3 Key Takeaways From Leaderonomics ‘Reinvention’ Event

Sep 13, 2016 1 Min Read


To stay relevant, kickstart your reinvention journey today!

At the mention of the word “reinvention”, the first thing that comes to my mind is David Bowie. We have even featured Bowie’s lessons on reinvention some months ago on our online portal, Leaderonomics.com.

What is “reinvention”?

According to Oxford Dictionary, it is defined as “the action or process through which something is changed so much that it appears to be entirely new”.

In their book Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption, authors Shane Cragun and Kate Sweetman define it as “quantum individual and organisational change accelerated”.

From the abovementioned definitions, one common word is constant, i.e. change. Like it or not, change is all around us and we all need to learn to embrace it.

“Do we have the guts to bring in change when things seem to be going okay?” – Ashwin Rajgopal, COO of Valiram Group

First step to reinvention

We now see change happening ever more rapidly that we often refer to it as a disruption, which has its negative connotation of being a disturbance, or a ‘troublemaker’.

Disruptions are inevitable because they are driven by political, economic, social and technological factors at a global scale. This urgently calls for us to break away from our own bubble and start reinventing ourselves and the business. Else, we risk becoming irrelevant.

The first thing we need to do is open up our hearts and minds to all possibilities and ideas out there, as well as recognise the challenges and constraints that come from within.

This requires us to re-evaluate ourselves and be ready to admit to some of our blindfolds which may be hindering us from progressing in turbulent times.

“As leaders, you need to create a conducive environment where it encourages ideas to flow from the bottom up.” – Lam Mun Choong, CEO of Nettium

* * *

Leaderonomics recently organised a free learning session entitled “Reinvention” with Sweetman, where an esteemed line-up of panellists from different industries also came to share their thoughts and insights on reinvention.

Leaderonomics reinvention event

Learning session with great industry leaders (L to R): Kate Sweetman from SweetmanCragun, co-author of ‘Reinvention’ book, visting coach and lecturer at MIT’s Legatum Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Bharat Avalani, storyteller; Lam Mun Choong, CEO of Nettium; Ashwin Rajgopal, COO of Valiram Group; Leon Foong, GM of Uber Malaysia and Roshan Thiran, CEO of Leaderonomics as the moderator.

Here are my three personal takeaways from the session.

1. Be not just a leader, but a leader-accelerator

Today, being a leader running business-as-usual as a ‘survivor’ and keeping up with current trends is not enough to stay ahead.

Much more is expected as business leaders, i.e. exceptional leaders who create incredible results under almost any circumstances. The reinvented role of these leaders are those who inject life and energy into processes and people.

These are the leader-accelerators who have the uncanny ability to adapt quicker than the environment they operate within.

In fact, in the age of disruption, they are the ones who proactively look for opportunities to ‘rock the boat’ and own the change on their terms, rather than be subjected to external changes created by others.

Sweetman says, “Leader-accelerators innovate internally, and they make things happen at accelerated pace by creating a sense of shared energy among people and influencing their mindset to be part of the change.”

“We have learnt to ‘cannibalise’ ourselves. Know that if you don’t disrupt from within, people will disrupt you externally.” – Leon Foong, GM of Uber Malaysia

Roshan Thiran speaks

“Employees leave organisations with stories, not balance sheets.” – Roshan

2. Create a common story to bridge gaps

There’s always a great divide between what employees want and the employer’s expectation of them. While employees look for the intangibles like being a part of something bigger than themselves, employers are sometimes torn trying to balance the tangibles such as bottom lines and the intangibles such as helping employees see the great cause in the work they do.

So, can there ever be a common ground for these two parties?

According to Leaderonomics chief executive officer (CEO) Roshan Thiran, both employees and the employer have to do some soul-searching to answer this pertinent question: What do we really stand for?

In sharing his observation to what makes an employer of choice, he notes that great companies like Google and General Electric have their people from across the board sharing one consistent story and internalising a winning culture.

After these stories are crafted and anchored, employees can then connect the missing dots in finding meaning in their work. When this happens, rest assured that everywhere they go, they will be your best brand advocates. And remember that a highly engaged employees is your greatest bet in guaranteeing happy customers too!


Slideshare: Reinventing your employee brand for the 21st century ©Roshan Thiran

[slideshare id=65955420&doc=roshanthiranreinvention-160913003813]


3. Seeing boredom, dissatisfaction and frustrations as opportunities to reinvent

What do you do when you find yourself feeling bored, dissatisfied, frustrated, discouraged or even disillusioned? You could do totally nothing for awhile, but it will drive you crazy eventually!

Whether you choose to sleep over the matter, murmur, complain, or be proactive to take actionable steps to change the situation you’re in, essentially, you do something about it.

It looks like the common denominator for business reinvention often starts with such unpleasant vibes, as shared by the panellists. They were similar sentiments, just worded differently.

Sweetman terms it as “dissatisfaction” in her book. Ashwin Rajgopal, chief operating officer of Valiram Group calls it “a state of restlessness” while Lam Mun Choong, CEO of Nettium calls it “boredom”.

Leon Foong, general manager of Uber Malaysia, recognises the need to continuously innovate and improve urban mobility by taking big bold bets. Master brand storyteller Bharat Avalani is driven by a mission to improve human lives and share the truth. We can loosely deduce that the works of these two leaders probably stemmed from dissatisfaction of urban mobility and the state of human conditions respectively.

“Technology must be utilised with a sense of purpose. Use it responsibly so you don’t lose the human touch in all that you do.” – Bharat

From all their leadership sharing, we can see clearly the many degrees of reinvention happening in branding, e-business, transportation and brand storytelling in the Malaysian chapter.

Labyrinth of ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Reinvention takes place from the inside out. The conviction to reinvent ourselves and the business must happen in our hearts and minds first, before it can move our hands and feet to action.

Once the internal things are taken care of, leaders must look into external initiatives to tell your success stories to the world in the most authentic and humanised way possible.

Are you convinced now that you can’t escape the process of reinvention in this age of disruption? After all, in Bowie’s case, reinvention and change became a crucial feature of his success. It served him well, gaining longevity career success until his very last breath.

Bowie, master of reinvention



How we can support your reinvention efforts

Leaderonomics is a social enterprise with the vision to transform the nation through leadership development. It is our core belief that every individual can be a leader and can make an impact in the community.

Leadership need not be a far-fetched thing that is reserved only for the elite and upper echelons of society. That is why we are committed to democratising leadership and making leadership development available to all.

Hence, we build leaders across platforms through our three intertwined arms of corporate services, media and community, in which giant corporate leaders, HR practitioners, SME and NGO leaders, government entities, universities and schools can leverage us on.

3 components of LDR

As we continue to reinvent ourselves as an organisation to make leadership as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, come partner with us in this exciting journey of leadership transformation and growth.

To know what Leaderonomics can do for you and your organisation, email us with your enquiries at people@leaderonomics.com. Find out more about what we do at www.leaderonomics.org. To engage us for Change Management business programmes, email us at training@leaderonomics.com. To gain various leadership and HR perspectives through videos, podcasts and articles, get your daily dose of insights via here.


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Lay Hsuan was part of the content curation team for Leaderonomics.com, playing the role of a content gatekeeper as well as ensuring the integrity of stories that came in. She was an occasional writer for the team and was previously the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is still happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader's Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.

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