The “14 Blades” of “POSSIBILITY” in our organisation


The signage of mission accomplished.....

I have not been to the cinema for a very long time, but today I strayed into one…. and without my many kids! I must say, the special effects and screen play were greatly magnified over the huge cinema’s screen, which is overall superb. I must also say, watching “14 Blades” was not a real choice but because that’s the only show available at 2:00pm.

This is one movie filled with merciless killings with blood spilling all over the place, and is centered around an Imperial Guard called Qing Loong (Donnie Yen) and a beautiful lady called Qiao Hua (Vicki Zhou). Qing Loong was betrayed by his own brothers of JingYiWei (The Emperor’s Secret Army) with Qiao Hua somehow caught in between the usual love – romance prerequisite and the action plot. The 14 blades that are always kept within Qing Loong’s tool-of-trade box consist of 8 blades for torture, 5 for killing and the last one for suicide if  mission ultimately failed. He did ultimately used all of them, meaning he committed suicide, taking his final enemy along with him.

I am not a movie-man, so I would leave the commentary to the movie-expert bloggers. What I wanted to emphasise here is really about “dream”, “hope” and “possibility” that were being portrayed in the movie.

What I would specifically focus here is all about life being difficult but things can surely change if we have a dream to take us one step ahead all the time just like a Qiao Hua, a simple peasant girl…..


Vicki.... is one lovely lady! Falling in love is never a problem.

In the movie, Vicki Zhou portrayed the girl who wish for love and romance with a hope that some white knight would sweep her off her feet. Qing Loong (Donnie Yen) just merely wanted to accomplish his mission, and would do anything, including killing his brothers and family in the process. Finally, he did show passion for Qiao Hua (Vicki Zhou) amidst all the gruesome killings…… exposing the softer sides of mankind – love and romance. After Qing Loong’s demise, the bead with the small bell, which was earlier given by Qing Loong to Qiao Hua was to become her aspiration, dream and hope….. and therefore all possibilities, including ringing the bell and Qing Loong would come riding through like white knight in her dream! I guess, you have to see and feel the downsides of life in the Ming Dynasty’s settings in order to appreciate those “possibilities” and “hopes” of the ordinary girl!

History is always a great teacher for us, but dream and hope are the creators of our future….. The latter brings in possibilities and therefore make us more reactive to changes and new settings. But in today’s insurance organisation (from the Malaysian context) this is not being portrayed, we continue to operate conventionally or rather on status quo basis and best practice is never to rock the boat…. Perhaps this mindset is also fueled by over-regulatory or regulations that tend to stiffle the innovativeness and creativity of the human sides of our industry.  While statutory regulation is definitely suffocating and constipating, there are still much that the industry can do within those statutory regulatory frameworks….., i.e. recreating an efficient and effective industry self-regulations and rethinking individual organisational strategies. We cannot continue to live within the realm of some legacy…. ……perhaps as an example, I would like to think that our No Claims Discount (NCD) format is already some old thing that needed some urgent reinventing!

You may say, some companies did grow by a double digit last year, but as a whole, the non-life industry merely achieved a small growth rate of a single digit percentage, and this had been the trend since the last couple of years. Thailand is likely to overtake us in term of gross written premium in 2010 judging from the growth trend over the last three years and Indonesia is now not too far behind, and all these were despite our non-life industry is still  operating dominantly on a tariff platform! We have to discard the legacy that our non-life insurance industry is the largest in term of premium underwritten in Asean and is lucrative with its pool of risks residing within a low catastrophe-prone location.

From individual organisational perspectives, things may not be looking rosy for most smaller companies as well as large companies plying predominantly on motor portfolio.  Many are still struggling to find a more viable footing operating within the RBC framework and at the same time striving towards improving its competitive advantage.


History teaches us, but what's lie within is all about "POSSIBILITIES"


The next phase is the expectation of more capital injections to rule the order of the day….. It is going to be either we REINVENT, INNOVATE and RECREATE from the standpoint of self-regulatory as well as from our internal organisation, or we shall move closer towards the brink of disintegration – like the closing chapters for Panglobal and Tahan.

