Your life or career is a journey, not a destination

IN this week’s Success: The Insight Story column, Malaysian Semiconductor Industry Association president Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai (pic) shares his views with SunBiz.

HOW has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

In school, I started with scouting and as I was rather curious, I also participated in challenging activities such as camping, hitch hiking, trekking and organising camp fires. As a head librarian, I learnt organising skills and how to deal with people.

It was important for me to have the courage to try. In addition, I tried hitch hiking in both Malaysia as well as the UK. I even worked during the summer holidays in the UK and the US.

How do you think the industry you are in will evolve in the future?

Semiconductor is the new oil, so to speak, and is the foundation for current as well as future technology and applications that will transform or even revolutionise the way we learn, live, work and play.

I expect new technologies and applications will continue to be invented, innovated or enhanced in every industry such as manufacturing, life sciences, medical devices, avionics, agritech, construction, transport, logistics, security and so on.

What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?

Dare to learn, dare to fail and dare to win.

Adopt the 5 Cs:

Change – is a constant. Embrace change and adapt to it.

Competitiveness – Be hungry for success, don’t be complacent. Challenge the status quo. Do it with grit.

Communication – communicate as if your life depends on it. Effective communication makes a big difference.

Character – Conduct business with ethics and integrity.

Choice – Everyone has a choice. Balance it with mind and heart.

Last, but not least - Family support is important.

We all know about the industrial revolution, are we in for a technological revolution? Your thoughts.

Yes, it will happen. From i4.0 to i5.0; 4G to 5G, IOT, AI and so on. It is just a matter of time. Some scientists and engineers will discover some new technologies that can revolutionise the world.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional life?

It’s good to have a mentor as we all have blind spots and sometimes we do not realise that we have a problem until someone points it out.

We need to learn to see different perspectives because we work in a global world and need to manage people or customers from different cultures. It will also help one to see the issues clearer and we can then take corrective actions as well as make improvements early.

Best piece of advice you ever received in your career.

Life or career is not a destination, it is more like a journey.

You have to be clear with what the company’s visions or missions are and their expectations of you and your organisation. Focus on developing your capabilities and performance. Don’t compare yourself with others. Learn how to manage your boss. Learn to communicate effectively. Inspire and motivate your team to achieve audacious goals. Positive attitudes and mindset. Be willing to shift your paradigm to adapt and embrace changes.

Most-admired business leader? Why?

Andy Grove, because he was a visionary. He was decisive, bold and had high expectations. He taught me that only the paranoid survives.

Jack Welch because he transformed General Electric from a light bulb and appliances company to a multinational company that is involved in financial services and industrial products.

It is important to focus, be consistent and follow up. You need to look for competitive advantage, people empowerment and focus on performance as well as openness to new ideas.

How do you stay abreast of issues affecting your industry?

By going to the ground, talking to other leaders and customers as well as other stakeholders. I read and listen to the news and pay attention to the trends of technology. We need to put Malaysia on the world map, in regards to technology design and development because we need to make people realise that there is a Malaysian Dream.

If you could have an hour with any thought leader in the world, whom would it be and why?

President Xi Jinping and Bill Gates because they have transformed the world.

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