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论老子

道,领导也。领导必需要不断呼唤,教导下属以及以身作则。下属的过和错皆因领导懒惰。

 
 
 

日志

 
 

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts  

2015-12-26 11:12:03|  分类: Business ethics |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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        [i]Everyone seeks to avoid certain things that may cause adverse consequences. From a material perspective, most people are already very poor and hence, do not have any band-width to absorb further losses. What can be worse when someone comes along and demanded something that inflicts additional loss on him? On the other hand, from the perspective of one’s emotional feeling, there can be many ways in which one’s emotion can be jeopardized into unpleasant aftermaths and yet, rather easily. This is why, among us, there must be a set of proper behaviors that meet the requirements of allowable interpersonal conducts.

What are these allowable interpersonal conducts?

Since time immemorial, this is a given fact. [ii]People who have a loving, compassionate and kind heart are like the fountains or oases. They strengthen the social fabric and as a result, peace and harmony in the society can be maintained for a long time. So true! Love, kindness and compassion are the three deep-seated behaviors that readily melt into the inner sensations or emotional feelings of a person, without anyone refusing to accept them. It is the opposite of these: selfishness, unfeeling and cruelty that irks everyone into vehement condemnations or denunciations.

[iii]Love, kindness and compassion are deep, reflective, overpowering, insightful and profound. Love, kindness and compassion are quite contrary to most norms or emotional feelings, otherwise, how could they be said to have met the expectations of everyone. Affirmatively, all of us expect each one of us to be abundance in loving-kindness and compassionate to the others. This is incontestably, beyond doubt!    

Wherein, love, kindness and compassion produce an endless stream that waters and glues the social fabric of the society. Looking at a micro level of an ecosystem of human interactions, they are the same founding blocks of a harmonious organization. Still, the way love, kindness and compassion interweave into social structure is very pervasive and omnipresent. If the employees of a company were to love each other, feel compassionate about someone’s woe or unpleasant plight and mutually kind to each other always without the slightest sign of diminishing or losing traction, this is considered beyond doubt, an admirably congenial organization, a result of a caring and benevolent leadership.

[iv]A compassionate and kindhearted CEO, who leads an organization and runs it in such a way that keeps the employees happy and satisfied, must make available his resources (in the form of love, kindness and compassion) from within himself anytime of the day in order to serve them all. This is because a cultured and refined CEO, knows too well, he cannot manage all his employees, but to lead them and dosing them with the abundance of love, kindness and compassion. Indeed! Only a well-led organization produces sterling performance, year after year. For example, under the humane leadership of Bill Hewlett and David Packard, HP was the perennial matchless performer, and for decades.

Going one level down in scrutiny, this inner resource from which a compassionate and kindhearted leader must make available instantaneously can be said had been previously cultivated as a habit. [v]This habit that he had previously cultivated is nothing else but a loving, compassionate and kind heart. He, who had cultivated a loving, compassionate and kind heart, thenceforth can overcome every obstacle. Because there is nothing that cannot be overcome, we do not know if there is a limit to a loving, compassionate and kind heart. For the mere reason that we do not know there is a limit to a loving, compassionate and kind heart, this must be it – a body of three elements that must run through the entire organization. Bill Hewlett and David Packard were two prime examples of business leaders who had a huge loving, compassionate and kind heart. Wherever they went, they brought love, kindness and compassion to the local operations. HP was such a marvelous and lovely company to work in.

 [vi]In its entirety, old company records show that at that moment where Bill (or Dave) did not know when and how to apply leadership principles in a particular situation, he used his love, kindness and compassion to deal with people-related issues that arise out of interacting with the other employees. There are many pictures taken of Bill or Dave working closely with the HP employees. Each one of these pictures portraits a loving, compassionate and kindhearted, Bill or Dave. A closer look at the pictures of the employees beside Bill or Dave, they were all beaming with smiles for they all acknowledged Bill and Dave, each has such an enormous loving heart.

[vii]Though seemingly inconsequential, a loving Bill or Dave habitually outpoured his love, kindness and compassion to serve HP employees and hence, he would not leave behind any person in jeopardy or unsafe, or in sufferings or misfortunes. HP is one of the safest organization and fortunate place to work in. These loving, compassionate and kind behaviors made Bill and Dave wonderful mentors for benevolence for the less kind fellow employees. Under their incessant mentoring, HP staff in general, provide the most cordial and amicable working environment for its employees who came from all walks of life. Conceding to human nature, there might be some people who are not kind or care much for the others, their unfriendly characters or less than benevolence behaviors are inconspicuously curtailed. I worked for HP, the Singapore operations from March 2001 to December 2006. I can attest to this.

