What I Learnt in 2014

2014 has been a catalytic year for me in more ways than one. Professionally as a senior corporate executive and leader the lessons have helped me better myself. Here are my top five learnings:


Visual Courtesy: www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Visual Courtesy: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk


#1 Leadership

Top of the list is leadership as that’s what provides direction, growth and self-development.

Lesson #1 in leadership was getting to understand and use my own emotional intelligence to read the climate and culture of my team in order to earn the respect of being their team leader and providing guidance that is valued, appreciated and most importantly recognized.  As a leader why is it so important to recognise and accept emotions? It’s because as humans we are emotional beings and our emotions impact on our behaviour which in turn affects our business actions.

Lesson #2 was the value of authenticity, as a leader, from my team. Being one’s self in action and thought and asking the team to identify how we could step up our game a notch brought about higher engagement. It created strong bonding and camaraderie to the extent that famous quote “All for one, One for All” (from The Three Musketeers)—was our team motto. Authenticity helped me in understanding and using the team culture in guiding the team to achieve their stretch targets with a smile on their faces.

#2 Culture

“Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.” Peter Drucker.

For an organization, culture is defined by the actions of its leaders, its people and the processes.

The lesson I learnt here was an eye-opener! One can be extremely competent technically but what is important is the ability to present one’s point-of-view keeping in mind the recipients’ cultural perspective which frames receptivity.  Technically one can be the best of the best by any parameters but what gets one ahead is the ability to manage both upwards and downwards. In order to have this skill, understanding the culture at play is very important.

#3 Advocacy

Employee advocacy is, perhaps, the least visited or viewed area among Asian organisations. One wonders why when business is by the people for the people. People are the only asset that organisations today, can use to create competitive advantage for themselves.  Providing peer and social recognition of an employee leads to a massive increase in commitment from that employee leading to advocacy that impact positively on the bottom-line. Yet the lack of specific employee engagement strategies emerging from the business plans leaves one wondering about the value an organisation gives to its employees. Is that why we see entrepreneurism on the rise?

#4 Growth

Having being involved in business strategy and its related initiatives in the corporate world for over two decades one key learning I have is that there is a direct correlation between business growths with individual growth. Alignment and line-of-sight between an individual’s goals, functional role and the business goal of the organisation is critical in obtaining commitment with accountability.

In the year past, by achieving this alignment within my operational team, it enabled the team to channel their passion into key initiatives thus surpassing achievements with flying colours. 

This brought into focus the importance of the marketing and human resource functions working closely together in order to map both, individual career growth and the organizations’ business growth.

#5 Profit or Social Responsibilities

For as long as we can remember the basic purpose of business has been to make profit. There is a major amount of literature on this topic on the public domain. Given the changing consumer behaviour, as a result of the financial crises and increase in technology usage, businesses have had to re-look at the profit-maximization model that had been in use. Trust, word-of-mouth referral and most importantly brand experience  that delivers a tangibly perceived value is the order of the day.

Managing a NPO doesn’t mean not achieving the profit target. Without that sustainability is in question.

For me the value of managing the business and marketing functions of an NPO is in the fact that one can put key social responsibilities as primary objective and through the achievement of those goals achieve the profit targets. This is what makes the functional role so very interesting and different from a pure profit-only organization.


I would be happy to know of your top five lessons of 2014 as well as your observations on my lessons.

Wishing you a very Happy & Prosperous 2015.





2 thoughts on “What I Learnt in 2014

  1. Hi Joy,

    Always a pleasure to read your postings. The year end feature contains many salient points and should be welcomed as knowledgeable guidance for anyone seeking to improve themselves and their respective operations in 2015.

    My best wishes to you for the coming year to gain a greater following. Likewise, the same for future prosperity.

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Michael,
      Thank you so much! It’s heartening to get such feedback to know the content I put out is useful & helpful.

      My best wishes to you for the coming year. May it be one filled with fullfilment, happiness & prosperity for you, family & your team.


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