with their African heritage. He is largely responsible for the spread of Islam in the black community in the United States. Many African Americans especially those who lived in cities in the Northern and Western United States, felt that Malcolm X articulated their complaints concerning inequality better than the mainstream civil rights movement did.

                On Feb. 21, 1965, the former NOI leader Malcolm X was shot and killed by assassins identified as Black Muslims as he was about to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. He was 39. Within days of the assassination, questions were raised about who bore ultimate responsibility. On February 23, James Farmer, the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, announced at a news conference that local drug dealers, and not the NOI, were to blame. Others accused the NYPD, the FBI, or the CIA, citing the lack of police protection, the ease with which the assassins entered the Audubon Ballroom, and the failure of the police to preserve the crime scene.

                For many, Malcolm X is a cultural hero and a symbol of black pride and social protest. What does his legacy mean? In various opinions, should this complex, self-made civil rights and spiritual leader be remembered for the messages he advocated for a majority of his public life or for the reformed beliefs of his later life.

                February 1965: The Final Speeches book by Malcolm X is an interesting collection of speeches that shows that the extraordinary transformation Malcolm X made during the few years following his journey to Mecca and Africa and his break with the Nation of Islam. It underscores the fact he was in the midst of broadening his views from the strict black nationalism of Elijah Muhammad and beginning to embrace the Pan-Africanism embodied in his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the time of his assassination. In which collected together for the first time are the speeches and interviews of the Malcolm X from the last three weeks of his life. One of his famous quotations in his speech is, "We declare our right in this be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."

                Besides that Malcolm X always remind the society especially to the youth regarding their behaviour and education. He said that, "Education is the passport to  the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today". And to the youth, teenagers and students, he kept remind that don't do a same mistake what he have done before. 

                As conclusion, why I have chosen Malcolm X and his leadership skills here, not because he was a drug dealer, gambler, and racism person, but from the other side, how he survived from the discrimination just because he was a Black American or they were always call 'nigger', even though, he was a great student in high school. He developed of his self-education in prison, and of his attraction to, and eventual prominence in, the Nation of Islam. In the late 1960s, as black activists became more radical, Malcolm X and his teachings were part of foundation on which they built their movements. The Black Power movement, The Black Arts Movement, and the widespread adoption of the motto "Black is beautiful" can all trace their roots to Malcolm X.

                There are so many memorials and tributes to Malcolm X. It will help people especially Black American remember and knew his legacy. He was very strong and never showed his fear of the threatening to kill him and he what just he said is, as long as they will never hurt his family. If I'm in his shoe, I scared to see people and give a speech to the public. It shows that, how Malcolm X serious with his responsibility regarding the human being and human rights. Norman Allen quoted that, "Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a leader's success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively".

NAI, Sidang C
DPA 1/2012

STEVEN PAUL "STEVE" JOBS – an innovator, an inspiration, a leader, a genius

Leadership as a topic has been touched upon by almost everyone & this becomes as integral part of almost all development programes. Quite a few of the generic points have been covered & certain new perspectives have also come up in the answers.The question is which one is the most essential of all? From my point of view leadership can be seen in a lot of ways but the most important way to understand it is by relating it to yourself or to foresee it from a person success. Sometimes you don’t have to be the most powerful person to be a good leader .As it comes from within, it can be seen by the way you act, the way u handle things, the way you manage people around you.

If I were to choose one of the best leaders in the world, I would go for Steve job. Sharing his leadership success will never be a waste. Not only did Steve Jobs build the world’s largest company, he succeeded in changing the world. In fact, in many ways his products and ideas have influenced almost everyone on our planet. From iTunes to the iPhone and the iPad, Apple’s brand and products extend to every corner of the globe and are present in almost every decision made in the consumer electronics market. The battle between Mac and PC users is nothing less than personal. You’re either one or the other, and you support your decision with a full heart. Someone is a Republican or Democrat, on Sprint or on T-mobile, a Mac or a PC. Well, you get the idea. No matter your opinion on Apple, its products, or of Steve Jobs’ leadership philosophies, we should all be able to agree that Jobs was an innovator and almost single-handedly changed the world. What entrepreneur would not admire that and be inspired?
The 10 Lessons of Steve Jobs are excerpts from Walter Isaacson’s, “The Real Lessons of Steve Jobs,” published in the Harvard Business Review, April 2012.

