HR Summit 2014

Linda and I recently returned from Southeast Asia where I had the privilege of delivering two of my keynotes at the Singapore HR Summit 2014. It was a two-day gathering of over 4000 HR executives, managers, and professionals from across the region.


I presented to the C-Suite stream “Dare to Be Their Best Boss Ever” and to the Talent Management stream, “Over to You Employee: Getting Your Staff to Take Accountability for Their Performance, Satisfaction and Development.”




I confess that for years I have shied away from speaking globally (i.e. beyond the US, Canada and the Caribbean). Why? Because I feared my western culture oriented message and solutions would not translate well into Asian, Arab, and European milieux. They would not fit with the prevailing norms of boss/employee relationships in these parts of the world.

Well, surprise, surprise, Ian! Your ideas travel well, at least in the Asia Pacific region. The feedback I received in Singapore about my concern was that, yes, Asia-based organizations do need to hear about how to get employees to be more accountable and to engage more fully with their managers about their needs and their contributions (or lack thereof).

It’s true, motivators for a worker in a Confucian culture may differ from those of a North American worker. Asian employees may place benefits for their work team, their extended family, or their community above satisfying their own individual needs. But they all want decent compensation, interesting work, personal and professional growth, and a chance to do meaningful work. From an American perspective, Asian employees may defer too readily to their boss. But to succeed in this fast paced, competitive global marketplace, these employees need to find their voice too.

I went, I taught, but most of all, I learned. And, despite over 20 hours of flight time in each direction, the world seems so much smaller…and employees, at their core, are so much more similar than different.


Ian CookBest wishes,
Ian Cook


Focus by Daniel Goleman What I’m Reading

Leadership 2030: Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future by Georg Vielmetter & Yvonne Sell

We have been hearing in recent years about how leaders, going forward, will have to deal with a level of complexity that is rising geometrically. This seems a bit fuzzy, however. Just what “complexity” are we talking about?

Well, this book, just out this spring, presents the clearest description of that complexity I have encountered to date. The six megatrends are Globalization 2.0, The Environmental Crisis, Individualization and Value Pluralism, The Digital Era, Demographic Change, and Technological Change. Each on its own presents a daunting challenge to leaders. But it is the integration of two or more megatrends, the authors suggest, that really ups the ante.

They wrap up by describing the profile of a leader who can meet the challenge, what they call the “Altrocentric Leader.” Interestingly, this profile is similar to a blend of The Leadership Circle’s Creative leader and Integral leader. So TLC, whose leadership development model and tools we work with extensively, is very much on the right track.