[viii]This is a lesser known fact though. Bill and Dave did not need much time to ponder before picking up an issue that has to do with its employees’ welfare or the company’s health. In their mind, they knew it ever since everything that needed to be carried out is for the employees and the good of the organization, undeniably, being the founding leaders of HP, they must possess a much greater capacity than most employees to carry it out. Because it is all about improving the well-being of the employees and the organization’s profitability, of course, they must have a heart of gold to love and to be kind to them all. This was the least known ultimate secret weapon of success for HP, growing to be one of the biggest companies in USA in four decades.

Going down to the rock bottom on the subject of allowable interpersonal conducts, a sharp and judicious leader can remarkably differentiate among his employees who possesses a loving, compassionate and kind heart, even if he does not liberally express his love or kindness, he is still recognized as a very kind and caring person. On the contrary, an employee who does not possess a loving, compassionate and kind heart and yet he does not want to correct his unkind behaviors, he remains an unkind and ungrateful person. A wise leader can read an employee who is unkind and uncaring though he is not doing anything that is insensitive or spiteful to the others, actually he is on the look-out for the right timing and a good reason for himself to do something that serves his personal interests.

Contrary to the beliefs of most people, it is not a simple dogmatic question with two opposing choices. In a private organization, which comes first? Should it be the company’s employees or the organization’s profit comes first? The better answer is always to ensure the employees are happy, then and there the organization’s profit shall soar. On the contrary, if the CEO were to focus on the organization profit comes first the tendency is the employees are short-changed. This was exactly what Mark Hurd did. In mid-2010, he cut the salary of all HP employees by 4% and his direct reports by 7.5%.

Finally, when comes to moral conduct, it is easier said than done.  [ix]If one is generous in dishing out his benevolence and boundlessly to just anybody, for him to reach this high level of accomplishments in magnanimity, he must have gone through a long period of time to cultivate his love, kindness and compassion.

How to cultivate compassion, kindness and love, in this order?

Let’s take half a step back to learn about the Interpersonal-relationship scale. To begin with, draw a horizontal bar as shown in the diagram 11-1 below. Mark it out evenly with ten equal divisions.

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

Diagram 11-1: Interpersonal-relationship scale

A value of ‘0’ is assigned to the leftmost mark and it represents oneself, where one is too preoccupied with himself and is totally unaware of people around him. The values from 1 to 10 represent situations where people of different kinds of relationship that could be surrounding him at any one time. The value of ‘1’ signifies his wife. The values ‘2’ to ‘10’ represent his children, parents, brothers and sisters, extended family members, friends, superior and subordinates, colleagues, customers and strangers.

The nearer a value is to the value zero, the closer the relationship is. For examples, his wife is of closer relationship than his children; his children are of closer relationship than his parents; his parents are of closer than his brothers and sisters; his brothers and sisters are of closer relationship than his extended family members; his extended family members are of closer relationship than his friends; his friends are of closer relationship than his superior and subordinates; his superior and subordinates are of closer relationship than his colleagues; his colleagues are of closer relationship than his customers; and lastly, his customers are of closer relationship than strangers.

Without hesitation, let’s try to build something more interesting from the Interpersonal-relationship scale.  

Compassion

To the right-side end of the scale, write down the word, Compassion. To the left-side end of the scale, write down the word, Unfeeling. Diagram 11-2 is the complete Compassion scale.

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子 

Diagram 11-2: Compassion scale

A value of ‘0’ is assigned to the leftmost mark and it represents ‘Unfeeling’ where one is too preoccupied with oneself and is totally inconsiderate or cares for other people. The values from 1 to 10 represent situations where his compassion is applied to different people. The value of ‘1’ signifies one’s compassion for his wife. The values ‘2’ to ‘10’ represent one’s compassion for his children, parents, brothers and sisters, extended family members, friends, superior and subordinates, colleagues, customers and strangers.

Within a private organization, it is a conducive place for one to dance along the Compassion scale moving among the three values, ‘7’, ‘8’ and ‘9’, which describe the situations where fellow employees often interact with their superior and subordinates, colleagues or external customers. These three groups of people are no strangers or at least, should not be considered as strangers to the organization. Henceforth, employees should rightfully be more concern for their sufferings or misfortune of each other than total strangers.

On an individual’s inner resource level, irrespective of who the recipient is, how compassionate feelings outpours from a person really depends on two different situations.

One, compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Few people are like an empathetic[1] Alfred who told me this story. He elaborated, “Once, I went on a trip to Endau, south-east of Pahang state, a region where the native aborigines live. A family of five has no food to eat for several days. The father’s left leg has a large infected wound and the lymph node at his inner thigh was enormously swollen. I drove my jeep to the nearest village which is twenty kilometers away, bought food for five and delivered it to their table. After they had finished their meals, I helped the father board onto my jeep and I sent him to the nearest hospital where he was hospitalized for a week. Before I left the hospital, I went to the admission department, pulled out all the cash from my wallet and made an advance payment. I told the clerk, ‘I shall return a week later to pay all his balance medical bills.’ I am a compassionate person. I help just anyone who is in need of assistance, even strangers like this aborigine and his family.”

