“I never dreamed there could be so much happiness, when I was the ugly duckling [translated by Jean Hersholt].”
(The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Andersen)

The shortest connection between 2 points is a straight line. Lives for most, do not evolve in that fashion. The Beautiful Life we are blessed with, and ravel in -more often than not- takes a course peppered with starts and stops. Sometimes, with more zigs and zags than we imagine ourselves to be capable of handling.

With the Big Four accounting practice, I entered the first of many more houses of flying daggers. It was a debut entry coloured by naiveté of a man-child who was weaned on a staple of brimming familial love in a close-knit household. So, into the hurly-burly world of corporate politics I was thrust, defenceless.

In a (Now,) laughable reflection of my virgin encounter with corporate politics, I remember a late partner of the Big Four practice who humorously counselled me to “incorporate the reading of more dirty books” to counter my then, bookish demeanour. She, among a few select others, took personal interest in me and my career. May her soul be so blessed!

As much as these columns are catharsis for me, they are shared also in the hope of enlightening first-timers into both corporate and business worlds. Be it politics in the literal sense, politics of ladder-climbing (corporate) or ladder-owning (business); mastering the rules of play is essential. Mastery helps us to break the rules without compromising personal values of faith and/or humanity.

By age 34, it appeared my lessons in people relations were almost complete. By the grace of God, I was already on the board and committees of a leading financial group which today has prudential investment and trading limits on its single asset class portfolio of not less than USD4 billion.

Alas, the lesson in people relations is never-ending; as you will uncover in reading my story of discovery which involved delving into my family’s merchant lineage past. In following my climber’s transition into ladder-ownership, it is my hope that you would cut short your time of doing “the waddle of the bumble duck”; and start your “flight of swans” earlier.

Share and follow me on my adventure.

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