For the iPod, Jobs’ Zen simplicity shinned through when he eliminated the on/off button. The device gradually powered down, and flashed on when reengaged. Jobs also developed complex systems with integrated hardware and software so the user devices could be simple and focused on a few tasks. An  ecosystem—an iPod connected to a Mac connected to an iTunes store—allowed for a division of labor. The MAC could handle system administration, freeing the portable devices play music or show videos. Later, Jobs aimed for mobile phones, and he would grab a competitor’s phone and rant that features could not be navigated, including the address book. His iPhone did not need a user’s manual. At the end of his career, Jobs rethought the television industry, so people could click and watch what they wanted. He dreamed up ways to make television simple and personal.

2. Control the Experience
Apple took end-to-end responsibility for the  user. From the performance of the ARM microprocessor to the experience in an Apple Store, everything was tightly linked. Part of Jobs’ compulsion for “the whole widget” stemmed from his controlling personality. But it was also driven by his passion for perfection. The strategy set Apple apart from competitors.

3. Innovate
Innovators don’t have to be pioneers. With the original iMac, Jobs focused on managing photos and videos, but not music. People were downloading music and then burning their own CDs. The iMac’s drive couldn’t burn CDs. Jobs said, “I thought we had missed it.” But instead of upgrading the iMac’s CD drive, he created an integrated system that transformed the music industry. The combination was iTunes, the iTunes Store, and the iPod, which allowed users to buy, share, manage, store, and play music better than any other way. After the iPod became a huge success, Jobs thought phone makers might displace it by adding music in the handsets, so he preempted them with the iPhone.

4. Ignore Reality
Jobs’ (in)famous ability to push the impossible was dubbed his Reality Distortion Field, after an episode of Star Trek in which aliens create an alternative reality through sheer will. An early example was when Jobs was on the night shift at Atari and pushed Steve Wozniak to create a game called Breakout. Woz said it would take months, but Jobs stared at him and insisted he could do it in four days. Woz ended up doing it.

5. Have Confidence
With the iPhone, Jobs found plastic scratched easily and decided the face had to be glass. He met with Wendell Weeks, CEO of Corning (NYSE:GLW), who told him that Corning had developed a chemical process in the 1960s that led to “Gorilla glass.” Jobs said he wanted a major shipment of Gorilla glass in six months. Weeks said that Corning was not making the glass. “Don’t be afraid,” Jobs replied. A stunned Weeks, who was unfamiliar with Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field, tried to explain that a false sense of confidence would not trump engineering challenges. Jobs didn’t accept that premise. He stared unblinking at Weeks. “Yes, you can do it,” he said. “Get your mind around it. You can do it.” Weeks recalls his astonishment and then called the managers of Corning’s facility in Kentucky making LCD displays, and told them to convert immediately to Gorilla glass full-time. “We did it in under six months.”

6. Rethink Designs
Jobs personally spent time designing the jewel-like boxes for the iPod and iPhone and listed himself on the patents. He believed that unpacking was a ritual and heralded the glory of the product. For the iPhone, the initial design had the screen surrounded by an aluminum case. The problem was that the iPhone should have featured the display, not the case. The team changed it so the glass display was the phone.

7. Team with Winners
Jobs’ rudeness was packaged neatly with the diametrically opposed push for inspiration. He infused Apple employees a belief that they could accomplish anything. His rough treatment reflected a desire to work with the best and prevent “the bozo explosion,” in which managers are so polite that mediocre people feel comfortable staying. Jobs said, “Maybe there’s a better way—a gentlemen’s club where we all wear ties and speak in this Brahmin language and velvet code words—but I don’t know that way, because I am middle-class from California.”

