Dr John’s Leads

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You Can Be Great: an Exclusive Interview with Dr John

Congrats on your new book, Unleashing the Greatness in You: The Power of Self-Leadership. What’s your motivation for writing it?

I believe that every parent wants their child to be great. Every employer wants their employees to be great ones—and everyone who starts work wants to do a great job.

I also truly believe everyone can be great! Based on my own personal journey, my children’s aspirations, my consulting work with many different industries and organizations in many countries as well as my executive coaching work, I have seen people from different educational backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities embark on the journey to greatness, and achieve it. This has been most gratifying for me.

Greatness is not just a dream. It is achievable.

Yes, anyone can  be great—especially you!


What are the challenges you faced in writing this book?

This is perhaps one of the most difficult books I have ever written. My first challenge was to define what exactly I meant by greatness—unless you know where you are going, you will be lost in the jungle of misplaced values and misguided role-models.

Second, I didn’t want it to be a do-it-yourself book. I wanted it to be a book to inspire people, and encourage them to look deep into themselves to realize their own potential. How could I write in such a way that it motivated and encouraged people to act, but not simply be another self-help book? In the end, I filled it with stories of inspiring individuals and how they achieved greatness.

Third, I wanted to deal with real issues and challenges, which have derailed many promising people’s ambitions. I wanted to candidly confront the hard issues like greed, sex, morality—issues that we seldom talk about.

Finally, I wanted to encourage those who have failed to recover. I wanted to help them recover from their failures and mistakes, and rise up to greatness again.


Why is this book so important? Why should people buy it?

I’ve put in everything I’ve seen from decades of studying, learning from and meeting truly great people. But just reading it will do nothing for you—unless you read and digest the content, learn what will derail you, work on ways to become great, recover from your failures and practice self-leadership.

I hope and pray that you will begin (and finish) your journey to greatness. Here’s to your success!

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One of the Saddest Days of My Life

June 14, 2017 is one of the saddest days of my life.

That was the day a six-page statement by Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister, Dr Lee Wei Ling, was released. In it, the younger children of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, revealed that they had lost their trust in their brother, present PM Lee Hsien Loong, and his leadership.

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Emotionally-Engaged Relationship: Co-operation, Not Competition (Part 4)

What truly gives meaning to life, and what reduces it to a rat race of chasing after the next achievement? (This is Part Four of a series; you can read Parts OneTwo and Three at the links.)

There’s nothing wrong with being a high achiever. Where things do go wrong is when we draw all our satisfaction and happiness from those achievers, rather than the benefit of others.

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The Single Key to Passion, Pride and Productivity – The DNA Mandate (Part 3)

A solitary human being is an impossibility. (Desmond Tutu)


In 2007, the comedic director Tom Shadyac (the man behind classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty) suffered near-fatal head injuries when he fell off his bicycle on a mountain trip. Even after he left the hospital, he continued to suffer from terrible headaches and tinnitus, and become hyper-sensitive to the slightest light and noise. The symptoms tormented him and almost drove him to suicide. Read more

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The Single Key to Passion, Pride and Productivity – The Neurobiology Mandate (Part 2)

The Neurobiology Mandate: The Key to Restoring Passion, Pride and Productivity (Part 2)


“We are hard-wired for relationships.”

In my earlier posts, I shared that the key to restoring passion, pride and productivity to the workplace is emotional engagement. One of its pillars is the communication mandate, which I wrote about here.

My field of study is interpersonal dynamics. That hasn’t stopped my family from having more than its share of conflict! I had to see a psychiatrist to help me settle issues with my children.

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The Single Key to Passion, Pride and Productivity – Emotional Engagement

If I had to distill everything I’ve learnt and taught over the years into one principle, it would be this: The key to restoring passion, pride and productivity to the workplace is emotional engagement. It’s not about ignoring hard objectives and the need for good performance, but becoming emotionally engaged with your staff paves the way for a stronger bond with them and motivate them to make good performance possible. Read more

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What is Self-Leadership?


GREAT leadership is a cultivated art. It begins with self- leadership. Because at the center of leadership is the person who, more than anything else makes the difference. Leadership success or failure begins with how the leader approaches self-leadership. Read more