• (65) 6789 0977
  • enquiry@cee-global.com
  • 259 Tampines Central
  • Singapore 915209

Lunch and Learn The rapidly evolving demands of the 21st century

Executive Briefing Series

1) Leading In a VUCA World

The rapidly evolving demands of the 21st century include everything from climate change to demography, shifting customer requirements and expectations, the rise of technology, globalization, new markets, and new attitudes to work. Leaders must now operate in a way that inspires and engages people, while simultaneously addressing changing customer requirements and delivering results. Finally, all of these needs to be achieved with a sense of urgency, as the experienced leaders of the “Baby Boomer”generation continue to retire at pace.

Leading in a VUCA world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) not only provide a challenging environment for leaders to operate and for executive development programs to have an impact: it also provides a much-needed range of new competencies.  The new reality is resulting in the realization that new and different capabilities are needed to succeed.

In particular, leaders today must deal with:

  • Volatility in economic conditions, including a slowly recovering economy and looming interest rate increases, and changing customer requirements.
  • Uncertainty brought about by increasing globalization, as well as regulatory and legislative changes.
  • Complexity driven by revolutionary technology changes impacting organisational products, and ongoing demand for increased innovation in a climate of rapid technological evolution.
  • Ambiguity brought about by the generational shift accompanied by Baby Boomer retirements and NextGen Leaders rising to take more and more senior roles. All of these factors combine to create an extremely dynamic climate that puts pressure on leaders to excel.


“L.E.A.P.” through the Fog

To lead successfully in the VUCA World, leaders need to “L.E.A.P. through the fog and demonstrate the cognitive readiness competencies  and also possesses the following traits (Bawany, 2016):

LEAP through the VUCA World

L iberal: open to new behaviour or opinions and willing to adapt or discard existing values if and when necessary to adapt to the new world

E xuberant: filled with lively energy with sense of passion and optimism in engaging the team and other stakeholders

A gility: proficiently change and evolve the learning organisation with nextgen leadership competencies including cognitive readiness, critical thinking and emotional & social intelligence amongst others.

P artnership: Build trust-based partnership with teams (intra & inter) as well as externally with other stakeholders including customers and suppliers.

Further details on this latest Executive Briefing is available as a download here.


2) Succession Planning For SMEs & Family Owned Businesses

Best Practices to Identify, Assess and Develop Next Generation of Successors

The motivation to have your own business often includes the desire to have more control over and freedom with your time. But many business owners find, at least in the early years of starting their business, that their working hours are much longer than expected and the opportunity to take a vacation is almost impossible. As the business grows, a business owner can find herself stretched to breaking point by retaining all of the decision-making power in the business and trying to do justice to the many job roles she is trying to cover on a day-to-day basis. Having built a business to a stage where it’s providing strong returns, it may even be time to inject fresh ideas and energy.

Unfortunately, some Founders, Business Owners and CEOs neglect their talent management accountability – consequently, their pipelines run dry. When this occurs, the downward spiral of competitive capability becomes discernible, the edge is lost, and the “magic” disappears. The competition begins to outwit, outflank, and outperform these companies which threatened its survival

This Briefing will include the latest research findings on how business owners and founders could implement succession planning to ensure the successful continuity of your business – particularly as it relates to people and processes. We will be looking at why succession plans are a business critical process, how to identify the talent in your organisation and what is needed to provide an effective handover to the next generation of leaders.

The first Executive Briefing for this topic was organised in collaboration with Azmi Law Academy and delivered on 13 January 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

3) Leadership Insights From Great Business Leaders

Business has been the most significant driving force of the modern world, offering choices, creating wealth, raising living standards and improving lives. At the heart of this increasingly global revolution are the business leaders – the men and women whose drive, vision and tenacity have created the great success stories of modern business. Such business leaders include Steve Jobs of Apple; Bill Gates of Microsoft: Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Richard Branson of Virgin Group, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hatheway, Jaime Dimon of JP Morgan Chase; Ray Croc of McDonald’s; Sam Walton of Walmart; Henry Ford of Ford Motors; Ratan Tata of Tata Group; Li Ka-Shing of Hutchison Whampoa and many others.

In this Executive Briefing Series, you will find many awe-inspiring stories of great leaders in the arena of business. Learn from these leaders as you study their lives, their words and their success.

CEE has researched an extensive list of leaders in realm of business. We believe that if you are aspiring to be a leader in this arena, these stories will greatly benefit you and help you to understand what it actually takes to become successful. These business leadership stories are about leaders in the marketplace in the modern world who have made an impact in one way or another. Through their empires, they either have changed the face of business, or change even the way we live.

In each of the Executive Briefing Sessions, we will feature a select few of Business Leaders including:

  • Introduction of the Leader
  • A Quick History
  • Leadership Lessons
  • Quotes from this Leader
  • Youtube Videos

CEE believes that this Executive Briefing Series will help you understand the leaders in a deeper way and help you to emulate their success in leadership and in life.

4) Leadership Lessons From Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew Leadership Legacy

“The task of the leaders must be to provide or create for them a strong framework within which they can learn, work hard, be productive and be rewarded accordingly. And this is not easy to achieve.”

– Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

Great Leaders, by definition, have a vision that is not shared by everyone. There are difficulties and adversaries to overcome; they face many obstacles, including self-doubt, but preserve in the hope of achieving their goal. Their leadership journey reads like the plot of a novel. One of such great leaders is Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore founding Prime Minister, who died on 23 March 2015.

