Revolution Of Love (Part 1) – Reigniting Love
On March 21, 2003, I received an interesting call, “Patrick, you better fly back right away. People are carrying things out of the office.”
This call started a series of events which changed my life forever.
Prior to that call, I had scaled down my personal involvement with the company and left its daily operations to a management team.
At the trough of the SARS outbreak, sales had dipped to its lowest point.
Operational expenses were at an all-time high.
Our competitors took the opportunity to head-hunt my management staff, and several of my key people literally left me overnight.
Subsequently, my colleagues, clients, and suppliers began to leave me in droves.
Vicious rumours circulated in the market and they were growing stronger by the day.
During that time, I lost an enormous amount of money.
I was also carrying personal liabilities to the tune of millions of dollars.
I went through the darkest hour of my life.
At night, I slept with tears in my eyes, curled up like a little baby.
Lived in constant fear, and anxieties clouded my mind.
Worried about what would happen to me and my family.
My life had virtually come to an end.
It was a daily torture to wake up, drag myself to the office, and face another day of pain and sorrow.
I walked around like a zombie, not knowing what to do, say or believe.
I was totally helpless.
I could not run away.
No matter which way I turned, I would feel another huge wall collapsing on me.
I went through what the Chinese would call a half-death – 求生不得, 求死不能 – an experience which is worse than death.
I wanted to live but I could not live.
I wished I could die but death was not an option.
It was then that I started searching my soul.
I looked for wise counsel.
Seek our Creator for help.
I needed a modern-day miracle to turn the tide.
In my spirit, I sensed a divine calling to rebuild my company into more than just a business, a company, or an organization.
I was to go beyond personal profits and gains.
The initial instruction I received was to “Touch Lives”.
I was called to treat humans as humans; bring out the best in them and help them live the best of life.
My job was to walk the journey of life with my colleagues and help them live a meaningful, exciting and fulfilling life.
Through them, we would touch lives, bless families, improve communities, and enhance society.
When I decided to take up this challenge, I felt our Creator saying that this step was but only for Part One – the easy part – of the journey.
Love – A Powerful Force in Business and in Life
The most important and also the most difficult part of the message was to tell my people three simple words, “I love you.”
I knew that love is the most powerful force in business and in life.
Sadly, I had barely scratched the surface to tap this awesome force.
I did not learn how to live and work with love from any business guru, school, or book.
Most people would not even dare to talk about love in the workplace.
I had to learn how to rebuild my company on love and to live out the power of love.
Chart a new course and pioneer a different way of running the business.
Make our company – the extended family of our people – and the office, our second home.
And endeavoured to transform my organization into a warm, dynamic and caring family.
Out of that major crisis, I was forced to re-create myself.
I had to learn and am still learning to run my endeavours with a heart and put the soul back into my work.
Rebuilding The Company
Within three years, with the help of our Creator, we redesigned our company.
We re-engineered our company to be a market leader and arguably the first company in the world to rebuild itself on love.
Our company helped to win more than 44 awards and became probably the most awarded company in our industry.
We were also the first single-focus enterprise in our industry to be listed on the Singapore Exchange.
More importantly, since 2003, our company became one of the most active companies in social contributions.
I was able to step down as CEO and ensured a smooth transition in 2013.
Although I am no longer a shareholder and involved with the company, the experience will always stay in my memory.
Through the crisis, I learned powerful lessons on how to run a purpose-driven business.
The Four Dimensions
Using the analogy of a computer, I realized there are four dimensions to a love-based management system. In a nutshell:
The heart of a business challenge is ultimately a challenge of the heart.
It is the ultimate driver for
motivation to run a business.
The heart can drive the enterprise in the right direction or towards destruction.
It is from the heart that we can derive a soulful and sustainable solution.
The question that begs to be answered is, “Why are you in business? Why do you lead an organisation?” Your “why” will help you discover the “how”.
It is your purpose that will determine your performance and progress.
Drive productivity and help you develop the right partnerships in your organisation.
Where your heart leads to, that’s where your destination will be.
The best way to love your people is to build the best business.
The character, commitment, capacity and capability of your organisation will determine its contributions.
The hardware of the company is essentially the business model of your operation – how you do what you do to enhance profit, advantage and growth.
It includes the plans, structures, systems, processes, and resources to achieve results.
Results define the hardware of your business and is the only true measurement of life and success.
Every business is a people business.
It is the people who work in your business that will make your business work.
I have always said that I was not just in the real estate business, I was in the relationship business.
I was not in the property business but in the people business.
The software of a business is the way your team and you communicate, collaborate, and co-create solutions for your customers and other stakeholders.
To do that, you need to find the right people to do the right job and at the right time.
The quality of your business is shaped by the quality of your leadership and teamwork.
The people makes the ultimate difference.
In the final analysis, the purpose of a business is not merely to create products and services.
It should also not exist just to serve customers and generate profits.
Businesses should serve a higher purpose for helping people live a better life and make our world a better home.
The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become.
When you serve a higher calling and a worthier cause, you will attract more people and resources to help you build a stronger company.
Eventually, your business should become a movement – a force that will do good and do well at the same time, all the time.
The miracles continue…
Without realizing it, our Creator was using me to start a Revolution of Love.
Since then, I have developed a new love-based business model and shared it with a new generation of entrepreneurs.
I called them – “Enlightened Entrepreneurs”.
Call me an idealist if you like, I believe if you and I live with love, our future generations will point to us and say:“That’s the generation that finally got their act of love together.