Global Leaders Forum Recap: The Mindfood Club

Now Shenzhen   |   August 31, 2022
The Mindfood Club

Yesterday, August 27th, The Mindfood Club held the Global Leaders Forum at Ritz Carlton in Shenzhen. 6 speakers from 6 different backgrounds and industries shared their personal and professional experiences with all the attendees.

In the first panel, “Leading teams in South China”, we listened to Dr Harley Seyedin, President of Allelon Energy Systems and President of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China; Dr Li Wang, Principal Investigator at Agricultural Genomics Institute Shenzhen; and Tony Xu, General Manager of Iberchem China, share their food for thought about:

What does leadership mean?

The speakers mentioned what leadership means to them, different types of leadership and how it is adapted depending on the situation. The attendees were given a printed paper wheel describing constructive, passive and aggressive styles.

How do you make difficult decisions? What factors determine your decision-making?

There is no such thing as “difficult” decisions, only risky ones, and there are proactive ways to reduce those risks. They asked the audience how many people in the audience run their own business or company, and said: the courage to take that step to go from having a regular income every month to jumping into uncertainty, that was already the biggest challenge. It was mentioned that many times people will not be happy with your decisions, but if it is based on actual data and you trust this is the right direction, then just be firm about it, regardless of what others say. Time will prove you right.

How do you create a company culture that brings the best out of teams?

As the story in the opening said, when leaders create an environment of trust and psychological safety, this is when people can have the energy and passion for innovation and creativity. If your employees are all the time worried about being criticised or fired, then nobody will move a finger.

What advice would you give to professionals here?

Take action, take risks, and get out there. You are not in the wrong industry, you just have to adapt to the new environment. There is still demand for your product or service, but the conditions and economic factors highly affect the way to reach your target client, I cannot tell you what to do, you have to figure out what is the best way to achieve what you have in mind.

As leaders, hire people who are smarter than you and let them do their work, of course, they must have a direction, a strategy, and the same vision, however, once they are clear about what they can achieve, just let them do what they are best at.

Let them innovate, and think of ideas for bringing the best out of people.

Also, embrace mistakes, we all make mistakes, the only ones who don´t make mistakes are those who don´t even try. And last but not least, treat yourself well.

Then, there was a 20-minute session of questions from the audience, where the attendees got the opportunity to ask the speakers directly how they think, do or manage certain aspects of their businesses and life.

After the coffee break, we had the chance to listen to the second panel´s speakers: Sebastian Hardt, Commercial Director at BOSCH Shenzhen; Susie Liu, Brand Director at ROBLOX China; and Raissa Mendes, Senior Marketing Manager at DJI. It was a great way to listen to 3 minds from the Commercial, Branding and Marketing perspectives of 3 global brands, Bosch, Roblox and DJI, providing very practical and useful advice to all attendees.

How do global brands embrace recent changes?

First, there was an interactive dialogue about dinosaurs and agility.

“It is not the strongest or biggest that survives, but the one that adapts the best to the changing environment”.

Same with companies, those that can adapt to the conditions are the ones that can make the most of the difficult situations where others just can´t survive.

The speakers mentioned the difference between big and small companies that can make decisions fast and implement these changes in times that requires agility. With proper decision-making, even in harsh environments like pandemics, some companies can even thrive. However, stay alert and prepare for the unexpected. We might have a mild downturn of a year or so, but it´s also quite possible that we might see a decade of slow growth. Companies need to think about how to make actual solutions for people´s challenges and communicate honestly. While refraining from empty phrases like “we are in this together”.

What advice would you give to SMEs that are more vulnerable to changes?

On the bright side of things, SMEs adapt more quickly to change. Anyone who worked at a big company knows how difficult it is to change its course. SMEs should use their agility to their advantage.

Same as making new friends, while creating your brand identity ask yourself questions “Who are we?”, “What do we look like?”, “How do we act?”, Who do we associate with?”

