11 May 2008

Latest Book - Building people

This is a rather interesting book, "Building People - Sunday Emails from a CEO" by Liew Mun Leong. In it he gave many interesting anecdotes on life, work, and the world. Some of the stories that struck me are..

His credo - Paranoia, Perfectionist and Persevere: 3 important traits in life. He mentioned the story of a Japanese engineer, Mr Sakai when constructing the Changi airport, ordered a re-paving of the runway for some concrete irregularities found. That waste of 1 day's work cost US$17k, but to him, he don't want 20 years later for his grandchildren to land in Changi and they criticised his work. Take pride in doing a perfect job - all the time!

Importance of corporate discipline. At Euston railway station in Manchester, the train was delayed for 26 minutes by the train driver who came late. The train with 10 coaches had to wait for an ill-disciplined late driver. And the worst thing is that such delays are common. Need to instill discipline in the organisation.

Story of a senior engineer from PWD sent to help him, not articulate, not motivated, due to the years of being thumb down by bureaucracy and superiors. But when given freedom and trust,this chap excelled and gain confidence. Later he left the public sector to become GM in the private sector. This story told me that we just need someone to believe in us and give us a chance. Don't just accept failure and wallow.

Kamikaze pilots (page 157). They were very committed to their tasks, though given little for their toil. The part that struck me was that the US Navy respected their courage and lowered the failed dead pilots in coffins wrapped in US flags into the deep blue sea. What respect! and from the enemy too. How far would we be committed towards our own causes?

I'm touched by his way of life and his care for his health. In church previously, we often talked about caring for your souls and body, and of how important exercises are. Here, he mentioned that he run daily and also on his de-stress methods, including watching Cantonese movies before he sleeps.

It is indeed important to keep our bodies well oiled and tuned to fight the long battles on earth.

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