How would others describe you as a person and as a professional?
Innovative, being able to think out of the box for issues that they are facing. I’m able to find the root cause of the matter and handle them in creative ways, especially when it comes to problem solving. Throughout my career, there were interesting applications of what I observe in daily life and put to good use for problem-solving and am adept at using the right tools for the right issue.
For example, in a previous role, I received a box of polymer keypads that flew in from China. However, they were not properly packed nor placed in trays. They were instead bundled up in plastic bags so when the customer received them, the pieces were bent out of shape. So the customer stormed in and he was shouting in anger, demanding we get new items repacked and reshipped. I had only recently assumed a new role in the company then and was asked to talk to him. Instead of getting angry at being yelled at, I focused on the problem, picking up nuggets of information he said that would help salvage the situation.
At that time, I recalled observing what I saw at McDonalds’ where a counter staff used a makeshift tray to hold four ice cream cones. It gave me an idea on how to fix the issue at hand. I had rolled up a few sheets of A4 paper together and fitted them through the hole in the centre of 8-9 polymeric keypads, understanding the type of material used to make the goods and its characteristics. I then showed the customer that the rolled-up paper had taken on the circumference of the hole and it will not crumble with weight, where I proceeded to put a thick book at the top. Due to the time constraints and lack of resources, I proposed to repack the parts with my idea and when he returned a few days later to collect the parts, he was satisfied with the outcome.
What essential skill do you possess that you believe will add value to companies?
I think the most important skill is actually a quality that I possess: An adaptable and open mind. Predominantly, I deal with people from different cultural background and ways of thinking to achieve the same goal. What I can do best is be very open when I talk to people. When I encounter a situation of different opinions, I’m able to bridge these opinions and get them together. I think it requires a certain kind of mindset to be able to do that without any judgement. At the same time, it also helps to achieve a higher EQ in dealing with others.
What is your greatest achievement and why?
I was quite fortunate to have touched and built on more than 22 processes in the Southeast Asian region for small and medium businesses. That was a great achievement to me because I didn’t know that I was able to do that. I didn’t know I was able to handle projects when it was first given to me, which eventually led to more process setups. At that time, my clients knew very well that I was a newbie and I did not have a mentor to guide me through. I had to learn fast and independently, thinking of the next steps ahead.
I also learnt use various tools like Microsoft Office to build a visual timeline to manage my projects. At the same time, I was very lucky that because I was very young in the Lean Six Sigma application so at that point in time when I had to handle projects and set up processes within a short timeframe, my clients allowed me to use some of the methodologies to practice things like value stream mapping and other essential tools. In that way, I found growth within myself. My work also previously required me to travel regularly and it actually gave me a strong sense of discipline in managing my schedules.