8. Collaborate
Jobs believed creativity comes from spontaneous meetings. “You run into someone, and ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.” The Pixar building’s design promoted unplanned encounters around an atrium. He commented if a building didn’t encourage innovation, you lose the magic sparked by serendipity.

9. Vision + Details
Jobs’ passion was applied to issues both large and small. Some CEOs are great at vision; others know that God is in the details. In 2000 he came up with the grand vision that the personal computer should become a  hub for managing all of a user’s content, and got Apple into personal-devices. In 2010 he came up with the successor strategy—the hub would be consumed by the cloud—and Apple began building a huge server farm to upload and sync content to personal devices.

10. Rebel
Jobs asserted his counterculture personality in ads, proclaiming his hippie beginnings. When he returned to Apple, Jobs helped write the text for the “Think Different” ads: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes…” If there was any doubt that, consciously or not, he was describing himself, he dispelled it with the last lines: “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” In his commencement address to Stanford, he admonished students to follow their own dreams, and not to get caught up in living someone else’s life.

On the other hands, focusing on the success stories would not be enough to get the full inflection of leadership. The failures in one story have to be considered in order to grasp the whole picture of great leadership.

 Hire Fast and Fire Slow.
Few things are more critical to the success of an organization than the attraction and retention of remarkable talent. Unfortunately, leaders often get frustrated during the recruitment process and end up hiring B and C players just complete the task and have someone in place who can complete the work that isn’t getting done because of the vacancy or need. However, managing is 80% hiring. The fast hire of a B or C player inevitably leads to more time invested in managing, less quality production, slower growth rates, less profit and more morale problems.
If that weren’t enough, at some point, the leader will probably need to fire that person. Most leaders put off firing too long, which creates additional problems that could’ve been avoided if they had hired better in the first place (or had released the employee when it became obvious that the employee’s competencies had been exceeded). One of my great regrets as a leader was that I was too loyal and gracious (funny to hear a former pastor say that)—which means that I kept several people on staff too long. Once it becomes obvious that an employee’s competencies have been surpassed, it’s better for them (and you) to let them go. Eventually, you’ll have to let them go and when you do, it’ll be infinitely more complicated than if you had let them go when you knew it was time. If you want to learn from my pain, then you’ll want to practice my new rule: Hire Slow, Fire Fast. Memorize this rule or you’ll pay for it later.

Did not Invest Enough in Personal Leadership Development.
Capacity Theory states that people are entrusted with that which they have the capacity to handle. If a leader can only lead ten people, they won’t be entrusted with fifty. Likewise, if they can only lead a $5 million project, they won’t be entrusted with a $100 million project. The only way for leaders to continually grow is for them to invest in their leadership development. If you grow your capacity, you’ll automatically be entrusted with more. If you allow the busyness of your schedule to hinder your growth in your leadership capacity, you’ll hinder your future potential. At a minimum, you ought to invest 3% of your salary/income in personal development, plus whatever you can get from your company/employer. In addition, make sure you have a mentor (or mentors)—even if you have to pay for them.

The other day, I came across an article by Ron White where he attempted to draw a correlation between reading and income. Now, while there are plenty of poor people who read a lot and rich people who don’t, the statistic he offered is worth pondering. He wrote, “Statistics say the average CEO in America reads 4-5 books per month while the average American reads 1 book per year.” Regardless of his attempted correlation’s accuracy, the point of that quote worth pondering is that the average CEO reads four to five books per month. How many have you read this month? If you want to lead at a larger level, then you need to continually increase your leadership capacity, which almost always requires a fair amount of intentionality.

Focus on Tasks Versus Results.
Years ago, Alec Mackenzie wrote, “Nothing is easier than being busy, nothing more difficult than being effective.” How true! Most “leaders” get overwhelmed with the immense number of tasks they must accomplish so they tend to bury their head in them. Whenever you encounter this kind of leader, they almost always have that very busy and haggard look on their face that says, “Hey, I’ve got so much to do I don’t even have five seconds for you.” However, rarely do these same leaders ever take the time to focus on real results. They focus too much on the tasks at hand and being busy rather than on concrete results and being effective.

