Bridging Community And The Organisation: 6 Key Lessons From Global Leaders

May 21, 2018 1 Min Read



The DoGood Leadership Conference and Malaysian Leadership Summit (MLS), held on May 6 and May 8, 2018, respectively saw global speakers, writers and coaches bring their professional experience to both corporate and non-governmental organisations.

With the aim to bring better leadership and change, this group of people took their life learnings to cover topics from the fundamentals of an organisation, to handling an unpredictable disruptive era.

We explore six key elements shared in the events, and my personal key takeaways from some of the speakers.

  1.  The fundamentals 

Everything that is built to last begins with a solid foundation, be it for the leader or the organisation.  

Scott Friedman, certified speaking professional and motivational humourist

Having the right mindset goes a long way.

Friedman shares, “Know your objectives, and then you can make your choices.”

A well-founded knowledge of your objective is crucial because it acts as a measure for your decision-making. If it does not match the objective, it is not the choice you want to make.

Roshan Thiran, Leaderonomics chief executive officer

Clarity is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Roshan shares two kinds of clarity:

  1. Vision clarity: To know exactly what it is you would like to achieve as an organisation.

  2. Reality clarity: To know exactly where the organisation stands.

Instead of saying, “We are a developing organisation”, a clearer approach would be “We are an organisation currently in ‘x’ phase.”

Combining these two types of clarity will set a steady foundation for progress.

  1. Spreading the word 

Publicity is key, but what about organisations with smaller budgets?

Debra Fine, author and small talk expert

It begins with the word of mouth. Fine shares how small talk is an underutilised form of sharing one’s work.

She shares, “You can know someone for years only to suddenly find out they run a non-governmental organisation (NGO).”

Fine suggests sharing snippets of your feelings and recent activities related with your organisation when you’re asked, “How are you?”

For example, “I’m feeling great! I just recently secured some funding for my NGO!”

Sliding these snippets into your small talk allows you to let people know your organisation exists. You can then start a conversation around it.

  1. Building the team 

Teamwork makes the dream work, but what makes the most effective team?

Rebecca Morgan, author and international consultant

Extracting and analysing data from Google’s Project Aristotle research, Morgan talks about the importance of psychological safety.

She says, “The team must feel safe to take risks, make mistakes and share ideas.”

Psychological safety is “a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.”

A psychologically safe environment will lead to teams becoming more innovative, open and engaged.

This can be fostered by:

Focusing on the conversation

When someone is sharing, make it a point to actively listen. This means putting aside all electronic devices for the time being to show care for the person’s ideas.

Asking questions

When there is a gap in an idea, instead of outrightly pointing it out, approach it differently.

For example, “That’s an interesting idea. What do you think about…?” and then include the area of concern.

This allows the person to feel credited for the idea and an opportunity to mull over an area of improvement.

READ: Raise Your Game — Volunteerism And Community Involvement In Leadership Success


  1. Howdy, partner? 

All partnerships are challenging.

Here’s food for thought on how to make the best of both worlds between NGO and corporate partnerships.

It is harder for NGOs to maintain sustainable partnerships. We need to start clarifying what partnerships mean based on context.

 – Kishore Ravuri, founder of IMPACTO Sdn Bhd

In partnerships, it’s important to define what the objectives are for the NGO and the corporation.

For example, a deal for an NGO could mean a source of funding, but for the corporation, it could mean branding.

Setting expectations for both parties is pivotal. Kishore suggests asking these questions:

  1. What are some visible goals you can set for the partnership?
  2. What does impact mean for you as an NGO or corporation?
  3. Does this partnership fulfil a short-term or long-term objective?

Answering these questions early will allow both parties to establish long-term partnership.

  1. Succession planning 

Who will be the “Simba” to your “Mufasa”?

Kim Underhill, certified executive coach and founder of Ultimate Balance Consultancy

Leadership is one of the biggest make or break factors. When it comes to passing the baton, Underhill shares these three key points when finding your successor.


Who are the people involved or working under your organisation? Identify those who seemed aligned with the vision.


The next step is to know them better. What are their values and ambitions? This helps find someone who walks the talk. This conversation allows one to confirm if the things they say and do are aligned.


Confirm the candidates and outline what is expected of them. This paves the way for tasks and responsibilities that are specific to the expectations.

  1. Dealing with disruption 

How are you navigating the seas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

It is important to understand that disruption is not chaos. It is something that challenges the current way of thinking and society. It is innovative in nature and is a quest for the better.

Paul N Larsen, certified executive coach and leadership consultant

Disruption is something that we need to accept. Larsen suggests asking ourselves this question: “What do I need to disrupt to reach my next level of fulfilment?”

This essentially means expecting and utilising disruption in our thought process. Once a plateau has been reached in growth, it is time to begin adding disruption.    

Manoj Menon, pioneer and managing director of Frost & Sullivan APAC

Manoj brings the application of innovation into the picture. According to him, innovation comes in two forms: technological innovation and process innovation.

Technological innovation has high investment but lower returns because it can be replicated. However, innovating your processes and business model requires less monetary investment and brings more returns as it is more organic and harder to replicate.

With this understanding, Manoj suggests combining the two, using technology and incorporating it into the business model innovation. This allows organisations to maximise their efficiency.

When all is said and done 

The leaders at the DoGood Leadership Conference and the MLS event remind us that at the end of the day, success can be paid forward compassionately by sharing the knowledge built over various experiences.


The DoGood Leadership Conference and Malaysian Leadership Summit 2018 featured global speakers like Scott Friedman, Paul Larsen, Rebecca Morgan and many more. Proceeds from both events are chaneled towards supporting Malaysian social organisations like MSRI (Malaysian Social Research Institute).
Bank Negara Malaysia and Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (HRDF) were key sponsors of the Malaysian Leadership Summit. Leaderonomics and Together We Can Change The World would like to thank our wonderful sponsors and partners for supporting the growth of social organisations and corporates, via leadership development that makes a difference. 


Ethan is a die-hard believer in transcending comfort zones. Ever since his Leaderonomics journey began with DIODE camps, challenges have become learning opportunities. Were you there at these events, too? Would you like to partner with us on some of our youth initiatives? Find out how you can invest in our young generation of leaders by writing to us at Or, if you would like to partner with us in some of our DoGood Volunteer initiatives, please email to



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