On July 2, 2020, Co-founder of KGA Coco Kee did a fireside chat with Ken Wilcox, Emeritus Chairman of Silicon Valley Bank, and former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group.
Ken believes that culture trumps strategy. The culture within an organization is a common understanding of how to treat each other and how to treat the outside world. Culture speaks to the heart while strategy speaks to the mind. The heart rules the mind. Without a good culture strategy will lose over time.
Culture emanates from the top down. The leader must start building culture from day one.
Ken worked and lived in Shanghai for 4 years after he passed the baton to the next CEO, helping Silicon Valley Bank build its joint venture with Pudong Development Bank. His observation is that China is more of a top-down organization. People are reluctant to express their own opinions but try to figure out what the opinion of the "big boss" is. In a top-down organization, people's brainpower is not fully utilized. Ken believes China has so much economic potential once individuals are encouraged to express their authentic thoughts.