A Story Of Two Men – Part 2.

by Patrick Liew on August 16, 2019

A Story Of Two Men – Part 2.

The stories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Chin Peng reinforced my belief that that all organisations succeed or fail primarily because of leadership.

Nothing great is ever achieved without a great leader and a great team.

Leaders change the landscape of society.

They can change lives for better or for worst.

The good news is that you can become a great leader.

We can build a force for good that will make our world a better home.

There are essentially 6 critical success factors that you can learn from these two leaders to help you build a great team and achieve sustainable success.

These factors can and should be learned, developed, and practiced.

It is not just the responsibility of every leader but also every member of the team to implement them.

1. Cause

Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Chin Peng shared the same initial vision of breaking away from clutches of our British colonial masters.

Both men fought for independence but on different platforms.

Their total devotion to the cause and willingness to die for it became a rallying point for the people around them.

Many followed them and were prepared to make tremendous sacrifices to see a difficult dream come true.

The first critical success factor to building a movement is to have a worthwhile cause.

The principle is, “Give your team members a worthwhile cause that they are willing to die for.”

Every human needs a compelling purpose for living.

The higher the purpose, the more they will devote their hearts, minds, and souls to fulfill it.

What greater inspiration is there in life than to know that you have only one short life to live and therefore, you need to make full use of it.

What bigger cause can there be than to change the people and world around you for our future generations.

Mr Lee has devoted his life to turning Singapore from a third world country to a vibrant globalised city-state.

His courage, leadership and dedication to nation building has made Singapore one of the most admired countries in the world.

I believe our Creator has placed a burning cause within your heart.

There is a calling that you have to respond to so as to optimise your contribution to society.

If you promote your cause one person at a time, one day at a time, one experience at a time, it will soon take traction.

With perseverance and constant improvements, your personal mission will become an organisational movement.

2. Culture

If people don’t know what you aspire to achieve, they will not join you.

If they don’t what you believe in and how you intend to live out your belief, they will not follow you.

In addition, if they don’t trust you, they will leave you.

However if they respect you, they will become passionate and productive members in your team.

Many teams fail because members have lost faith in their respective leader and their team.

That’s why it’s important to decide right from the beginning to set a high standard of ethos, morality, and honour.

As a lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew believed that law and order was fundamental in establishing a good society.

He was well known for suing his opponents when they put his integrity into question.

Even though it might not be a popular thing to do, nonetheless he believed that he needed to press home the truth.

Otherwise, he would have no moral authority to govern the country.

If every member in your team seeks to be trusted and respected, your team will last for a long time.

Be in a better position to collaborate and achieve more and better results.

3. Champions

Every revolution is essentially a “Leader build leaders who will go on to build even more and better leaders” movement.

This cycle of leadership development will eventually takes on a life of its own.

As a leader, build leaders who can build other leaders, otherwise the movement will soon come to an end.

One of the reasons why I respect Mr Lee Kuan Yew is his commitment to implement an orderly and effective succession plan.

He believed that the incumbents should step aside at an appropriate time and a new generation of leaders should be inducted to take Singapore to another level of growth and achievement.

To be an outstanding leader, be an outstanding follower.

Unless you know how to follow and to work in a team, you will not know how to lead others and command their respect.

The highest achievement in leadership is to be a servant-leader – one who leads by serving others.

Unless you love and serve your people, you do not qualify and deserve to be a leader on a long term basis.

The more leaders you have in your team, the stronger your team will become.

With a stronger team, you can achieve better and more sustainable results.

As you strengthen your team, a tipping point will happen and the team will start to fly.

The cause that you and your team are fighting for will blaze a trail of glory.

4. Coaching

As a leader, one of our key roles and responsibilities is to invest in developing every single member in your team.

Help him maximize his potential, enhance performance, and reach the highest level of achievement.

When you invest in developing lives, you’ll live the best of life.

To do that, commit to lifelong learning.

The day you stop learning, you’ll start to downgrade yourself and become irrelevant.

In a fast changing world, there is a limited shelf life to your knowledge and expertise.

If you are not learning, improving and achieving better results, you will soon be disrupted and become redundant.

Lee Kuan Yew is a good example of a lifelong learner.

He reads widely and solicit information from different sources.

More importantly, he has disciplined his mind to sieve through information and focus on what is critical in achieving the best results.

For example, almost till the end of his career and life, he was still being tutored so that he can improve his command of the Chinese language.

When you inspire others to learn, you will also enhance your learning experience.

By the way, coaching is not just training.

It is about walking the journey of learning, growth, and results with your team members.

I call it an “I Do, We Do, You Do” experience.

As a leader, set a good example.

Live out and show the way.

Then, work together with your leaders to achieve the best results.

Finally, ensure that they can perform and improve on their results by themselves.

When your team members feel that their lives have been transformed for good, they will be inclined to be grateful to you.

They will be more motivated to develop an interdependent win-win relationship with you and support you in your pursuits.

Who is the first person your need to invest our time in?

Who’s next…and next…?

Give them your best to achieve the best results.

5. Community

Nobody abandons a positive friend.

Everybody wants to belong to a community of friends – a community that bonds closer than a family.

Mr Chin Peng returned from exile in China to join his comrades in Thailand.

He wanted to look after them and in turn, they looked after him too.

There is a sense that he cared for the welfare of his men.

I’m sure he went out of the way to look after them and that’s why they were willing to spend the prime of their youth living fighting for their cause within the jungle and without.

One of the greatest fulfillments in life is to be a part of a purposeful, vibrant and growing family.

Aim to build such a family-like feeling in your team.

A family that will not only bonds everybody together but which will also attract others to join the team.

Immerse the family with love, one of the most powerful forces in the world.

Learn to proactively show care and concern for one another and do it graciously, continuously and generously.

Inject lots of warmth, fun, excitement, and dynamism into the team.

When that happens, how can the team not soar?

How can others not want to follow all of you?

How can you not begin to take action today?

6. Challenge

Every human needs to be challenged and should be challenged.

Healthy challenges can motivate a team to rise to a higher level of achievement and fulfillment.

A productive member deserves such an environment and will value such an environment to help them stretch their potential and drive them to achieve better performances and outcomes.

As a leader, spend time to understand your leaders, including their unique dreams and goals and help them discover their callings in life.

The beautiful thing is that you can always be a partner to others and help them design a positive, worthwhile, and desired future.

Develop structure, systems, and processes to help them live an extraordinary lifestyle.

When they sense your sincerity, sacrifices and initiatives to help them, they will eventually become more committed to help you fulfil a worthwhile cause.

Bring out the best for every leader and do it for the rest of your leadership journey.

Our Creator will bless you beyond your wildest dream and imagination.

The above 6 factors are imperatives to develop a team of excellence, a team that is built to serve and designed to last.

Aim to turn your team into a model of lasting greatness.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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