Was at a talk yesterday by Lim Siong Guan on "The Failure of Leadership".
Only really remember a bit of it... Let's see. He started with a joke, saying his slides were pretty much the same if you'd heard him speak before... And the joke went like this:
1. Some guy with a degree in Economics goes back to U to see what the exam questions are like after twenty years.
2. Finds that they are exactly the same!
3. So he asks the professor, how come the questions are the same? Haven't things changed?
4. Professor says, ah, the questions are the same, but the answers are different!
And of course, like in any talk, I can only remember the first thing he said - the 3 failures of leadership, being 1) not learning from the past, 2) not adapting to the present, 3) not anticipating the future.
The talk is pretty much stock, but one thing sticks out in my mind: that it is imperative to change before change is critical. You should change while you don't need to, because then you have some slack to do things well. He gave an example: Suppose someone is not the best fit for a job. You should immediately retrain him or exit him while times are good and you have the resources to do right by the chap - else by the time the company gets into trouble and you HAVE to retrench the chap, you don't have any resources to help the guy move on...
This actually makes sense! Well. So now I gotta figure out why I'm only listening for directions from my boss rather than being an agent for change...
And, to end off with another joke from the talk:
1. Two hunters were out walking. One collapses, eyes rolled up and not breathing
2. The other whips out phone and dials emergency services
3. "Help! My friend is dead!"
4. Operator calmly says, "Don't panic, I can help. First, let's make sure he really is dead."
5. Silence. Gunshot.
6. "Okay, what next."
Read from that what you will!