12 Working Principles

By NIELS JOHN MADSEN R, R1

John Madsen was born and received his early education in Denmark before furthering his studies in the UK and the US.

He has worked in Asia since 1969 and has been a permanent resident in Malaysia since 1995.

He moved up the ranks from apprentice with The East Asiatic Co Ltd (EAC) Copenhagen to GM for Carlsberg Division EAC Hong Kong through CEO positions in Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, The East Asiatic Co (M) Bhd, EAC Global Marketing Services Core Business: Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, Malaysia Mosaic Bhd, Gek Poh Holdings, International Inter-flour Group of Companies and then he founded his own holding company in May 2005 — Micro & Macro Approach Sdn Bhd.

With an extensive background in commerce, economics, business administration and management he holds numerous director, chairman and vice chairman positions along with honorary appointments. He is a Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) general council member (since 1986) and long-time Court of Emeritus Fellow (since 1989).

He is also the author of several well regarded publications where he shares his extensive knowledge gleaned from years of honing his skills — Managing in a Plural Society (1989), Corporate Culture Booklets (1991), The 12 Working Principles Booklet (1997), The Street- wise Marketer — Marketing Leadership Approaches They Don’t Teach at Business School (2005), The Holistic Approach for — “Closing the Business and Cultural Gaps” (2007), all of which can be applied in today’s business world.

Following is an insight into the wisdom to be found in his publication “12 Working Principles”.

1. Honesty


“Prefer justice and living in want to crookedness and living in abundance”


• We must be honest and sincere in all our dealings.

• We must always act in good faith.

• We cannot allow any conflict of interest from which follows that either you give all your working time to our group or you do not work with our group.

2. Integrity


“He who has more virtues than talents is a superior man, he who has more talents that virtues is an inferior man”


• We value the trust others place upon us and are committed never to violate it.

• We recognise the greater importance of the Institute over our own personal ambitions.

• We are accountable for our own actions and take responsibility for the actions of those under our charge.

3. Caring


“Charity and Justice are worth a thousand taels of gold”


• We value human resources as the company’s heart and brain without which there simply will be no functional organisation.

• We respect the importance and obligations of family.

• We care for the society and work.

4. Respect


“Do not use your rank to humiliate others nor use your cleverness to deceive them”


• We believe in equality (of race, religion and gender) and respect the cultures and customs of the land where we operate.

• We must perform our duties with professionalism and dignity at all.

• We recognise the opinions of co-workers and partners, and encourage free expression of ideas.

5. Hands-on Leadership by Best Examples, Best Practices and by Moving Around


“If the foreman is not energetic, those under him will not get busy”

“To see once for yourself is better that to hear a hundred reports”


• We lead people but manage businesses.

• We must continuously monitor the performances of those under our responsibility and train, coach or reward whatever appropriate.

• We are committed to being hands-on leaders.

• We insist that our organisational strategy is the most important of all strategies, being the pillar on which the successful implementation of all other strategies are dependents and hence must follow the criteria of:

— the leadership must be in direct contact with the operational units for fast decision making;

— whenever possible, we must combine jobs which on one hand makes the jobs more inte- resting and educational, and on the other hand free colleagues for developing our businesses;

— all organisations must be transparent without any dual reporting; and

— the job responsibility must be supported by a matching job authority.

• We demand a tight and timely follow-up in all delegated matters.

• We demand attention to detail-by everybody, which the leaders themselves continuously must be demonstrating.

• And-we demand the highest possible hygienic and cleaning standards throughout all our plants, compound, warehouses, including distributors’ warehouses to ensure consistently high-quality levels.

6. Teamwork


“The magnanimous man helps others to realise their good ambitions”


• We recognise that only thoroughly excellent teamwork can we win and succeed.

• We believe in the multiplying effects and power of excellent teamwork.

• We recognise the contributions of others and strive for mutual success and reward.

• We realise that no team is stronger that its weakest links, which requires us to be continuously focused on improving the weak links.

• Our most important strategy is that of having many Micro & Macro Approach high performing teams throughout all our operations.

7. Persistence — The Will To Win


“To do good is the greatest joy”


• We are committed to success and aspire to be the best in each of our fields at all times.

• We recognise that our customers are the reason for our existence, and constantly strive to fulfil their needs and desire and exceed their expectations.

• There are only two reasons why most projects fail not starting and not finishing.

• We must be cost and market share driven and follow the 21180 Approach.

• We consider — the will to win — superior to the competence of being able to.

• Winners have the staying power and persistence to follow through on their own goals regardless of circumstances or what people say: Think or do.

• Winners have “The Will to Win”.

8. Positive Attitude


“He makes things easier for himself who makes things easier for others”


• We must never accept CANNOT as an answer.

• We look at how things can be done, not why they CANNOT be done.

• We look for ways over, around or through obstacles.

• There is actually little difference between ordinary people and leaders — the little differ- ence is attitude — the big difference is whether the attitude is positive or negative.

• Effective leaders have a positive attitude.

• We ask for the solutions to be presented — not the problems.

• Leaders turn problems into opportunities; by treating problems as challenges and chal- lenges as opportunities to excel, applying effective and cost efficient solutions in the process.

9. Hardworking


“He who can endure the greatest hardship will be the greatest among men”


• We must constantly employ the most productive use of our time and resources in the pursuit of our objectives.

• We believe in perseverance and hard work in realising our goals.

• We must all work hard in a highly disciplined mariner.

10. Friendly And Fair But Firm


“Friendship has its places, but accounts must be kept”


• We must act objectively at all times arid endeavour to be diligent in alt our undertakings.

• We will not hesitate to reward good efforts and positive contributions and condemn weak performances, company politics and glory hunting.

• We offer attractive and competitive remuneration for our workforce and high commensurate with efforts and results.

• We must be equitable in whatever we do.

11. Competence


“Battles are won by those who know their enemy as well as themselves”


• To succeed, we need to work with realistic objectives and strategies that incorporate the capabilities and corporate culture of our operations. The success of our plans and strategies is entirely dependent on the quality of implementation in which attention to important details is mandatory.

• We are committed to quality, service, high productivity and cost efficiency in all our activities.

• Our minimum requirements are a return of two times the best bank lending interest rate calculated on the equity with a minimum net return per year of 15%.

12. Partnership


“The plan of one man may be faulty — that of two will be better”


• We believe in the synergy and mutuality of partnership and recognise that its success depends on our contribution as partners.

• Any partnership must be on a win-win basis, in which the sum of one plus one should always add up to more than two.

• Whenever legitimate and relevant issues that bring about industry development come up, we must work in a constructive and friendly manner with the relevant parties.


The presidency of AAMO is currently held by the MIM. AAMO website at the www.aamo.net.