Be passionate, have a can-do attitude
This week, SunBiz gets the thoughts and views of Aspiro Sdn Bhd CEO Lee Teck Seng
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I believe having the right attitude and being bold in grabbing opportunities have taken me to where I am today. As a child from a working-class family, I didn’t have the luxury of having many choices in life. More often than not, I was only given one shot and, with that, I know I have to do it right.
Having said that, I’ve been privileged to have great mentors who were willing to take a bet on me and provide meaningful opportunities for growth.
What traits do you look for in your talent or how do you decide who is right for a job?
You know someone is a great hire when they consistently demonstrate a hunger to learn and a thirst for knowledge. If the candidate is unable to cite any personal or professional development he/she has done of late, it is definitely a red flag. Those who are really passionate about what they do, spend extra time to better their skills and develop their knowledge.
The genuinely enthusiastic will have a spark in their eyes when responding. These candidates may demonstrate that they are the expert in their field; however, they also need to be em-pathetic listeners and demonstrate good problem solving skills.
How do you think the industry you are in will evolve in the future?
New technology adoption in shared services industry continues to grow rapidly. At Aspiro, we use robotic process automation, which handles structured data, to cut costs, boost productivity and increase accuracy. The question now, is how next-level technology can complement existing robotic process automation to automate processes across a more diverse range of tasks.
As a shared services provider, we constantly assess the way we think and work, and consider how we can improve the quality, speed, robust-ness to fulfil the evolving needs of our customers. Our move towards a stronger technological presence is an essential part of our efforts to enhance our customers’ experience during their journey with us.
What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?
Be passionate at what you do. Passion fuels the drive required to be successful. You have to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing and must have a “can-do” attitude. There will be long days and nights, and at some points along the way your business will consume you.
Some of the tasks performed today may not reap immediate benefits, but the skills and experiences will be very valuable for long-term career purposes.
We all know about the industrial revolution, are we in for a techno-logical revolution? Your thoughts.
We are in a technological revolution with new technologies being innovated and adopted rapidly. As a shared services provider, it is im-portant for us to continuously identify technologies for opportunities that we can leverage to create new services for our cus-tomers, to elevate our service quality or to transform our operations to be more competitive.
Furthermore, our customers will likely be adopting new technologies more rapidly than before, and we will have to be able to response swiftly so as to continue to stay relevant to our customers.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional life?
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors who provided me with growth opportunities. These mentors have not only taught me about what is important, both personally and professionally; they have also strengthened my coaching and leadership skills by working with individuals from different back-grounds and with different personality types.
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
I aspire to build Aspiro to be a world-class shared services provider by offering excellent service quality and efficiency to our customers through skilled people, technology and digitised processes.
Best piece of advice you ever received on your career.
Listen, as in really listen and under-stand, most people listen with the intent to respond.
Most admired business leader? Why?
I admire Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric. He’s a visionary, and leads the company to great business results. He embraced the culture of talent development which had groomed many great people in the company over the years.
How do you stay abreast of issues affecting your industry?
To help stay on the ball with industry challenges, opportunities and trends, I make time to read various materials and network with associates in the industry.
If you could have an hour with any thought leader in the world, who would it be and why?
I’d love to hear from somebody like the late Steve Jobs. He had an uncanny ability to know what a con-sumer wanted before the con-sumer knew they wanted it. I would love to pick his brain and see how he went about doing that.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced? And what did you learn from it?
The challenge of setting up a shared services company in Malaysia in a short period of time. The key lessons are to hire a team of experience local experts to work with, collaborate with the right business partners, and to be realistic in both short term and long term scope of work.
What man-made innovation confounds you? Why?
Microchip, the brain to every electrical component you see today. Without microchips, the everyday conveniences of modern life like computers, internet and anything involving digital technology, or even something as simple as the calculator – would be the stuff of science fiction. Its invention was a key stage in the development of wondrous technological advances including rockets and airplanes.
Malaysia’s greatest brand.
I’d say Petronas. Its products have become a household name, which can even be found in the most remote corners of the country.
A must-read for every business owner/manager is …
Good to Great by Jim Collins.
How do you expect policies on climate change to impact businesses in the future?
Sustainability and climate change is perceived as the biggest challenge for the modern world’s businesses. There is an urgent need to embrace a more holistic view of value beyond the financials.
In Aspiro, we leverage on technological tools such as robotic process automation, digital manage-ment and IT security monitoring to reduce printing so as to create a better living environment.
What are the top three factors you would attribute your success to?
0 High energy – Firm in convictions with vision on how to lead people to excellence.
0 Continuous learning – Hunger to learn and thirst for knowledge.
0 Humble – Commit to working quietly and allowing your success to do the talking.