I had coffee yesterday with a childhood buddy (who is visiting Singapore for a few days). He is a musician…
Leadership Lessons From Donald Trump
I do not actively follow politics, but I am genuinely dismayed by Trump’s entry ban on 7 Muslim countries, and his preferential treatment of Christian immigrants from Syria. I fully understand and appreciate that the US has a national security issue. However, it is not an excuse for open and unfair discrimination based on religion or nationality. First and foremost, we are all ONE. We might all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, races, and beliefs, but we all dream, laugh, love, and cry. We all belong to humanity. It is simply not right to discriminate on things like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, education, social status, etc. I lived in the US for approximately 18 years, and it is sad that I do not recognize this America. The America I remember is the great country of diversity, acceptance, and tolerance.The America I remember is the great country built by immigrants and people of all backgrounds. The America I remember is the great country where everyone is created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I am far from perfect as a leader, and I make tons of mistakes every day. However, I firmly believe that fairness is a fundamental responsibility of leadership. Every human being should be treated equally and fairly unless his/her actions show otherwise. At my companies, I try my best to nurture a culture of meritocracy whereby everyone is the master of his/her destiny. If you do good, good will come back to you. If you do bad, bad will come back to you. My friends joke around with me that my companies often look like the United Nations because there are so many nationalities represented. It is not a coincidence. We are ONE. As a leader, I try my best to find the best person for each job, irrespective of race, gender, religion, social status, education, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other typical corporate metric. I embrace diversity. I believe in meritocracy. From my experience, people who want to achieve the extraordinary in life come from all different backgrounds and from all walks of life. There is no cookie-cutter formula for rockstars. I have met lazy idiots with fancy Harvard degrees and I have met genius superstars without any formal education. The most important thing is to share common values of integrity, happiness, excellence, continuous improvement, teamwork, and loyalty. Beyond shared values, shared vision, and a common mission, everything and anything goes. For me, diversity is the mother of innovation. Creative ideas, different ways of thinking, fresh perspectives, and opposing views are the bedrock of any great company. A company that does not embrace innovation and open-mindedness is a company that will face certain death. This same truth goes for countries too.
Every day, we all have the choice between light and dark. We can succumb to anger, prejudice, greed, sloth, jealousy, hatred, revenge, arrogance, racism, entitlement, fear, or any other form of negative energy. Or we can choose positive energy such as gratitude, humility, acceptance, love, patience, courage, happiness, hard work, charity, tolerance, compassion, and kindness. I am not perfect, but I do try my best every day to choose light over dark. Goodness and positivity are choices just as evil and negativity are. We all must be careful what we feed our souls every day. Ultimately, we will all become what we feed.