Delegate Managing.
Most leaders hate managing. This hatred is usually further stoked by authors who write books (or give talks) on how management and leadership are two different processes (which they are). However, the way most leaders interpret this is, “I knew it. I’m not a manager so therefore I don’t need to manage any longer. I’m free. All I need to do is hire someone who will do the managing for me.” Now, while there’s nothing wrong with hiring a manager, leaders cannot fully delegate management away—nor can managers completely delegate leading away. What effective organizations need are more leader/managers and manager/leaders. It’s not an either/or but a both/and.
Wise leaders never fully give up managing. A friend of mine leads an organization of over 6,000 people. He, like most leaders I know, dislikes the management part of the job. However, he also knows that he can’t fully delegate that part of his job away. He knows that to effectively lead his organization, he has to manage more than just one direct report, who then manages everyone else. So, if you want to avoid this mistake, limit the scope/number of people who report to you and then learn to manage that smaller group incredibly well.

 Did not Lead with Ideas.
Great leaders always lead with ideas. Whoever causes a group of people to accept an idea is the leader at that moment. That’s why it’s so critical for leaders to be idea people. This doesn’t mean that the leader has to generate every idea. But it does mean that the leader must, at a minimum, help create buy in for that idea and then become the banner carrier for that idea.

Why? Because ideas are what move people and organizations. When John Scully, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio became the three successive CEOs of Apple in the early 90’s, Apple had its worst years. Why? They were all managers who couldn’t create the kinds of innovative ideas that made Apple great. It wasn’t until Steve Jobs returned that Apple made its comeback. Why? Because Steve is an idea guy.
So, if someone wants to be a leader (especially a great one), they need to unleash their creative ability to generate ideas. Simply saying, “I’m not creative,” is unacceptable (and inaccurate). If you want to lead, lead with new ideas and create the buy-in for those ideas. Great leaders always lead with ideas.

Did not Manage Morale and Momentum.
Organizations are fragile—and nothing is more fragile than morale and momentum in an organization. As John Maxwell likes to say, “When big mo is on your side, you can do no wrong. But when big mo isn’t on your side, you can do no right.” No leader can keep morale up all the time, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Managing morale is why leading by storying around (LBSA) is so critical. The telling of stories—specifically stories that tell what’s going right in an organization—is critical to leadership success.

Don’t Manage the Money.
As an accounting major, one of the first lessons I learned was that cash flow is king. Yet, very few of the leaders I’ve met over the years have managed cash flow well—or made sure that they controlled the budget with their priorities. Frequently I’ll hear leaders say something to the effect of, “Well, money’s not my thing,” which is a rather foolish thing to say. Why? Because if managing money isn’t your thing, chances are you won’t be able to accomplish your objectives. If you want to go in one direction, but others hold the purse strings, you’re not the leader—you’re a follower. So, if “money’s not your thing,” make it. Take some courses, read some books and find a few advisors because whoever is managing the money is the leader. And if someone tries to take your ability to manage the money (i.e. your ability to direct cash flow) away from you, fight it. It’s nearly impossible to lead when you can’t manage the money.

Mimic Rather Than Create.
Since leaders are learners, they usually like attending conferences and listening to other leaders. Or, depending on their learning style, they may prefer visiting other companies/organizations so they can observe firsthand how others do what they do. However, a common mistake I’ve observed over the years occurs when a learning leader attempts to replicate (i.e. mimic) what those other leaders or companies/organizations they’re observing are doing.

What leaders who attempt to mimic fail to realize is that the leader they’re trying to mimic didn’t become a leader worth mimicking by mimicking someone else. Churchill didn’t mimic anyone. Tom Watson didn’t mimic anyone. Neither has Steve Jobs or Jack Welch or Fred Smith or Bill Gates or Howard Schultz or Charles Schwab. They all became great leaders because they were willing to do something different. They were willing to create their own way. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t want to learn from others (see #3 above). It simply means that you don’t want to mimic another leader. Instead, find your own voice. You are uniquely designed to lead as only you can. So, what is your unique leadership voice?

