Knowledge Center: Event

Asia Pacific

Shakespeare's Lessons on Leadership Event Series

November 14, 2017

Through the ages, great enterprises have consistently emerged from brilliant ideas and ingenuity. But whether a business stands the tests of time—or fades into obscurity—depends on the character of its leaders and their ability to transform workplace culture.

A recent publication, Shakespeare’s Lessons on Leadership: How to Change Hearts & Minds, explores the connections between the disruption that roiled Shakespeare’s time, and featured so prominently in his work, with their modern equivalents in the C-suite and the boardroom.

To bring this concept to life, James Evans, associate director of Bell Shakespeare, and Heidrick & Struggles, are hosting a series of events in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mumbai, and Singapore, taking senior leaders back to the age of Shakespeare to look at the role leaders play in determining company culture.

Shanghai event

On November 13, 40 CEOs and senior business leaders attended a thought-provoking evening at InterContinental Shanghai, exploring modern business leadership concepts through the prism of four Shakespeare plays—Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, Henry V and The Tempest. Then, in Elizabethan England, as now, culture and the ability of leaders to manage change were essential to the survival and prosperity of organizations—and continue to be today.

Hong Kong event

Senior corporate leaders in Hong Kong welcomed the return of James Evans, associate director of Bell Shakespeare, and David Pumphrey, partner emeritus at Heidrick & Struggles, in the intimate setting of House of Siren for another event in our award-winning Shakespeare series. The ability of incumbents to thrive in this new era of disruption and innovation depends on the character of their leaders and their ability to transform workplace culture. Looking to history can inform the way ahead.

Mumbai event

For the first time, the Shakespeare’s Lessons on Leadership event series went to India, attracting forty senior leaders to the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai. Leaders were excited to explore the Bard’s deep understanding of human behavior and how it enabled him to use his playwright’s pen to reflect the unrest in his country. Presenters displayed how Shakespeare highlighted the failures of kings and the cultures they created and curated, and attendees embraced this blending of history and cultural elements to reflect current leadership and team strategies.

Tokyo event

The Shakespeare event in Tokyo captivated the minds of thirty senior business leaders. With the help of simultaneous translation, this bilingual event linked stories and speeches from Shakespeare’s plays with new insights about the path to change though four management principles: purposeful leadership, personal change, board engagement, and forced sustainability.

Singapore event

Modern change-management insights align with a key Shakespearean theme which can apply to a court or to a corporation: strong or weak leadership is directly connected with the success or failure of an organization’s culture . Held at Gallery10, the first experimental digital exhibition hall at Singapore’s National Museum, Heidrick & Struggles’ Singapore event saw more than 50 senior regional business leaders delve into the leadership lessons from Shakespeare’s plays and reflect on the culture-shaping imperative in building a sustainable organization. The event marked the culmination of a two-week Asia tour.