Two, compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. To the majority of us, compassion is almost always a passive awakening. On December 26, 2004, the tsunami that struck the coastal regions of the west coast of Aceh, Indonesia was a grave shock to everyone who saw the damages on TV and all of them were moved into compassion. Aids poured quickly from all over the world, despite the Acehnese were total strangers to them. According to the country's National Disaster Relief Coordination Agency, 126,915 people were dead and 37,063 were missing. The death toll reported in 2011 estimated at 230,000 people died in the tsunami.

Let ‘s drop the discussion on either sympathetic pity or response to the sufferings or misfortunes of others that often arouse in us a desire to help others who are in dire straits that spurs us on. Let me draw your attention to a crucial element within an organization that whoever has one or more subordinates must be compassionate about. Yet, no one seems to ever bother about it. That is, time. All employees are paid to spend their time to work for the company. That’s in the employment contract. Loosely, the employees had traded their personal time to the company and their time is placed onto the hands of their supervisors who shall decide what the employees should do with their time during working hours. According to the labor laws of most countries, an employee officially works between 36 hours to 44 hours a week. No one is supposed to work for more than 72 hours a week, including overtime.

Irrespective of whichever level of the organization hierarchy an employee is in, as long as he has one or more subordinates, he has ownership and full control over his subordinates’ time during working hours. Therefore, a fair and compassionate supervisor should not force his subordinates to stay back after working hours to complete something, unnecessarily. Neither, should he imply his subordinates should work overtime to complete a piece of urgent task in hand. In other words, at the end of the work day, he has no control over the time of the employees. Please let them freely, go home on time.

A compassionate CEO would not want his employees to work overtime, needlessly. He is compassionate about the time an employee has after work shall no longer belong to the company but to him and his family. His family members are waiting for him to be back home for dinner. Or, she has to rush home to cook dinner for her entire family. A kindhearted CEO shall not rob or take away from the employees the precious moment of time where they should be spending with their families.

On the contrary, an unfeeling CEO, especially one whose mind is drilled into profit-maximizing, would unwaveringly think of ways and means to drive his employees to work overtime, be it by giving all kinds of excuse or make-believe justifications or pure invented sham. He continuously keeps a blind eye to the rampant overtime among his employees. Consequently, his managers and supervisors would apparently follow his ‘lead by setting bad examples’ and do not care a darn about the workers’ state of extreme distress due to over-worked, severely fatigue or exhaustion. Evidently, there is absolutely no compassion at all within an organization led by an unfeeling boss.         

There is a garden city at the equator, though. Wherever you go, you see lots of people working 12 hours a day and seven days a week. You cannot feel it at all there is any compassion on the part of their supervisors or whoever the employer who had hired them. Strangely, your inner feeling tells you the chance of finding a compassionate leader in this garden city of five million people is absolutely ZERO.

Getting into the finer facts, here are ten common findings you would easily gather should you bother to talk to people living in this garden city. Do you find compassion in this garden city?

Discovery one: Peter, a true blue citizen, is 35 years old. I asked him if he has a girlfriend. He promptly replied, “No.” I asked him, “Why?” He explained, “No time. For the past four years, every day I had to work from 9:00am to 9:00pm. I cannot leave the company before my boss leaves. Every day, he leaves at 9:00pm or later.” Four years, Peter’s boss did not encourage him to leave on the dot and enjoy his evening.

Discovery two: Hazel, a fitness consultant who came from China holds a Work Permit. Every day, she has to work from 10am to 10pm, six days a week. Yet, on her off-days she has to go back to work because of customer appointments. That exceeds the 72 hours a week and breaching the International Labor Laws. Some days, she was so shagged out that she looked several years older than her real age. In her general manager’s thought it is legally alright for him as long as Hazel did not spend more than 72 hours a week. All he cares was, he did not breach the International Labor Laws. Does he care and feel concern for Hazel’s deteriorating health?

Discovery three: Huanhuan is a factory worker from Henan, China. She paid RMB20,000 (S$4,000) to her agent who brought her into Singapore. She earns a basic pay of S$750[2]. She works 12 hours a day on two rotating shifts: one week on night shift, the next week on day shift. That means every day she has to work overtime in order to earn more. On the average she earns S1,100 a month. She said, “If I am careful with my spending over two years, which is the term of my Work Permit, I might be able to save something to bring back home.” To her employer, unquestionably, a two 12-hour rotating shifts pattern would incur 50% less in total Worker Levy than operating on three 8-hour rotating shifts daily.”

