Posted by: Competing In A Borderless World | October 30, 2011

Norman Liu Honored with Ascend/Deloitte Inspirational Leadership Award

Henry Phillips, vice chairman of Deloitte and regional managing partner of its northeast region, introduced the winner of the 2011 Ascend/Deloitte Inspirational Leadership Award, Norman C.T. Liu. As President and CEO at GE Capital Aviation Services for 22 years, Liu has served as Corporate Champion of the GE Asian Pacific American Forum and is a member of the Committee of 100, a leading Chinese American organization.

The Ascend/Deloitte Inspirational Leadership Award honors an individual who has had a meaningful impact on accounting, finance, professional services or related profession, shown leadership in the marketplace and fostered commitment to community service.

As the concluding speaker of the Leadership Lunch, Liu said he would keep his remarks brief. He started with a thanks to Ascend, and to Deloitte. He said he was “proud to accept on behalf of the thousands of Pan-Asians at GE Capital,” and added that he becomes confident in the future “when I meet our internal Asian talent at GE Capital!”

Liu talked about leadership, noting that in school it’s “about grades and sports” while later on, at work, it’s “about developing expertise,” which was the task that defined the “first six years of my career.” But expertise accounts for only around 20 percent of leadership in the workplace. “The remaining 80 percent is connecting with, and inspiring, other people.”

Liu further explained that “leadership is not about position. Clearly it’s not about barking orders. It’s about doing what’s right for your clients and customers to succeed, and grooming new talent.” He added that “seeing your team grow is truly personally rewarding.” And, he added, “Finally, leadership is giving back to your community – and setting the right example for your kids.”

Liu said that he would “close on a point my pastor in London mentioned last week,” and noted that his pastor is “just learning to use Twitter and had only six followers. He found out Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber had 15 million followers each. But he remarked that Jesus has 2.1 billion followers each day, and Twitter wasn’t around for thousands of years!” Liu further recalled “the last Supper,” when Jesus washed the feet of his follower: “Can you imagine a CEO doing this today?” He closed by affirming that such a “servant-leader” model remains a relevant model for us all.

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