Continue to Do What They’ve Always Done.
In one sense, this is understandable since most leaders are overwhelmed with the tasks and complexities of leadership. However, this tendency to repeat yesterday is shortsighted. Continuing to do what one has always done in the past will eventually stall out and kill an organization or company.
This principle applies to everything a leader or a company does. If a leader leads meetings the same way, or motivates the same way, or teaches the same way, or organizes the company picnic the same way, or innovates the same way, or casts vision the same way—his or her leadership will lose it’s impact and become ordinary. And ordinary is a leadership killer. As my company’s tagline says, “Friends don’t let friends do ordinary.”
This past year, Sony had its first losing year. When asked why, their new chairman, said, “Because we got complacent.” Big or small, it doesn’t matter. There will always be a seductive and natural pull to continue to do what’s worked in the past. However, if you want to be a remarkable leader, then you’ll want to continually change things and innovate new products and services. Remarkable leaders refuse to let anything they’re doing be boring, ordinary, mundane, predictable or pedestrian. Instead, they choose to do whatever they’re doing in such a way that they continually wow and woo the people they lead!

Being a good leader does not come in an instant although some might have it naturally in their self. In order to be a great leader, you need to take example, implement and improve your skill in every way possible.” Practice makes perfect”, it always does. To grow as a leader, I have always followed these simple steps and it has not let me down anytime I always try a new idea/process myself. Face the initial problems myself, try and find out a effective way to overcome these problems, streamline the process and once sure about its effectiveness; delegate it to my sub-ordinates.  I purposefully try to set myself aloof even in some critical situations, which require handling bottlenecks. This allows my team to think of their own and come up with practical solutions, which they can't think otherwise. I listen to their ideas, and if its silly, brief them about the shortcomings politely. If its a good idea, I ask them to take complete responsibility of the implementation. This gives them a sense of responsibility. I always try to let them face the client t understand the third party perspective, and not only our own views. This helps my team to deliver not a pre-defined intelligence, but actually what the client's end objective is. In the last, I to grow as a leader, always help your sub-ordinates to grow by giving them chances to prove themselves; while at the same time keep sharpening your skills to move up to next ladder where new challenges wait for you. 

You can't be a good leader throughout, you might be a good leader at one ladder, and might need to prove yourself in the next. So sharpening your skills and expertise is of utmost importance. 

Written by,
MSI –Sidang D, DPA 1/2012

Steve Jobs – Authorized Biography by Walter Isaacson (book)
I, Steve: Steve Jobs in his own words - by George Beahm (book)
The Steve Jobs Way: ileadership for a new generation by Jay Elliot
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo
The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Carmine Gallo

Wednesday 21 November 2012


Leadership can take place in large and small organizations, in private and public settings, in business and non-business area, in political and non-political fields and in military and non-military systems. Before we can analyze what makes an effective leader, we need to understand the meaning of leadership. Leadership can be interpreted differently to different people. Lim and Daft define leadership as an influence relationship between leaders and followers who want a transformation and output that can reveal their share purpose. To really understand the leadership term, you should know the major theories, leadership styles and the traits and characteristics that the leader possess. Democratic leader, behavioral theory, great-man theories, servant leader are the examples of the major theories in leadership. Besides, leaders also have many styles in executing their role such as autocratic, participatory, democratic, laissez-faire (hands off) and many more. These leadership styles are depends on the situation in managing the task in the organization.
Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary is the chosen leader that I want to share in this blog project. Before this, we just heard his name without knowing his background. I eager to write about him because he just an ordinary person that doing extraordinary things. He is also the richest Malay in this country and very much respected businessman and philanthropy. I will share with you about the life of Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and highlighted about his contribution to serve the nation. The success enjoyed by Syed Mokhtar today was not gained through an easy ‎shortcuts. Hard work, self confidence and faith that everything comes from Allah has ‎made him a bumiputera conglomerate icon for everyone to aspire to. ‎


Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary was born in Alor Setar, Kedah in 1951 at middle class family. His family hailed from Hadhramaut, ‎Yemen. Before deciding to live in Kedah, his father traveled as far as Central Asia to ‎trade. Then, his father went to Thailand, before finally deciding to live in Alor Setar, ‎Kedah in the mid 1940’s. This business leader has seven siblings and he is the third child. Shortage of money led his ‎family to send him to live with his uncle, Syed Omar in Johor Bahru, to study there. Syed Mokhtar lived in Johor Bharu and continued his studies there until form two, before ‎returning to Kedah to study up to form five at Saint Micheal’s School. ‎
A unique fact, which can actually be viewed as his first direct involvement in business, is ‎that he used to help his father with his business’ accounting. This took place during ‎recession period, when his father went to his school and ask him to go through his ‎accounting book and take care of it. This valuable experience is one of the solid ‎foundations Syed Mokhtar acquired before he involved in the real world of ‎business. ‎
After school, Syed Mokhtar would help his father take care of livestock at a quarantine ‎centre close to the railway station in Alor Setar. He never attended university but he was also smart to use the experience he had gained from helping his father, as ‎reference in his own business. Aside from his father’s business, Syed Mokhtar also helped his mother cultivate ‎vegetables to be sold at a market on Jalan Telok Wan Jah. In fact, this seventh ‎wealthiest man in Malaysia had even sold roti canai in that same market.‎ He’s a mysterious man. It is because he does not like to show off the luxurious life. For your information, he is easy to get along with other people. He is not the type of people which love to collect luxury car. He has an old model of Proton Perdana and another one is 20 year’s old Mercedes which he used to use it from time to time.


In the mid 1970s, his father’s cattle business ran into trouble following the outbreak of ‎foot-and-mouth disease. The outbreak spread throughout southern Thailand, Kedah and ‎Perlis. As a result, nearly all their livestock perished. However, this downturn in event actually had a silver lining. Since then, Syed Mokhtar ‎took over his father’s business and decided never again to become involved in the cattle ‎business. Instead, he decided to go into the business of selling meat. As a start, at the age of 19, Syed Mokhtar scoured markets around Alor Setar to buy ‎unsold meat from the vendors there. The meat would then be re-sold to bumiputera ‎traders in the surrounding area. ‎
Although these were unsold meat, they were packaged carefully and nicely, and kept on ‎ice to maintain freshness. Thus, using his experience in handling good quality products, ‎Syed Mokhtar business received encouraging response from the public. This success ‎made him even more driven to expand the business. ‎
Soon after, Syed Mokhtar moved on to the transportation business. After successfully ‎acquiring a license for four Class A lorries in 1972, Syed Mokhtar secured a loan in the ‎amount of RM110, 000 from the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to buy two Mercedes Benz ‎lorries. At first, he wanted to buy four lorries, but the plan did not come to light because of ‎technical problems, leaving him with two remaining permits. A Chinese trader ‎approached him to buy those permits, but Syed Mokhtar refused the offer and decided to ‎return the permits to MARA. He then established a transportation company named Syarikat Pengangkutan Sentosa, ‎and appointed a Chinese clerk to be the manager. Interestingly, the company still exists ‎until today. From a small business that offered transport service to haul rice, it now owns more than ‎‎40 lorries for various transport purposes. ‎


After establishing Syarikat Shah, he created Syarikat Bukhary, which is involved in the ‎rice and sugar business. And just like Syarikat Pengangkutan Sentosa, Bukhary still ‎exists and has expanded until now, with an annual revenue of around RM250 million.
The company then expanded into Bukhary (KL) Sdn. Bhd. in 1977. The company won ‎many government contracts which were offered to bumiputera entrepreneurs at the time, ‎and based its operations in a four-storey shop lot on Jalan Pahang. ‎He then created Susu Mas Sdn. Bhd (Susu Mas) in 1979 to facilitate his ‎business of supplying to the government. Like Bukhary, Susu Mas was also a joint-venture company, this time with New Zealand ‎Milk Products. He held 51 percent share in the company. The Susu Mas product was ‎marketed under the brand Fernleaf. However, following the economic crisis which hit the ‎country at the end of 1980’s, he decided to sell his business interest in that company. ‎