Discovery four: Yanshu a big Shandong guy is a bus driver hauling foreign employees to work. He works 12 hours or more a day. I asked him, “Why do you have to work more than 12 hours a day?” He replied, “When I came to Singapore, I had to pay the agent who brought me here with a two-year Work Permit, 40,000 RMB (S$8,000) as the agency fees[3]. At $1,800 per month of gross take home pay and after deducting all other expenses, I need to work ten months in order to earn enough to square off what I had paid in agency fees. If I do not put in at least 12 hours a day, I could hardly make some money to bring back home to China when my Work Permit expires.”

Discovery five: Subramanian who came from Tamil Nadu, India is a construction worker. He works 12 hours a day. He explained, “All construction site workers work on a single 12-hour daily shift, six days a week. That is 72 hours a week. Only, Sunday is off. Nonetheless, within a week, there are some days where we have to work 16 hours a day, say, during concrete pouring. That already breached the International Labor Law of 72 hours a week.” The construction sector as a whole prefers to employ a 12-hour shift pattern than employing two 8-hour rotating shifts pattern. This is because of the Worker Levy[4] imposed on each foreign worker, S$550 per month, per person.

Discovery six: Shekar is a HDB cleaner who came from Bangladesh. He too, works 12 hours a day, six days a week. He rests on Sunday. I asked, “Are you paid overtime for working 4 extra hours a day?” He replied, “No.” Poor Shekar is milked of his overtime entitlement. Yet, he was paid something like a net wage of S$550 per month. With this low salary level readily accepted by a foreign Bangladeshi worker, the local Singaporeans do not stand a chance[5] at all to be a HDB cleaner because they would not accept a salary that was being artificially forced down by the copious employment of Foreign Talents, like Shekar. Do you get it? This is the most distasteful and obnoxious policy of importing plentiful supply of Foreign Talents to tenaciously force down the wage rate for all kinds of job that Foreign Talents[6] can take up.

Discovery seven: Siti is an Indonesia housemaid. She is not granted a day-off every month. Ayer Khine is a housemaid from Myanmar. She has only one day off in a month. Glaiza is a Filipino housemaid. She is more fortunate. She has every Sunday off. Why is there such a discrepancy? The Filipino maid fought for their Sunday off. The Indonesian and Myanmar maids did not. As long as their respective country of origin does not complain on their behalf, it is alright. Fairness is thrown out of the window.

Discovery eight: Melody, a Filipino lady, is a petite nurse in Tan Tock Seng hospital. If you happened to visit any one of the local hospitals, you will find that about half the nurses are Filipinos. Why do they have to hire that high proportion of nurses from the Philippines? Yes, these Philippines nurses are comfortable with a much lower salary compared to the local nurses. There is a serious indication here. The Foreign Talent policy comes with only one aim, that is, to drive down the salary of the local citizens in all kinds of employment opportunities. 

Discovery nine: In every hawker centers, you shall see old men and old women in their seventies like Limpeh or Muijie who peddles three packets of soft tissues for one Singapore dollar. Do you have compassion for their predicament[7]? If yes, you buy from them. Rita often gave them a dollar and told them to keep the three packets of soft tissues. She said, “Since the Cabinet did not budget a single cent to take care of these old folks, I keep a small budget for this every month.” The million-dollar salary, CEO and his cabinet members who hold themselves at the highest esteem that tiny Singapore is the third richest country in the world, they did not bother at all how these old folks make a living! They are a bunch of ghastly and unspeakable unfeeling people!

Discovery ten: Alex Ng is a Singaporean who drives a taxi. He plies the road for at least 12 hours a day in order to make about S$3,000 a month. Why can’t he be like the taxi drivers in Japan who work merely eight hours a day? The answer lies in a computerized fare data collection system. Each taxi is mounted with a taxi fare meter. It doubles up as a data collection tool. These data are compiled to determine the road fare per meter and at the same time, scandalously determine how much time a taxi driver must be on the road in order to make a decent living. Sadly, the rate was tweaked to make certain most taxi drivers must ply the road for 12 hours[8] in order to earn a decent income.

Quite outrageously, if you bother to talk to people who walk on the streets in this lovely garden city, you will find that most of them would justifiably say, “These foreign workers are here to make as much money as possible over a short two-year Work Permit term. In fact, nobody points a gun at their temple and forces them to work hard. Voluntarily, they had chosen to work extra, long hours. It is a common sight.” Much to your chagrin, some of them are so indifferent and insensibly that they commented, “Ai! They are here only for two years. Therefore, they must work hard to make more money. They asked for it. They can’t blame their employers.” The conclusion is, none of the public ever bothers or is perturbed by the long working hours that is seriously affective their health.

