Win without fighting? Is it possible?

by Michael Gunawan


The second day of our Art of War – International Workshop might not coming from the master of the Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but I could say he is one of the master in hotelier. 

Mr. Hanley, a former CEO of Destination Resorts and Hotels Sdn Bhd, Sunway International Hotels & Resorts, Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, and Tropicana Corporation Berhad, had managed 20 hotels operating in seven countries.

In comparison to the first day, Mr. Hanley did not share much about theory, ideology, or philosophy in this second-day session. He believes that because the room is full of CEOs, executives, and experts, it would be better to arrange the room so that the participants are more comfortable. So, in his session, he always starts by rearranging the table and chairs.

Mr. Hanley brought us a different kind of seminar, one that breaks the stereotype of “seminar” setup that we used to know; theatre seat, classroom-look-alike, or watching someone on stage then scream “Huuuu Haaaaa Huuu Haaa”. Emmm, I probably will avoid that kind of seminar.

He then presented a topic titled “Win without Fighting for Transformational Leadership Excellence,” implying that a leader does not have to win a battle by fighting.

“However, is that possible?”

Well, leadership in this era is no longer all about fighting.

As you are aware, people now have the ability to speak up and even raise awareness about mental health issues. And you don’t want to be the one who causes that, do you?


“So, what makes a good leader then?”

Mr. Hanley then goes over the true qualities of a leader word for word.

L – Listen: A leader should be conscious of hearing his people and speak slowly.

E – Engage: Be humble and get to know your employee better by participating in their event.

A – Act: A leader should act decisively and immediately, rather than later.

D – Direct: Provides clarity to your employees and instructs them based on the company vision.

E – Empower: Build trust in your team, set KPIs, but don’t forget to celebrate!

R – Respect: Start low, be sincere, and you will undoubtedly earn the respect of your team.


The entire session was full of opinions from each of the executives who attended the workshop, and I believe this is something you can’t get in a crowd seminar where not everyone is able to speak up. But that day, we learned a lot from our guests’ insights and experiences. “This is a session where we should learn from each other’s experience and perspective,” Mr. Hanley said.

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