Lee Kuan Yew-Barack Obama

“He was a true giant of history who will be remembered for generations to come as the father of modern Singapore and as one the great strategists of Asian affairs” – Excerpts of Statement of US President Barack Obama on Death of Lee Kuan Yew, 23 March 2015

The Centre of Executive Education (CEE) is pleased to announce the launch of the new Executive Briefing Series on “The Leadership Lessons of Lee Kuan Yew” designed to be delivered over a 1-2 hour session and aim to provide leaders at all levels insights on how to transform and develop their leadership skills by learning from such a great leader whose practices have transformed Singapore from a Third World to First.

Lee Kuan Yew was a great visionary who has left behind a legacy of a modern and prosperous Singapore that is the envy of many nations. He was regarded as one of the most prominent elder statesmen and influential leaders not only in Asia but globally. Lee was the first and longest serving Prime Minister of Singapore; and it was his leadership that brought Third World Singapore into a thriving metropolitan city in a stunning 3 decades. He had the strategic insights and leadership skills to move the country forward. Because of him and his team of pioneer generational leaders, Singapore has undoubtedly been a better and more progressive society than it would have been without them.

What are some of Lee Kuan Yew’s key leadership qualities or practices that we all can learn or emulate? There are certainly many viewpoints but for this series of Executive Briefing sessions, we would like to focus on 3 leadership practices.

Session 1: Authentic Leadership: Lead with Passion and Purpose

Lee as an authentic leader genuinely desires to serve others through his leadership. Lee will always be remembered and respected as a great leader, whose leadership combined extraordinary vision, which united Singapore as young nation, with pragmatic and flawless execution, which brought the city state from Third World to First.

His passion and commitment has been for the continued growth of Singapore – to be a place where future generations will live, work and thrive. He achieved that with humility and authenticity, and with courage and confidence in Singapore as a nation, to achieve great things. As leaders, we should be inspired by his insatiable appetite for continuous learning, striving to be better tomorrow than we are today.

Lee had gone through his toughest period when Malaysia chose to separate itself from Singapore. When Lee shed tears on public television marked one of the most historic moments in Singapore history. However, he never gave up, strengthened his resolve and continued to believe that he could develop Singapore into what he envisioned it to be.

A leader must have this resolve to just press on no matter how difficult the circumstances. In fact, it is this quality that separates the good from the excellent. Everyone can lead well when circumstances are favourable, but it is the times of adversity that distinguishes you as an excellent leader. Moreover, when you choose to press on, you will develop a tenacity and persistence that will carry you through your leadership journey.

Session 2: Leadership Succession: Plan your Leadership Succession early

The heart of Lee’s leadership legacy is Succession Planning, which he established as the key tenet of governance to ensure that good people will be in charge. Lee planned for the people that will take over him years before he actually stepped down as Prime Minister. He saw the importance of developing the next generation of leaders to lead the nation. The saying goes; there is no success without a successor. To be successful as a leader, your organisation must transcend you and you must be humble enough to acknowledge that. If you are indispensable to your organisation, then your organisation will not last after you’re gone. You need to strive to build an organisation centred on a mission or purpose rather than an organisation that is centred on you.

According to his successor, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, “Succession planning has long been a part of the Government’s DNA”. Likewise, when ESM Goh took over from Mr. Lee as Prime Minister in 1990, he planned for succession. The current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who took over from ESM Goh in 2004 is also working very hard to plan for succession.

As part of well-crafted succession planning and leadership development programs, innovative practices such as job rotation, leadership development through coaching, mentoring, action learning and next-generation behavioural performance evaluation must all be considered.

Session 3: Team Effectiveness: Develop a Team of High Performance Co-Leaders

While credit must be given to Lee for the unprecedented social and economic progress that Singapore made during that period, the same credit should also be shared by the old guard and his outstanding team of co- leaders, including luminaries like E.W. Barker, Hon Sui Sen, S. Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye and Goh Keng Swee, to name but a few. Lee once described his own generation of leaders as exceptional “dinosaurs, an extinct breed of men who went into politics because of the passion of their convictions.”

One of the most enduring legacies was Lee’s ability to select and work with a team of equally dedicated men all of whom shared one common characteristic: they loved Singapore and would put the nation interest above theirs. That more than anything drove the team to put aside differences for a common good. Lee and his team were obsessed with building a nation but they were never possessed by it. They never became personal or arrogant. Their obsession pushed them forward but they were not possessed by their egos.

These leaders were not lackeys. Unlike the public perception of him, many of his closest colleagues have testified that Lee knew the value of diverse views within his cabinet. He expected robust exchanges. He debated with them rigorously over policies and ideas. He selected intellectual equals as well as people with special expertise, whom he could tap on.


Like parenthood, leadership will never be an exact science. But neither should it be a complete mystery to those who practice it. Leadership is all about the ability to have impact and influence on your followers so as to engage them towards achieving results of your organisation.

Examining the leadership practices of successful leaders such as Lee Kuan Yew, all of us can get a clearer picture of what it takes to lead effectively. The business environment is continually changing, and a leader must respond in kind.


For copies of Testimonials for the delivery of the above programs, please visit here.


For further information on the above Executive Briefing Series and other CEE Executive Development Solutions, please email us at enquiry@cee-global.com.