The 1980’s and 1990’s, saw him getting involved in the clothing and manufacturing ‎industry. His star continued to shine bright and he won a contract to produce military ‎uniform for the Ministry of Defense. Through this contract, his company was required to ‎supply the Armed Forces (ATM) with more than 100,000 pairs of boots and 330,000 sets ‎of army uniforms. ‎This success moved him to decide to create two clothing company, Amtek Holdings ‎‎(Amtek) which manufactured shoes, while Oriental Garments Uniform Dividion (Oriental) ‎produced boots. Oriental is another one of his joint-venture companies. This time with ‎Oriental Garments in Pulau Pinang. ‎
Most recently, Amtek Shoes, a subsidiary of Amtek, produces shoes for the use of the ‎ATM and clothing under the brand Lee Cooper and Louis. The reality is, Syed Mokhtar’s business empire has expanded so wide, it doesn’t just ‎involve meat, rice, sugar, clothing items, shiping and it also includes some of the country’s heavy ‎industries.


Although he enjoys his success as the nation’s number one bumiputera conglomerate ‎figure, he has not forgotten his responsibility to help his Muslim brethrens. For this ‎purpose, the Yayasan al_Bukhary was established in March 1996 to help the poor, ‎particularly in the area of education. Until today, Yayasan al-Bukhary has spent more than RM300 million for religious, cultural ‎and educational activities. The foundation not only provides aid to people of this country, ‎but also countries that are members in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).‎ Among the biggest projects ever conducted was the construction of the Kompleks al-‎Bukhary costing RM400 million in Kedah. The complex is a centre complete with facilities ‎including a mosque, medical centre, community centre, housing for orphans, a special ‎academy of the elderly and an institution of higher education. ‎
This foundation also created the International Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, at a ‎cost of RM100 million. This four-storey building is the first museum in Asia Pacific that ‎showcases Islamic works of art. Yayasan al-Bukhary also built 16 mosques all over the ‎world. ‎


Prior to 2000, Yayasan Al-Bukhary donated about RM7.75 million to Oxford Centre for ‎Islamic Studies, a world-renowned centre of Islamic studies. And starting from November ‎‎2007, Yayasan Al-Bukhary will sponsor 28 more students to study at the International ‎Islamic University Malaysia. Yayaan Al-Bukhary is also involved with the Al-Bukhary International University’s ‎construction project in Kedah, which costs RM500 million. It will cater to 3,000 students ‎of whom 70 percent are foreign students fully sponsored by the foundation by 2009. Last 6 September, Yayasan Al-Bukhary donated AS$1 million to the Lebanese ‎Humanitarian Fund in order to lessen the burden suffered by people of that country, who ‎are victims of Israel’s atrocity. ‎Besides that, this foundation also helps non-Islamic based organisations. For example, around RM1 million was donated by the foundation for the Langkawi ‎Project, an effort spearheaded by the MCA, in the area of education, particularly in ‎providing scholarships to financially needy students from rural areas.

The great ideas in my organization come from the organizational culture. According to Lim and Daft culture is defined as the set of key values, assumptions, understandings and norms that is shared by members of the organization and taught to the new members as correct. When any problems occurred in the organization, we will try to think and act for the best solutions.
            Culture gives employees a sense of organizational identity and generates commitment to particular values and ways of doing things. Culture serves for two important functions in organizations which are internal integration and external adaption. Internal integration helps members to develop a collective identity and know how to work together effectively. For example, if there is any work given by the management that need to be settled or submitted on the certain date given, we will try to manage and finished it early or on time. Organizations are putting increased emphasis on developing strong cultures that encourage teamwork, collaboration and mutual trust. It links the employee with another employee in the organization.
However, cultures for the external adaption determines how the organization meets goals and deals with outsiders. Culture can encourage employee commitment to the core purpose of the organizations, its specific goals and ways to accomplish the goals. For example, when my organization arrange a chandat sotong program with the other organization to have a close relationship with them. Program conducted by the teams have meet the objectives because of the strong culture build in the organization. 

