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Building People: Sunday Emails from a Chairman, Volume 4



Building People: Sunday Emails from a Chairman, Volume 4

Mun Leong Liew

ISBN: 978-1-119-28806-0 September 2016 320 Pages

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Eavesdrop on a top business leader to learn the secrets of great leadership

Building People provides a glimpse into the mind of one of Asia’s keenest and most effective business leaders. Before becoming Chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong, author Mun Leong Liew was named Best CEO in Singapore, Best CEO in Asia, CEO of the Year, Outstanding CEO of the Year, and more—but his successes are not based strictly upon the numbers. This book reveals the personal and professional philosophy behind this extraordinarily effective leader, in the context of frank and insightful emails to his staff. Touching on everything from honour and potential to training and mentorship, these messages paint a clear picture of the difference between good and great leadership. Effective leaders build companies, but legendary leaders build people—by strengthening the heart of your organisation, you enable robust growth and dynamic stability from the inside out.

These emails go beyond mere public relations to lay open the true nature of a man who is honestly, deeply committed to his job, his responsibility, his organisation, and most of all, his people.

  • Learn why work-life balance is not a zero-sum game
  • Discover what pragmatism and commitment truly mean in business
  • Realise the importance of good partnerships and unsung heroes
  • Manage change effectively and employ it wisely for sustainable success

By eavesdropping on a leader’s communications with the people he serves, you get a real sense of the man behind the success. Great leadership is rooted in a philosophy of “building up” instead of tearing down, and motivated by the sincere belief that we bring our own purpose into everything we do. Building People brings great leadership to life, and inspires action over theory through the insights of Mun Leong Liew.

Preface ix

Chapter 1: Pragmatism in Business and Leadership 1

Work-life Balance – Is It a Zero Sum Game? 3

New Year Message – Building the New Changi Airport 9

New Year Message – Transformation of Surbana 14

Pragmatism – A Key to Successful Leadership in Singapore and China 18

Pragmatism in Business 24

Pragmatism in Business 2 28

Contractors are Our Partners! 34

New Year Message – Waste Not, Want Not 40

Chapter 2: Engineering and Infrastructure Business 47

Conscience of Safety 49

When the Stars are Aligned 55

Commencement Speech – “My Story Can be Yours Too” 61

Engineers – Our Unsung Heroes 73

Time to Make the Engineering Profession Shine Again! 77

Speech at PFI Best Asia Infrastructure Citation Awards 84

If You are Not Committed, Don’t Do It! 90

Drama at the Last Farewell to a Close Friend and Colleague, Mr Somkiat 95

Eulogy for Somkiat Lertpanyavit, a Most Distinguished Professional Engineer 99

Chapter 3: World Outlook 105

A Journey of “Encountering Evil” 107

Survival – The Mother of Innovation! 112

Turning Sand into Gold! 116

Will Prime Minister Abe Launch His Bazookas Soon? 123

World Outlook – A Marine and His Beloved Dog 126

Will the Year of the Fire Monkey Have More Tricks for Us All? 130

Chapter 4: Talent Development and Core Values 137

Changi Airport – The Learning University! 139

Corporatisation vs Commercialisation – Are They Really the Same Thing? 147

Building CVs 155

Choose Our Troops! 158

The Top Chinese Talent that I “Missed” 165

Churchill and the Cleaning Lady 169

Corruption Management in Business – Some Practical Points 173

It Takes Leadership and Courage to Fight Corruption 181

TICS – The Way Forward! 187

Chapter 5: In Remembrance of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew 193

How Changi Airport Has Transformed Singapore (and Me!) 195

The Big, Bold and Innovative Air Hub of Changi Airport by Lee Kuan Yew 203

Lee Kuan Yew Truly the Father of Changi Airport 209

Some Qingming Thoughts 214

The Launch of Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew 217

Chapter 6: Personal Reflections 223

Have You Climbed Mount Fuji? 225

A State of High Anxiety 233

Building Our Own Health Bank for Old Age 241

Building Lasting Partnerships 246

Of Music, Cranes and Friends 253

When Bosses Become Mentors 256

Some Thoughts on the World of Jack Ma 261

Young Birdie vs Old Bird 267

Appendix 273

“What are you going to do after you retire?” 273

Index 289