I thought of compiling the following quotes to enable us who saw the livestream of the successful visit of Alibaba founder Jack Ma to draw important lessons that will endure long after meeting us Filipinos.
Watched by millions, the forum at De la Salle University that gave him an honorary degree is a watershed moment for many of us, because for the first time, a charismatic business leader with the experience and wisdom gaining this kind of adulation in the country, is an Asian.
These quotes we gathered reflect an Asian approach in dealing with common and sometimes complex business issues. These are gaining popularity, challenging the once formidable ivory tower business school theories developed in the United States.
Word has it that the professors from these American B schools who travel to their Asia based campuses in Hongkong, for example, are forced to unlearn many things, and learn new ones as they also grow. These interfaces excite them, and will inspire us as well.
1. “Be simple. Stay foolish. No matter what, just continue. Do not complain about others. Complain only about yourself. “
This drives the need to obtain personal mastery and excellence over what we do. Therefore, disregard what other people say. They will only pull you down.
In today's social media generation we tend to place too much importance on the comments of others that we neglect the spirit of our own objectives, that brings us the consistency, resilience and drive to build that business, and make changes in our organizations and families.
2. “If you complain, you have to have a solution. If you don’t have a solution, don’t complain.”
This is a very Asian way of looking at complex situations. Do you notice the difference between the west and Asia when dealing with the new Philippine government?
Volumes have emerged from Western governments and politicians about supposed human rights abuses from the war on drugs, even calls to release one Leila de Lima, earning retorts from the President.
ASEAN, in particular, has a policy of non interference in the domestic affairs of its member states.
Asian countries, said little, if at all on the matter, preferring to pledge funds and support to build rehabilitation centers, to help create the solution.
3.“I believe it is not the technology that changes the world, but the dream behind that technology.”
Many of todays managers, especially millenials have this bias for a technology based fix to create a lasting solution to long standing problems.
Truth is, technology, despite its intelligence automation and algorithms is a mere set of tools.
Throughout history the driving force of change and development are people with dreams. They knew how to use technology, and didnt allow it to use them.
4.“No matter how smart you are, if you don’t know how to work with people, your dreams will just be dreams.”
“If you want to be successful, have great EQ, because EQ knows to work with people.”
Both quotes point to the need to be a bit relational in dealing with people, who after all, are persons. This is a very Asian approach, where relationships matter more than the numbers or whether the balanced scorecard is achieved.
In the end, enduring business ties and sustainable business relationships are relationships. You may not agree today about things, but tomorrow may be different when new situations arise, new realities surface, or opportunities come. It simply means that we put a premium on relationships.
These quotes reveal the very oriental Jack Ma, who is pragmatic and personal when dealing with people and situations, where real enduring solutions are crafted. These also make a slight statement against what many Western business books like to push.
In the broader context, as the China he comes from is poised to be the world economic leader by 2020, the pasture for asian business knowledge and wisdom is made greener by people like him. This is a font we must learn to draw from in case we want to succeed. (Photo from https://yourstory.com/2017/05/jack-ma-success-story-2/)