There are some mistakes that leaders make. They always said that mistake is one of the ways to learn, however it is better that the leaders avoiding the mistake at first. It is because the simple mistake might make your followers or outsiders interpret the organization wrongly. The mistake that always been made by the leader are:
  1. Failing to define goal
When the followers do not have the clear goal in the organization, they will not become productive. They do not know what they are doing and cannot identify the priority of their workload. Therefore, it is important to clearly define your organization’s goal to the followers and make them understand their duty and task.
  1. Misunderstanding motivation
Some of the leaders misunderstanding the ways to give motivations to their subordinate. They always think that their subordinates are working for the monetary reward only. People seeking for the work and life balance. So, the leaders should look at also for the non-monetary rewards like recognition awards, medical expenses, continuous education,
  1. Customers feedback
It is important to know about the customer feedback. Organization can be improved base on the customer feedback. However, some leader avoid the customer feedback because they feel that it only wasting their time to entertain customer that are not giving them a huge benefits or profits.
  1. Not delegating
Leaders will make mistake if they do not delegate their tasks appropriately. They do not trust people to do their job. So, they will become stress because of the workload burden. They should have trust towards their employee and monitor their task whether it is rightly performed or not.

There are two books I suggest for the person who want to gain insight in becoming a better leader. The first one is the book with the title of The leadership experience in Asia. This book will give you the explanation about the leadership theory and ways that the leader can apply to lead their followers such as how to communicate with people, understand what are the followers want, how to motivate the followers, what is the leadership  power and influence and many more. The title of the second book is Total leadership: Be a better leader, have a richer life. This book is designed for anyone in the organization and in any career stage. The author write this book based on the research and the practical knowledge. It provides to you an insight how to become a better leader by using the total leadership which are the leader should act with authenticity by defining what is important, act with integrity by respecting the whole person and act with creativity by experimenting get done. Moreover, it also explain about the leadership vision, how the people in the organization learn and change, the expectations of the stakeholders and so on. I hope these two books will give you an idea in becoming a better leader.

When we know the ways to be a better leader, it will develop your leadership skills. There are a few ways to ensure a person to grow and develop as a better leader. The first one is learn from the experience. The experience that we face can be good or bad. It is important to learn from the past experience because I will become more careful on doing things. The experience that I get from doing things is very precious. It is because the experience that will get is not the same like reading a theory in the book. It really happened in your life. Therefore, I will learn from the experience that I have to become a better leader.
            Besides that, I will provide the direction for my followers in achieving the organizational goals. Inspiring teams means painting the clear pictures of what the success means. Although, it takes time and energy to learn what motivate each persons but that is the true leader do.
            Last but not least, the important thing in becoming a true leader is acquire more knowledge through reading and make research about something that I do not know. It will give me an idea of doing things and shares that ideas with the teams members.


Lim, G.S. & Draft, R.L. (2009). The Leadership Experience in Asia. Singapore: Thomson.
McCrimmon, M. (2008). How to define leadership and management. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from: http://www.
Friedman, S.D. (2008). Total Leadership: Be a better Leader, Have a Richer Life. United States of America: Harverd business press.
Conger, J.A. (1989). Leadership: The Art of Empowering others (3), p.17-24. Retrieved October 30, 2012, from
Galford, R.M & Maruca, R.F. (2006). Your Leadership Legacy: Why Looking toward the future will make you a better leader today. United States of America: Harverd Business School.

Abd Aziz Bin Ahmad
Sidang D
Diploma Pengurusan Awam (DPA) bil.1/2012