For foreign-dominant insurers, it may not be overly difficult to go through the next phase or chapter given their usually larger available cash hoard. However, this may not be a reality for the local boys – once they faced financial difficulties, they may find it an uphill task getting strategic buyers or investors – perhaps this is one such “sticky” set-back for an industry where its reserving policy can never be too transparent…..! With so many insurers falling by the way around this region, investors are now quite skeptical about the quantum of technical reserves made available in the financial statements every year. With the implementation of the RBC, actuarial assumptions made at a 75% confidence level are not auguring well for the industry either – at least that’s what we should be seeing in portfolios concerning Health and Medical, Construction (or Erection) All Risks’ and Motor Act in the next couple of years time.

Perhaps I should now make my way back to the movie per say of “desperation, dream, focus, hope and possibilities” before I started drifting into another path….. I believe every organisation should start re-examining itself all over again – ask a question of “Are we still basking in our past glory?” or “Are we still working on strategies based on those glories that had took us to where we are today? Can we go wrong or be blame for sticking to our CORE COMPETENCY?

Successes of the yesteryears can never ensure the next level of success in today’s ever-changing world! Those would be considered history, perhaps merely as a great teacher but never a builder for what’s to come next! As LEADERS of our organisation, we should re-examine our pool of human resources, how many of them are PROBLEMS IDENTIFIERS or POSSIBILITY THINKERS? In order to take our organisation further, we must ensure we have enough “Possibility” workers and lesser of “Problems” workers – this way, we would be able to give our organisation a greater and faster facelift, reinventing an organisation that dare to dream and hope despite operating in a very tight situation! We must give our workforce a platform to dream and hope, so as to fuel them towards working hard till getting to the next success level.

I must say, this is no conventional wisdom, but it is all about breaking out from the “just-surviving” zone, even if the boat is going to be rocked so violently! Just have to think and do like what simple Qiao Hua had done….  “….. this is no conventional wisdom, ……. Just about thinking simple and working with all possibilities!”

Perhaps if we as the LEADERS within our organisation failed in this aspect, please think of the 14 Baldes in the manner…. as I shall reiterate here….

THE 14 BLADES – which one would you rather use?
The first 8 blades are for torture

The next 5 blades are for killing

The last blade is for SUICIDE!

Maybe I should end with John Maxwell’s law of the lid”, which explains that every person or organisation has a lid or ceiling. Once a person reaches his limit and hits the ceiling, there can be no more growth. Companies that hit the lid often look back to the good ole days instead pushing the barriers of the lid. Only growth leaders can have that will power to lift the lid of their organisations with a compelling vision of the future.

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5 comments for “The “14 Blades” of “POSSIBILITY” in our organisation

  1. February 18, 2010 at 12:17

    Yep, history is a great teacher especially if you failed in all aspects of life, then suicide may be the only solution. But with dreams, comes hope and all possibilities, thus ensuring many generations of success!

  2. lby
    February 18, 2010 at 11:18

    from ur summary of 14 blades – it is highly unlikely that i’ll watch the movie. i abhor violence, more so if the hero advocates it. You shd watch Little Big Soldier. Although i’m no fan of Jackie Chan, movie critics seem to agree with the moral of the story – war is destructive and kills the innocent.

    Yes, i believe we learn from the past but history is so subjective these days. The fact is history can be changed! Once it’s changed, it has become a lie, and, this maybe hackneyed,but if you tell a lie often enough, it will become the truth. It’s so darn intimidating! However, all is not lost. If one reads broadly and deeply the truth will unveil.

    My friend, the lid is made of glass. It can be shattered. 🙂

    • February 18, 2010 at 13:40

      They said, history is our teacher, so if history was to be changed, then it would teach us a different thing. People’s thoughts would be skewed just as historical facts were twisted…. the ultimate result, would be a skewed nation, so screwed up as those screwed historical facts. So skewingly screwed, the nation can only dream like a screwed up with hopes but no possibilities in sight.

      The idea is to remove the lid that has created those ceiling effects on an organisation…. even if we would need to shatter it altogether!

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