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Shadow a CEO Programme Oct 2015: Driving candidates forward

Published on Thursday, 29 Oct 2015
Patrick Lee, CEO North Asia and China, Inchcape Motor Services (Photo: Inchcape)

Young workers have a competitive edge as they are in touch with technology and can leverage this skill to their advantage, believes Patrick Lee, CEO for North Asia and China of car distributor and retailer Inchcape. “Data transfer becomes quicker and constant communication creates great value to the company.” 

Lee will take part in the Shadow a CEO Programme, which includes orientation, attending key meetings, visits to showrooms and the service centre and career planning. He is keen to get some feedback on his company’s operations from those shadowing him. “Towards the end of the programme, students will present their findings, insights and recommendations to us,” he says. 
He says his shadows will benefit by getting an opportunity to explore interesting careers and meet experienced automotive experts. They will also be able to link textbook knowledge and skills acquired in class and apply them directly to the real world of work.

Their experience may also lead to an internship. “We expect to find bright candidates from the programme.”

As a CEO, Lee stresses the importance of effective leadership and motivation as essential skills for anyone looking to work their way to the top of the corporate ladder. He cites Captain Kirk and Mr Spock from Star Trek as strong, if very different, leaders.

In human behavioural theory, he says, predictable actions and personality traits can be sorted into four distinct categories: dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance, or DISC. Spock is a “C” leader, while Kirk is a “D”.

As type C, Spock works conscientiously within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy. He prioritises accuracy, maintains stability and challenges assumptions.
Kirk, on the other hand, places emphasis on shaping the future by overcoming opposition to accomplish results. He is motivated by winning, competition and success. He also prioritises accepting challenges, taking action and achieving immediate results.

Lee believes the leadership styles of both Kirk and Spock have a place at Inchcape. “We encourage our people to develop different leadership styles for different situations to drive the business. I prioritise sharing ideas and reaching a consensus, both of which can be highly valuable to effective teamwork.” 

While Lee didn’t have a mentor, he is confident that shadowing senior executives and mentorship programmes are extremely worthwhile when it comes to carving out a career path and long-term professional development.

“A mentor can provide advice and support and share their own experience based on their unique developmental needs. They can also identify resources to help the mentee enhance personal development and career growth, and expand their network of contacts to help them develop into a capable manager.”

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