Barely ever foreign visitors and locals alike don’t get to know the above ten (and many more) unquestionable sightings for they are all blinded by the concrete jungle and artificial fauna that fan out a beautiful fa?ade of a tiny little kingdom in its most unfeeling glory. This was the result of a disgusting, sickening and repulsive Corporate Singapore[9] that hideously tweaks the working environment with maid levy, worker levy, work permit and etcetera to inconspicuously force both the foreign and local workers to work flat-out on a 12-hour day. Without a doubt, none of the executives[10] in Corporate Singapore has a compassionate heart. Absolutely, ZERO!

Kindness

       On any given day, you wake up with a tranquil and unperturbed heart, unruffled or stirred by sympathetic feeling or there is a need to response to the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Thanks God, you have a peaceful morning to begin the day with, every day.

What is next?

Let’s describe what happened to you, yesterday.

You turned your head over and glanced at your wife. She was still sleeping soundly. Suddenly, she blinked her eyes open and greeted you, “Good morning dear. You woke up early today.” A gush of warm feeling circulated in your heart and you smiled at her, you reached out to coddle her for a short while. Reluctantly, you pulled yourself up, went into the washroom and brushed your teeth.

While walking down the staircase, your father who was reading newspaper in the living room greeted you, “Son, did you have a good night sleep?” You promptly replied, “Thanks dad. I sleep soundly last night.”

Your mom who was about to lay the table for breakfast, revealed to you, “Son, I have made your choice breakfast: two sunny-up eggs and baked sweet potatoes.” You walked over, hugged her, then and there you thanked her, “Mom, you are most lovely. A son without a caring mom indeed, is a desolated boy.” Your mom beamed with a broad smile and joyously said, “You have the sweetest mouth, since young.”

Before you sit down, your grown-up daughter joined you at the dining table. She wished you, “Good morning dad. See that you are having a good day at work, today.” You looked at her, she was well-dressed up with light make up, unsophisticated. Immediately, you recognized she is the same sweet little adorable girl whom you have dotted with utmost care. She is your proud little darling.

After breakfast, it was time for you to leave for work. You walked down the road and a small little boy greeted you, “Good morning uncle.” You turned around and saw his mother holding his left hand. You waved at him. Meanwhile, his mom beaming with a sweet smile, waved back to you, indicating to his son to wave at you, too.   

You boarded the bus. You dropped your fare into the coin box. The bus driver greeted you, “Good morning, Eric. Have a good day.” You nodded your head and said, “All thanks to you, Sunny. I enjoy a smooth ride to work, every day.”

You alighted at the bus-stop next to your office. Since you were a little early, you took a slow walk. Peggy came up alongside you and said, “Hello, Eric. Good morning. I have compiled the report for you. It is ready for your 9:00am meeting.” You replied, “Thanks Peggy. That is very kind of you. You are such an efficient lady.”

Right at the revolving door of the main entrance, you saw Shirley with both hands holding onto two big files, trying to use her leg to push open the door. You kindly opened the door for her. She said, “Thank you, Eric. It is very kind of you.” You replied, “It is my pleasure.” 

Before 9:00am, you collected all your presentation materials and walked into the meeting room. You saw Bobby sitting down there in his usual seat, sipping a cup of coffee. You exclaimed, “Hi Bobby, did you watch the Man U versus Chelsea game last night?” Bobby, responded, “I did. It was one of those matches that I have always yearned to watch. I am a fan of Chelsea club.” But you sighed, “I am a Man U fan, you know. Man U lost 2, 3 to Chelsea. Wayne Rooney was a big disappointment to me. How can he miss that open goal?”

Soon, the rest of the people entered the meeting room and the meeting started. The meeting began with a sweet note as usual, debates got on later, and heated arguments started flying in the meeting room. Such gruesome fights were always over some hotly contested ideas and who shall pick up the tab to execute them. At the end of the meeting, each of you unbelievingly asked oneself, “Who spoilt my day?” In your heart, meetings should not have been in this way. Alas! This was a routine.

Let’s recall what happened yesterday. You began your day with kindnesses coming from everyone who happened to be around you. It was like almost every morning, you have been most blissful, receiving kindness from your family members, your neighbors and colleagues, aplenty. Conversely, much to your regrets, what happened in company meetings almost always unkindly destroyed your good feel of the day and some days worse, ruined your mood altogether.

Let’s take a quick look at the Kindness scale below. What has gone wrong?

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

 Diagram 11-3: Kindness Scale

Everyone, from the value of ‘1’ to ‘10’ has greeted you warmly and rather had been kind to you the whole morning. You were amply showered by kindnesses. Why on earth, must the meetings or the work environment be a source of your unhappiness?

Is kindness lost in an organization? Why fellow employees have to be unkind to one another, especially during meetings? Isn’t there some sort of a discipline or moral conduct that governs our behaviors at work?

Scarily, there seems to be a missing element in most organizations. What is it?

