Next Post: Gongxi Facai!! Happy Chinese New Year!! January 31, 2014
Welcome to our first St Andrew’s Blog for 2014 January 14, 2014

Happy New Year from all of us at St Andrew’s Insurance!

Welcome to our first St Andrew’s Blog for 2014.

Like most of you, throughout my working life I have endeavored to take on board feedback and leadership learnings from successful people who have inspired me and who have ultimately had a profound influence of shaping my work ethic and personal behaviors….and also helped me to be a good human being (which I hope I am)… I thought it would be good to start the new year by providing you with some interesting feedback on leadership qualities that I came across a few years ago.

It was in the form of a speech given to the 2009 graduates of Harvard Business School. Over the years I have read many articles on the subject of leadership but this speech still resonates with me. Here are some of the key points from that speech:

“Learning is lifelong

It doesn’t end at graduation. It’s your responsibility; you have to do it consistently, all the time. I spend 50-60% of my time learning.  While reading is important, so is talking to other people.  You also learn by observing other people and how they operate in very difficult circumstances.  I’ve learned both what to do and what not to do by watching others.

Building your personal brand

There is a book on each of you.  It’s already being written.  If I spoke to your teachers, your friends, your professionals, your parents, I would know whether you’re trusted, how hard you work, whether you’re ethical – you’d be amazed at how much I’d know without even meeting you.

That book is already growing.  Write it the way you want it to be written; don’t let others write it for you.  When you’re caught in situations that are uncomfortable – you can always make the right decision.  It’s your responsibility whether to accept to do something or not, and it will be in that book written on you.

Dealing with failures and mistakes

When you fail, it’s ok to get depressed, to cry, to blame others – for a while.  But eventually, you have to get over it and move on.  The greatest people who have ever walked this planet – people like Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln – constantly had setbacks and failures in life.  It happens all the time in business too.  And some of your success will be based on how well you deal with failure.  To be a leader, you’d better be a little tough, because you will be criticised.  You have to develop a little bit of a thick skin.  When you get criticism, let it roll off your back.

Also, bear in mind that a lot will happen in the next 25 years that’s about more than your skills.  There’s luck involved.  So don’t get too exuberant when you do well, and don’t get too depressed when you don’t.

To thy own self be true

You have to fight self deception.  Human beings are expert at it.  I do it too.  We all need people in our lives who will bring us back to earth.  It’s important to try to understand yourself deeply.  When I was in 5th grade, my teacher put a sign on the desk facing me that said “self control”.  It wasn’t until I was about 45 years old that I realised that anger is a bad thing.  Anger always backfires, it hurts people, you have to apologise for it all the time – it’s better to skip it.

You all know about I.Q. and E.Q.  Your I.Q.s are high enough for all of you to be very successful, but where people often fall short is on the E.Q.  Emotional intelligence is critical.  It’s something you develop over time.  A lot of management skills are E.Q., because management is all about how people function.

In addition to emotional skills and empathy, there are other traits we have to develop and work at all the time – things like passion, work ethic, character, integrity.  You are the sum of all of these things.  Your I.Q. alone will not get you through the dark days or the tough times.  You need to develop all these things, and develop them consistently.


Treat all people properly and treat everyone the same, whether they’re clerks or CEOs. Treat everyone equally and with respect.  And promote people who are respected. Would you want your child to work for that person?  If not, you really should question why you would allow that promotion to take place.

Have real humility

Have real humility.  Humility is a deep acknowledgement that we got where we are today because of things like where we were born or who our parents were.  It wasn’t all our own genius.  We could just as easily have been born in a different place, or with a disease that we couldn’t handle.


We are very lucky.  We should all acknowledge that.  Most of the millions of people on this earth would gladly trade places with someone else at random.  Some of us are very lucky – and that gives us deep obligations.”

I frequently go back to this list of attributes and remind myself of the things I should be focusing on.  I hope you find them of some value too.

Until our next Blog posting.….please post a comment and let us know what you think about our first blog post for the year.


Terry Jones
Marketing Manager  

Some great ideas here - I think the idea of promoting people who you would want your child to work for is a really strong one. Too often, we get caught up only in a person's business success and choose to ignore some of the poorer elements of their character.
Guest on Jan 21, 2014
Thanks for submitting a comment. I also liked the point that some of your success will be based on how well you deal with failure. It's a really good article on character building, as opposed to just 'winning', isn't it?
St Andrew's Terry Jones on Jan 23, 2014
This is an amazing blog post. A lot of these things I forget so it's good to get the reminder. Thankyou!
Guest on Jan 30, 2014
Many thanks for your feedback….glad the info was of some interest.
Terry Jones, St Andrew's on Jan 31, 2014
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