By ROSHAN THIRAN
In a week or so, more than 500 CEOs of various organisations across Malaysia will gather in Bangsar South alongside top leaders such as EcoWorld Development Group Bhd CEO, Datuk Chang Kim Wah, Digi Telecommunications CEO, Albern Murty, SEEK Asia CEO Suresh Thiru, MindValley founder Vishen Lakhiani and others to learn from each other.
I have also been invited to speak at the conference and look forward to listening to other speakers. But what I am relishing more, is the opportunity to interact and dialogue with the 500 other CEOs, who will be present at the conference.
Watch to see what’s lined up in the event:
A few years ago, I was invited to speak at a Global HR conference, where 3,000 HR leaders from across the world would attend. I was excited about my presentation and the opportunity to listen to other great global HR leaders.
I learnt a lot from the various speakers but I learnt the most from other participating HR directors. Our conversations during the breaks and over lunch were deeply insightful. More importantly, I made many new friendships.
One particular insight I learnt – not from the speakers, but from a participant – was the state of HR in his country. As we shared the respective struggles faced by our nations, it became apparent that we could help each other in various areas of concern. We formed a partnership to collaborate and it has led to numerous new opportunities.
In this age of hyper-connectivity, one of the biggest gaps that business leaders have to deal with lies in social connections. We are constantly communicating through e-mails and messaging apps like WhatsApp – shooting our documents and presentations to virtual mailing lists – that we have lost the art of great dialogue and deep, face-to-face interactions between people.
Catching up with Kohlrieser
Last week, George Kohlrieser, a former hostage negotiator was in Kuala Lumpur, and I managed to catch up with him. As we had a meaningful dialogue and learnt from each other, I realised there was significant power in conversations.
George had previously taught me that many of us have forgotten how to connect and bond with one another. Leaders must bond with their followers. Likewise, for us to learn from others, we must spend time and truly listen.
Take this opportunity
This conference that I am about to attend – the upcoming SME CEO conference – represents a huge opportunity for me, and each speaker, to meet, learn and connect with other participating CEOs.
This is also a rare chance for participants to meet new people: CEOs who share similar struggles like them, and learn how they overcame those hurdles, and possibly even gain an insight or an idea from each other.
I am really looking forward to this event and I plan to share my research on why companies fail to scale and grow. And I hope that the follow-up discussions after my sessions will allow me to learn from the participating CEOs what their own challenges and struggles are, and how some of my insights could be incorporated into their organisations.
Organising co-chairs of SME CEO conference, Ang Hui Ming and Sarah Lim say they have set-up the conference with games and special events to ensure everyone gets to meet new people while sharing and learning from each other.
This is going to be an enriching experience. I look forward to learning from each of you there!