Well, this is one of my least known secrets. It could be the exacting answer to what the missing element is. Everybody has been telling me, “Eric, you are a very kind person. You are cautious with words. You care not to harm anyone, even with your words.” Often, I merely responded with a broad smile. I have never told anyone this other little secret.

To me, kindness is one of my most powerful secrets of success. Because I see boundless incidences of unkindness happening in a company, sometimes, I wondered, ‘If I am kind to them, they will all follow me. They would find solace in me.’ That was why, wherever I went, the employees loved to talk to me and emptied their woes, mainly about work issues and problems they faced. Almost without the need to collect data, I have gathered enough evidences from the horses’ mouth, the kind of problems they are facing, how these problems arise, and where the source of the problems are. The next day, I would walked over to these other departments and figured out what are the issues these departments are facing that led them to continuously churn out the problems which I gathered yesterday. Often, I provided simple remedies to solve their issues at the snap of my fingers. Bingo! The problems were resolved. Productivity shot up by 30% or more.

Yeah! The way in which I carried out my consultancy assignments was analogous to “when the world is blind, the one-eyed jack is the king.” Indeed, most of the time, I found myself being the only kind person[11] in the company, where I am the lone individual making available kindness from within myself anytime of the day in order to be kind to them all. Whether I was their leader or not that was immaterial. As a consultant hired from outside the company, I was never their superior. Yet, they all followed me, took on my suggestions to solve their issues on hand and implemented them diligently. Really, what I wanted to see then and there was this simple phrase, follow me. That means, I am their unsanctioned leader. At the end of the day and the most important of all, I had effectively and efficiently led them in the implementation of a project or program that was assigned to me to assist this company.

As a leadership consultant, I would like to see many of my clients picking up good habits, such as kindness. This is because for 30 years, embracing kindness close to my heart was most crucial to my success as a consultant. Today, I am here, sharing with you. Please do not overlook the power of kindness proffered by employees within a factory, a company or an organization or etcetera. Kick start it now and inspire everyone to be kind to one another. It is many times more powerful should the company existing culture is already slumming in unkindness and unkindness fills the air.

Looking back, you may want to know what had caused kindness to vanish from within the organization. This happens when one relentlessly pursues:

1.     I want this repeated line down situation eradicated. Yet, it has been bugging me for a week now;

2.     I want to hit my sale target;

3.     I want to provide a corrective action to close my customer complaint;

4.     I want the raw materials to come in on-time, otherwise, my production will stop;

5.     I want to solve this reliability issue, but no one seems to know its root cause;

6.     I want to increase the productivity of this piece of newly bought equipment;

7.     I want to reduce the amount of rejected parts to less than 1%;

8.     I want to implement this project on cost and without any delay;

9.     I want to push forward this program, despite the CEO is not personally leading it;

10.   I want to increase the company’s profitability by …

[12]Few of us ever wonder, the moment, someone is motivated to achieve any one of these targets, automatically, he had forgotten about kindness. Straightaway, he zooms in and focuses in getting things done effectively and efficiently. In his heart, he merely feels there is a strong urge or passion in him to achieve his goal and nothing else! Kindness is inevitably suppressed or slotted into one small corner of his heart. This is the reason why kindness is a missing element in most organizations. 

At this moment, please ask yourself, “Is unkindness occupying the emotional space among co-workers? Is unkindness permeating the atmosphere of your work environment?” If yes, the person who should bear the highest responsibility is you, the CEO of this company. If you are not bothered to ensure the work environment does not quickly degenerate into an unkind workplace, everyone would follow suit and does not care a damn about being unkind to one another or feels there is a need to curtail unkind behaviors. This is an organization where unkindness filths the air. You really can’t openly blame the employees of the company where each quietly pile on more unkind incidences or create unpleasant events that turned the whole organization into the unkindest living hell to work in. It is your fault!

Can you do something about it?

Yes. The author is prescribing to you a two-prong approach.

First, to prevent a company culture from degrading into an atmosphere where unkindness abound, the heart of a leader (whether the CEO, or for that matter, his directors, managers or simply a person appointed to head a meeting) has to be truly selfless. He must put the interests of everyone else at the highest priority. In every respect, he shall carry in himself a selfless heart (of gold). To all the kind and compassionate people, he shall be kind and care for them all. To those who are less kind and neither compassionate, he would shower them with the same level of kindness and care because this is the only way to guide everyone to learn to be kind and compassionate. Over time, everyone in the organization shall cultivate core moral principles of kindness and compassion, leading to the evolution of a kind and caring culture.

Definitely it is the CEO of a company who must set the ball rolling and lead by example. If you do not embrace kindness with a heart of gold as described in the last paragraph, would your subordinates do likewise? Yet, few CEO’s ever realized this little secret of success – cultivate within the organization a culture where kindness thrives aplenty and overflows into every employee’s heart. Teamwork then, is a surety.

