Mobile Musings

How to be an awesome CEO 101: Randomly send your employees on holiday

This is how you become an awesome CEO. You randomly send your employees on holiday.


It’s the end of the year and some of us are still slogging at our desks when we really should be somewhere far away, just chilling. Oh yes, we all need that holiday. If you’re a Maxis employee though, you’re super lucky to have a cool CEO who knows just the thing to inspire and reward.

The road to awesome

Like me, you may have a favourite CEO, or an idol if you will. For me, there’s Apple’s Steve Jobs (not the easiest to work with, as you probably know); Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin’s Richard Branson. All in their own special way, visionary, inspirational and awesome.

So, how do you become an awesome CEO? We’re not just talking about the two-man startup, we’re talking CEO of a public-listed organization with thousands of employees.

Be. Do.

In the case of our local telco Maxis, CEO Morten Lundal, ‘awesome’ is springing little surprises and bringing positive change. Since he took the helm of the green telco, he’s made plenty of changes within the organisation. When I visited the spanking new office a couple of years ago, it wasn’t just cool for the sake of cool. It was inspiring and fun, a great place for collaboration, yet flexible for you to find your own little ‘space.’ The paper-less office set-up also has the two big guns – Morten Lundal and CTO Morten Bangsgaard not having their own rooms in the office. Walking the walk, talking the talk.

Maxis It's Not OK to be OK
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Not, it’s not.

But a swanky, cool new office isn’t just the only thing that’s changed about Maxis. Lundal has inspired “The Maxis Way” of working within the organisation, a cultural change that’s in place to simply ‘be better than better’ in all aspects. You would have seen this trickling down publicly via its mantra ‘It’s Not OK to be OK’ a while ago. The re-energised, customer-centric Maxis brand is all about unmatched customer experience and network performance.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go… What?

Floral shirt. Check. Bermuda shorts. Check. Sunnies. Check. Sunblock lotion. Check. Flip flops. Check. Passport. Check.

When the CEO asks you to come to the office and be prepared to travel for a beach holiday, I suggest you take him seriously.

A couple of days ago, Lundal made an announcement on Yammer (Maxis’ internal social media network) for all employees to pack for a beach holiday the next day (17 December). That meant dressing up in beach wear and have valid passports in hand.

I bet some may have thought it as a joke.

But a joke it certainly wasn’t. When gathered at Menara Maxis outside KLCC, there were seven boxes containing names of all Maxis employees from various regions – Menara Maxis, Central, Northern, Southern, East Coast and East Malaysia.

Maxis CEO Morten Lundal
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Shades of cool.

The crowd went wild when Morten randomly picked out winners to an all-expense paid trip for two to Bali. There were 13 lucky winners in total. Yes, just like that. Whisked away in a limo, then onward to Bali. How cool is that?

Morten had this to say about the surprise, “I think it is fun to dream and today we offered dreams to people. All Maxis people could go to Bali for three days at a luxury resort and we drew 10 names who will be going straight to the airport with their partners. Some dreams are just dreams and some come true! We will do more random surprises as we go into next year.”

So, Mr. CEO (yes, you), when was the last time you sent your staff on holiday (or sprung a surprise)? 🙂



By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.