Another piece of advice is to hire people with a growth mindset, interpersonal skills, and high EQ. After you hire them, let them do their work, and treat them well to avoid high turnover and loss of internal know-how.

What discipline practices are you implementing to create high-performing teams?

Good management should not be simply result-oriented, it should be focused on how to achieve results efficiently. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than its parts”, while we identify the dynamics of most effective teams, it is LESS about who is in the team, but HOW the team works together. Create a psychologically safe space within your work environment. Facilitate the culture of dialogue, asking questions and offering new ideas. As a manager, the goal should be to direct people as coaches and to be a facilitator. Empower your employees with some autonomy. Ask them “What the next steps should be?” instead of giving them ready answers.

How do you encourage creative development within the company?

Create a budget for failure. Assign a very small portion of your marketing budget to try new things. Ask your team to submit ideas for trial. The worst that could happen is that you might lose that part of the budget, but there is also a chance that one of the ideas might actually take off and give the company a new direction.

The company culture creates cultivates cross-collaboration across teams from all over the world and in-dependency, which means we really encourage to give new ideas, to try new concepts – everything is possible.

After a 20-minute Q&A session, everyone moved to the venue to enjoy the food and drinks, and most importantly, get to know each other, keep asking key questions, and feed themselves with food for thought.

The guests enjoyed one hour of networking asking questions to speakers and meeting other participants. Our goal is not only to facilitate executive education but also to create an intellectual space to exchange ideas and resources, get to know other brilliant minds, meet other entrepreneurs and companies, and meet our sponsors:

SZMuri is a private company offering worldwide project support designed to your needs and goals, driven by the Kaizen principle. With the theoretical and practical support of SZMuri, companies can provide highly individualized services and triple the industry average. Services include Kaizen coaching, quality assurance, tooling manufacturer, plastic injection, product audits, inspections, export support, legal advice etc. Contact: Mr Christian Gassner, +86 13600154663

Settled in 2013 in Zhuhai, Pinto food is a Sino-Italian Company importing and distributing Italian fine food and wine. The mission at Pinto is to seek and deliver first-class Italian food through constantly testing quality and sourcing authentic goods to ensure we are providing the most genuine products to the Chinese Market. Pinto serves HORECA and the retail market. Contact: [email protected]

CW is one of the main Consulting Firms that advises international companies with business strategy, implementation, legal, tax, accounting, auditing and HR.

Juntos 聚多社 is a Projects Platform located in Guangzhou to develop international businesses and a source of resources related to the Chinese market. It is as well a space for events, a trading hub and a Business Club. Contact [email protected]

Live the Powerful Minds Experience to transform your personal and professional life. Powerful Mind Academy 辅导营 is a disruptive learning methodology to empower your mind, master your emotions, increase performance and take control of your life. Contact [email protected]

Melitta® is one of the largest providers of premium-quality coffee and the leading brand of coffee filters.

Radiant with grace and sophistication at every turn, The Ritz-Carlton Shenzhen exudes luxury with carefully crafted amenities and experiences

Organized by

Faustyna Gawryluk is the BD Manager at Pinto, with six years of experience in the F&B industry; Consultant at the World Bank; and Director of The Mindfood Club Shenzhen. Her previous work experience includes KPMG, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Mexican Embassy in Poland. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and holds an M.A. degree in Economics.

Owen Wang is the Director of Cole & Wright Consulting Firm, advising international companies with business in China; Founder of The Mindfood Club and host of The Mindfood Podcast. He is a certified Coach, holds an MBA from IESIDE Business School, and graduated from the University of Manchester, University of Vigo and Zhejiang University.

Team of volunteers

Chris, Dora, Elena, Fiona, Kalyn, Mindy for supporting this project and helping throughout the whole event.

The Mindfood Club is an Intellectual Space in South China for personal and professional development, a community where influential minds share career experiences and life lessons to shape the leaders of tomorrow.