Article written by Katsuhiro Nakamura (Jack)
On March 23rd, 2015, the Father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew passed away. Once, his land was just a tiny island of Malay Peninsula; however, he developed it into one of the largest economic powers of Asia in one generation. There is no doubt that his achievement is great. But what was the key factor of his leadership? Singapore independent from Malesia due to racial issues they had. This situated him to state multiculturalism from the day of independence and to promote ethnic reconciliation. Also, his strategy to survive as a nation with almost no natural resource was to develop human capital; meritocracy was his solution. It was not easy to implement these visions. However, he repeatedly talked about these visions, removed those who are still against the visions, and finally, he accomplished them. His unflagging enthusiasm enabled the small island to grow. He has said “Even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel something is going wrong, I will get up.”
The most important job for a leader is to show a vision. Vision is what you want in future. Mentioning the vision in the annual conference is far less sufficient. We have to tell over and over again, and show it through our actions. Also, to make a vision come true, we have to stick to the vision no matter what they thing, and say “I believe in this.” I am aware that communicating a vision as a leader has been studying a while. My point here is, vision has its root in the leader’s strong will.
One day, a Thai CEO has told me like this, “My job is to create a workplace where my Thai employees can work happily. In order to do so, I sometimes have to say ‘no’ to the HQ in Tokyo.” A strong belief is communicated as a vision to the organization and results in empowering its employees. This is not limited to CEOs. Whoever leads others have to show their visions. Then you may wonder, “so,., How do we create a vision?” We will look into it in the next article.