“A former top executive at Shell Malaysia, CEO of Malaysia Airlines, and government Minister (in charge of the National Transformation Programme), Datuk Seri Idris Jala understands transformation. As the President and Chairman of consultancy firm PEMANDU Associates, he helmed the company to withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforced it to enter 2022, stronger than ever.
The pandemic was a crisis for our company, as most of our work was based overseas. We calculated that without any new projects, our cash reserves would have lasted just two and a half months. However, not only did we increase this to 12 months’ worth of cash, we were also able to eventually pay out quarterly bonuses to our staff. The secret to this turnaround were two things: transformational leadership and introducing a new way of working.
We tackled the situation by coming up with and presenting three solutions to all the staff. To either close the company, temporarily mothball the business or reconfigure the entire organisation’s structure. 96 percent voted for the third choice, by implementing the work from home model, manpower and pay cuts. This caused a fundamental shift to our working environment and style.
True to our need for innovation, in 2021 we rolled out the ongoing Brown Bag Series of webinars, where prominent leaders like Tan Sri Nazir Razak and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes shared their experience with transformation be it in the public and private sector. The webinars have been fully booked and we believe the lessons have been constructive for our attendees.
The Cheerleader Behind the Global Covid-19 Index (GCI)
Our push for transformational leadership over the last two years is best reflected in our award-winning Global Covid-19 Index (GCI) project, an idea that came to be in April 2020.
The concept behind the GCI was to rank all 184 countries on the basis of statistics and figures related to Covid-19, taking approximately 10,000 data points every day to aggregate them on a single information point.
The team leader – PEMANDU Associates’s Joint Managing Director and Partner Woody Ang Woo Teck – and I spent the entire weekend working through the problem and he was immersed in the execution process. Over the next few weeks, we sought expert feedback and constructive input, which culminated in the completion and international endorsement of the open-to-public GCI. I am convinced that staff can achieve their best if their leaders step into their shoes.
Simultaneously, companies will find it hard to grow if the leaders do not have clear priorities while sticking to their old ways of working. When you encourage innovation, you will be able to achieve the impossible.
Ultimately, it is important to overcome the fear of failure to achieve change. 2022 will be a year where PEMANDU Associates will continue to develop innovative models, virtual workshops and labs to help organisations and governments overcome crises and challenges.
We encourage them to reach out to us to discover how transformation may be possible for their organisations as we help them achieve big and fast results in 2022 onwards!”