Second, a kind and sagacious CEO places the employees’ interests ahead of his own interests, (should he has any) and when he speaks he is modest and chooses to use humble words. For example, “Let’s carry out a kaizen on this issue.” If he wants to take the lead in promoting kindness among his people, he must put his own interests (too busy and therefore, steal time away from supporting the kaizen movement) right at the bottom of the list or to the most unimportant position. With this in mind, when he implements the kaizen program that is going to improve the lives of the people, the employees do not think they are shouldering a heavy load. When he courageously commits his time and pushes the people forward in the execution of one kaizen after another, the employees do not think there is any harm in doing it. The loveliest scenario of all is when the employees say, “Kaizen is our inherent job. We should not have troubled the CEO to yelp at us.”

At this instant, the biggest question in you is how to set the ball rolling?

Let pick on the first item in the list that is, “I want this repeated line down situation eradicated. Yet, it has been bugging me for a week now.”

Who are the people who are not going to be happy? Certainly, you are not going to be happy because nobody is assisting the poor operator who is troubled by the frequent line down situation. His supervisor is not. So does the production manager. Apart from them who have direct responsibility to produce the required daily output, the production planner is not going to be happy because of frequent intermittent downtime means the planned quantity for the day is short leading to missed delivery. Customers are going to complain for late delivery. It seems quite a number of people are not going to be happy. Tracing back to the source that had caused several people unhappy, it is obviously no one bothers to carry out kaizen to help the line operator.

Why is it that everyone keeps a blind eye or blatantly ignored the call for help by the miserable line operator?

Oh! Everyone points their finger at the CEO. Deep in their heart, they are comforting themselves, “Ugh! Since the CEO doesn’t care or is concern about the line down situation, why should I care?” Getting down to the crux of the contention, because you do not care or are concern about kaizen, who else cares? It seems to me, you are the number culprit causing the whole bunch of people who are going to be unhappy should the recurring line down sort of becoming a normal state of affairs and is not resolved any time sooner. The root of unhappiness within an organization is ‘nobody cares to carry out kaizen’.

Here and now, the answer rings out loud. Kaizen! Kaizen! Kaizen!

Summing up, kindness in the organization begins with everybody springs up to resolve all issues that the company is facing as soon as possible. Any line stopping issue regardless of whether it is about a big or small and regardless of its frequency of occurrences, these resentful incidences must be resolved with due care and this is exactly how kindness is going to flourish in the company because it stops the source of all unkindness.

Without a doubt, kaizen is the best answer, and is thoroughly proven in Toyota Motor Co. Ltd.

Note: I am not going to discuss the rest of the nine items in the list. They are rather complicated and require a specific methodology in problem analysis. Before a problem can be solved, we must first analyze issue in order to get down to its root cause. I am going to write an entire book on this subject in the coming book, titled, “Leadership Principles: Problem Analysis”.

       Love

To the right-side end of the Interpersonal-relationship scale, write down the word, Universal Love. To the left-side end of the scale, write down the word, Selfishness. Diagram 11-4 is the complete Love scale. Selfishness and Universal Love are the two extreme values on the Love scale. A selfish person could not love someone because he does not know how to break himself free from a selfish mindset.

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

 Diagram 11-4: Love scale

I was very interested in a lady called Rita. It was love at first sight. I went up to her desk and asked to be her friend. She told me frankly, “I am a bad girl. I am a very selfish girl. Do you really want to be my boyfriend?”

I thought for a moment and replied, “I will love you for who you are.”

She replied, “Okay. Let’s be friends, first. Soon you may find that you cannot tolerate my selfish behavior.”

The next day, I approached her again. She took out a piece of paper and pointing to the circle, called “the circle of activities”, with an ant right at the center of it. Then, she tapped at the ant situated right at the center of the circle with her index finger and said, “This ant represents me. All my life, I care only for ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘mine’. There is no place in it for another person.”

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

 Diagram 11-5: A selfish mindset

She was right. A selfish person only cares about herself and whatever she does is for the sake of her own interest. She does not have to consider the second person because there is never a second person in her life or her sphere of activities.

In reality, her statement, “There is no place in it for other person” is not absolutely correct. The ant drawn at the center of the circle occupies only a small fraction of the space enclosed by the circle. There is still plenty of space for her to draw many more ants inside that circle. Just that she had not done so in the past and perhaps, she is not going to do it in the near future.

Committed to change her mindset, I told myself, “No one is selfish. I need to teach her how not to be selfish.” So I asked her to draw a second ant inside her circle, next to hers, and write my name underneath it.

After she has named that second ant Eric, I asked her, “What does it mean to draw my ant next to yours, right at the center of your circle of activities?”

She said, “You mean I have to consider you to be a part of whatever things that I will do?”

