On East Meets West Leadership

Blog post by Global Integration trainer and consultant, Vice President T.H.Ong, written 35,000 feet in the air while cruising at 800 mph from San Francisco towards Hong Kong.  Call it a moment of inspiration or the result of oxygen deprivation due to recirculated cabin air!

Asian project
The Shenzen project as seen at https://www.stevenholl.com

Of all places to look for professional inspiration, I would not have guessed The Arts section in the NY Times.

I was reading a June 29 architecture review article by Nicolai Ouroussoff on the Venke Center by Steven Holl in Shenzhen.

Holl’s entire design concept is inspirtional in itself. Liberated by the traditional constraints of architectural design, he turned something on its end and created an elegant solution in what could have been another predictable big-box recipe product. I can’t wait to see his work in person.

The most inspirational to me, however, was Ouroussoff’s last sentence in his article:

“And it underscores why China’s experimental climate, when combined with genuine intelligience can be so exciting.”.

Here are my two wake-up calls:

One: look east now folks if you want to truly bring potent legacies to your craft.

Two: stop wasting the greatest experimental landscape by giving the same-old predictable possibilities by dressing them up with superficial cultural ‘adaptations’.

Now’s the golden opportunity for truly paradigm-toppling ideas. Like turning a skyscaper horizontal supported by 50-foot columns to open up green spaces below, thus allowing occupants to maintain an interface with their surroundings on a familiar human-scale. Not hanging gardens in the air between the 90th and 95th floor; Not living green curtain walls on the outside of a pagoda-shaped monstrosity.

So here’s the million-dollar-question for all of us: What is truly the east-meets-west leadership model for the increasingly complex global organization? The lab is open. Envelope please.

T.H. Ong leads Global Integration’s presence in the Asia Pacific Region, whilst delivering training in leadership, matrix management, and cross cultural issues around the World.

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