Know the busi­ness in and out

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

What do you want to ac­com­plish in the next five years? My mis­sion now would be do­ing what­ever it takes to el­e­vate the Man­ulife Malaysia brand. At the mo­ment, we are on the eighth rank among 13 other in­dus­try play­ers. In the next five years, my goal would be to carry out ini­tia­tives that would boost the Man­ulife brand and bring it to the top tier.

Best piece of ad­vice you ever got on your ca­reer? Through­out my ca­reer, there are two very im­por­tant lessons that I have learnt and I would very much like to pass them down. When I was an agency man­ager, I was told by a wise man that in­surance is not a prod­uct to be sold. In­stead, in­surance is a prod­uct that helps peo­ple get what they want and need in life.

Of­ten times, peo­ple at dif­fer­ent stages have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties but in­evitably, ev­ery­one wants to have a bet­ter life, bet­ter re­turns in in­vest­ment, pro­tec­tion, med­i­cal sup­port, re­tire­ment sav­ings etc. In­surance makes that hap­pen for them. In­ter­est­ingly, by look­ing at the job from that per­spec­tive makes the job even more mean­ing­ful.

The sec­ond ad­vice is on tak­ing risks. Twenty-two years ago, I had a huge de­ci­sion to make, which is mov­ing from Wash­ing­ton DC to Sin­ga­pore. That was a tough call but I thought about tak­ing the chance; tak­ing the risk and what would hap­pen should I miss the op­por­tu­nity. I knew I would re­gret it (if I missed the op­por­tu­nity) and the thought of re­gret­ting it was far worse than the thought of tak­ing the risk. I took the risk and I have no re­grets to­day.

Most-ad­mired busi­ness leader? Why? Steve Jobs. I ad­mire his pas­sion for get­ting into what cus­tomers needed. Hav­ing said that, he took into con­sid­er­a­tion the fact that cus­tomers don’t truly un­der­stand or know what they ac­tu­ally need or want. His creativ­ity and de­tail-ori­ented skills have brought change in the way peo­ple live their lives. Not for­get­ting the qual­ity in the way busi­ness is con­ducted and the legacy that he has left.

Blue or red ocean strat­egy? Or nei­ther? Why? Blue ocean. I would like to bring in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to the needs of con­sumers. We have to do things dif­fer­ently, we have to take chances on how we con­duct our busi­ness or ac­quire and in­ter­act with con­sumers, espe­cially com­pany like ours, which is smaller than other mar­ket play­ers.

Prac­tis­ing the blue ocean strat­egy takes us one step above the oth­ers and is an im­por­tant strat­egy that will help el­e­vate our brand.

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