That was precisely what I have expected. I wanted her to consider my presence, my feelings, my opinions, and my wishes if she were to make a decision. She has then changed herself. She is no longer selfish.

Allowable Interpersonal Conducts - 行天麒麟 - 论老子

 Diagram 11-6: Break free from a selfish mindset

By the way, I might want to say this is the most powerful way to woo a lady. In less than four months, she agreed to marry me and now she is my wife[13]. Every day I can see or feel that whatever she does, she has me in her mind.

Let’s make a big leap backing away from personal relationship. How do you engage your employees to love the organization they work in? As in diagram 11-6, replace Rita with the name of an employee and Eric with the company’s name. Do you think this employee always has the company in mind? During working hours, does he consider the company to be a part of whatever things that he do at the workplace? No! This is really asking too much from the employees.

What is the right amount of love or attitude to expect from each employee?

The answer lies in these two words, care and concern. If an employee cares and is concern about the company’s health and in whichever way, it adds up to he loves this company. Therefore, within an organization, the CEO must discover whether there is a feeling of love in the air. Yes, you can say that, most CEOs can discern whether this employee or that employee cares and is concern for the company or not. Of course, if most of the employees care and are concern about the company, this company shall thrive and has the potential to grow rapidly. The underlying key is, knowing how to inspire every employees to love the company, through care and concern.

To cut a long story short, in the first place, does the CEO care and is concern about the employees, each and every one of them? If he is, most likely the employees would follow him likewise, love him and love the company with utmost care and concern. It is as simple as that. Lead by example. If he does not care about the benefits of the employees, right away, the employees shall size up their state of affairs and conclude that there is really not much point to work hard for this company. The chain of command precipitously weakens and the organization is the ultimate end loser.

Of course, not all the employees do care and are concern for the company. Nonetheless, to raise the employees’ passion for care and concern for the company, the CEO must continuously shower every employee with care and concern. There is no other way around it. 


1] Every one of us is endowed with an ability to identify with or understand another's situation or feelings, particularly, when he or she is in sufferings and misfortunes. Others may choose to ignore.

[2] Corporate Singapore abolished the minimum wage scheme and freely permits her employer to exploit her to the maximum, bearing in mind not to breach the International Labor Laws. That should be alright.

[3] Corporate Singapore says, “Since these agents are all residing in Singapore therefore, the agency fee of S$8,000 is of course, retained in Singapore. It is better than letting Yanshu bringing back home to China the additional S$8,000.

[4] May I ask, “Really, does Subramanian employer have to pay S$550 in Levy every month?” Because Corporate Singapore wants to steal a share in the revenue pie of the construction sector, it insisted there is a need to implement the Worker Levy. Does the employer have a choice to opt out?

[5] Using the same analogy, local Singaporeans who are account executives or whatever job designations have to put in more hours a day in order to justify the slightly much higher salary while the Philippines or Malaysia citizens are all too eager to grab the same position at a much lower salary.

[6] Shekar is a Foreign Talent? What kind of joke is that? Singaporeans in the fifties who are out-of-job should be picking up the job to be a HDB cleaner and this could be one of the most decent and rewarding jobs for them. However, Corporate Singapore insists the local Singaporeans do not want to take up this kind of job. Had Corporate Singapore tried to raise the salary of the HDB cleaner to $1,500 per month?

[7] Do you know that they are the Untouchables? Untouchables are not only found in India. You find them aplenty, right here in this garden city which is the third richest country in the world.

[8] Singapore has one of the highest diabetes rates in the world. Sedentary taxi drivers like Alex Ng, form one of the highest classes of sufferers in the statistics.   

[9] This garden city is run by a profit-maximization oriented organization not unlike any private organization that sees profit as its only motives. It is called, Corporate Singapore. It does not run this garden city in the like of a government body.

[10] It is too ashamed to call any one of the executives of Corporate Singapore a leader. This is because there isn’t a single compassionate leader within Corporate Singapore since its declaration of independence on Aug 9, 1965. If you insist the great founding helmsman who built up Corporate Singapore surely qualified as a leader, he MUST be a false leader who had absolutely ZERO compassion. So was his immediate successor. Can any one of you tell the world the answer to this question, “Is the current third, a compassionate person?” 

[11] The author must have cultivated a loving, compassionate and kind heart thenceforth, he can overcome every obstacle.

[12] Imported from ‘Chapter 6: Cultivate Kindness’ of “Leadership Principles: Kaizen” by the same author.
       [13] This is a true love story between the author and his wife whom he married in May 2008.


       [i] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第57章.

[ii] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第5章.

[iii] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第65章.

[iv] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第59章.

[v] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第59章.

[vi] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第38章.

[vii] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第27章.

[viii] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第81章.

[ix] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第41章.

[x] Adapted from ericwoonct.blog.163.com section 《老子全始全终》第49章.

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