Monday, May 11, 2009

MELBOURNE Leadership Series - points noted


The Speakers

Mr Chin Yoong Ngok (BEng 1980)

Head of Industrial Services Division, Wah Seong Corporation Berhad

An experienced leader and businessman across different industries, Mr Chin is the Head of Industrial Services Division, Wah Seong Corporation Berhad, a publicly listed international oil & gas service group with the largest part of its revenue earned overseas. Mr Chin manages a portfolio of five companies involved in the manufacture and supply of building materials and agro-based engineering equipment. He also worked as Managing Director of Mega First Corporation Berhad (1997 to 2003), where he has been acknowledged as guiding the group through a range of restructures and acquisitions.

Mr Seelan Singham (MBA 1992)

Managing Partner, Malaysia, McKinsey & Company

Since joining McKinsey & Company 15 years ago, Mr Singham has served clients in Asia, Australia, Europe and America in the financial services and telecommunications sectors. Mr Singham is an experienced practitioner in performance management, leadership development, and performance transformation. He has worked with several of Malaysia's leading government-linked companies, developing a blueprint to help them significantly improve performance and their contribution to the country's development.

Ms Chi Oi Meng (BCom 1979)

Executive Chairperson, Hing Yiap Group

Ms Chi rose through the ranks of Hing Yiap Group to become the Managing Director then Executive Deputy Chairman, before assuming her current position of Executive Chairperson in 2004. She worked towards listing of the Company in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1997. Hing Yiap Group is involved in the manufacturing and retailing of lifestyle apparels in Malaysia such as Antioni, Bontton, Diesel, Union Bay and Bumcity. Ms Chi recently steered the company’s expansion into F&B, acquiring the Theobroma Chocolate Lounge franchise.

Key Themes

Economic/Financial Crisis

- There is varied impact of the crisis depending on location

- The impact depends on several factors including

o Export orientation

o Strength of government

o Political stability

o Stimulus package

o Level of leverage (debt)

- Observations/Trends

o Some nations like China and Abu Dhabi are seeing this crisis as an opportunity – buy-up vulnerable companies, positioning of the economy once there is recovery

o Noticeable increase in demand from consulting work for governments in areas of re-structuring and stimulus packages

- There is likelihood of a re-emergence of the Asia as an economic tiger/power

o This can only be done with a world-class player frame of mind

o Malaysia tends to be more forgiving – this cannot continue, we have to be more serious (refer to Leadership)


- Strong leadership plays a crucial role in order for Malaysia to grab the opportunities and take advantage of the current economic situation and become a Global Player

- To become a Global Player leaders in Malaysia need to benchmark themselves on a global basis

- We can no longer afford to be in our comfort zones and a change of culture must take place

Individual Development

- The current crisis presents maximum learning opportunities for young executives

o They have the highest risk appetite – no major loans, not attached/married, nor major commitments

o One of the speaker recommended to do what you had always wanted to do, stick with it and learn from it

o Another speaker said that some may not have that kind of risk appetite and therefore recommended that young executives can maximize their learning experience by:

§ multi-tasking – do other types of roles not trained for

§ start at lower-levels (over qualified for e.g. be a waiter in a F&B fast food-chain – but learn the system and understand the people issues)

Trends of the younger demographics

- It has been noticed that the trend on what appeals most to young executives is that they want to feel that they are making a difference. This generation stands out by having a passion to link to the bigger picture.

- The ability to multi-task is prominent, but be cautious of not losing focus.

Advice for the younger generation

- Recently many business leaders have ‘fallen’ because of focus on personal wealth. Young executives should do the following:

o Focus on the long-term – money is not the main goal – knowledge/learning/experience is

o Ask yourself when facing the question of whether I’m getting enough pay: what are you contributing to the organisation to deserve such remuneration?

o Perhaps due to the ‘instant’ culture prevalent in current times a lot of focus has been on the Short-Term. Need to also have focus on the Long-Term goals.

- Build entrepreneurship skills:

o Have a big dream or an idea

o Try to build something

o Go for it

o Be resilient

o Hence, learn from the experience

- Build strategic thinking:

o Need to be confident of knowledge on the ground

o There is no short-cut: therefore be patient

o Need to have the ability to ask the right questions – especially as one grows older or more senior in rank

- Be open to new opportunities and new people

o Getting involved with new opportunities (inside and outside work) – you will be surprised that the loop closes eventually in unexpected ways

o Ask questions – looking at new possibilities/opportunities (scanning/prospecting)

o Get to know new people – especially those who are absolutely different from you – build networks and relationships

o Follow your instinct, after considering all the facts – be open to results

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