Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Helping Macau’s future leaders

Posted by Kimberly on February 27, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
February 27, 2008 (572 words)

The expansion of Macau’s economy was being held up by the few who opposed the intake of foreign labour, suggested Dr Robert Kirby, in response to a question raised by a member of his seminar’s audience yesterday.
“I think it’s a shame a small minority are preventing the growth of the economy,” he said, adding that “the government is slowly pulling off the hand brake but it will take some time.”
Dr Kirby was part of a panel of experts providing information at a seminar that focussed on the topic of “bringing out the best in people – managing human capital.”
Hosted by the Institute For Tourism Studies (IFT) and in collaboration with Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, the seminars were held at the Venetian Macao, with the seminar preceding that of Dr. Kirby’s, titled “insights regarding the Macau consumer,” and given by Dr. Dioko, a Professor and Director of Research at the IFT.
Dr Kirby’s seminar focussed on six strategies to help bring out the best in people in the workplace and the importance for an organisation t have a clear vision or mission.
Some of the strategies covered topics ranging from recruitment, retention, development and learning from others.
With regards to the first, Dr Kirby was keen to point out the adage, “ hire so you do not have to fire,” suggesting that companies needed to hire for attitude and train for skill.
With the concept of retention, he spoke of the importance of team work, pointing out the five keys to building team work within a department or organisation.
“It’s the importance of motivation, in particular, recognising and giving praise,” he said.
In terms of development, Dr Kirby pointed out that “if you want to grow an organisation, you have to train people.”
Next was the concept of learning from others and sharing examples of best practice, with Dr Kirby providing examples locally as well as from Hong Kong.
His final strategy, that of leadership, he believed was the most important, suggesting that “you can have the other five strategies in shape, but with no leadership, the other aspects will struggle.”
Having seen and experienced Macau’s growth for himself over the past ten years, Dr Kirby can now call himself a permanent resident.
“In 1998 it [Macau] was the opposite, doom and gloom and I’ve seen the transformation take place,” he said.
With a background in hospitality management, Dr Kirby considers himself to be “a hands-on guy, [who] likes to roll up my sleeves, always striving to improve services and products we provide.”
Asked how the motivator motivates himself, Dr Kirby said it was a simple matter of having to pat yourself on the back at times.
Other than that, “I get out of bed with a mission to help people and organisation grow and that’s what motivates me.”
His organisation, Kirby Leadership and Hospitality, has some of Macau’s biggest businesses as clients, including CTM, Menzies Aviation, Air Macau, Macao Water and several of the hotels such as the Venetian Macao, Mandarin Oriental and Grand Lisboa.
“I owe my success to the mistakes that I’ve made,” he said, citing UK entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, whom he considers a mentor.
“I do make mistakes but as long as I sit down and reflect on what the learning point is, one can grow,” he added.
Further information on what the company offers can be found on their website at www. kirbyleadership.com.

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