A View from the Top - Philips Electronics
Wong Lup Wai
Philips Electronics Singapore.What are some of your personal traits which you think have led to your business success?
Honesty, integrity and doing what I say I’ll do. I think these traits have helped me build trust and relationships with colleagues and business associates which I believe is the foundation for business success. Listening and being open to new ideas are also important as it takes a team to build a business. No one can be an expert in everything. Consulting and trusting my team‘s expertise and recommendations have helped me make many well-informed decisions. Challenging myself to always try something new, to keep up with changes and learn new things are also important factors in my success. What was your most challenging business decision you’ve ever had to make?
The most challenging, and toughest, decisions are projects to improve business efficiency and operational costs as sometimes, this means a decision has to be made to move plants or operations to another location. How do you develop your personal business and leadership skills?
I sharpen my personal business and leadership skills everyday. Whenever I talk to people about the business, industry or organisational issues, there is always something new to learn. I also try something different every three to four years by taking on new roles and this helps me sharpen my skills as I’m always learning new things.
Philips also has a very structured development programme, tailored for different executive levels. I have had the opportunity to be a mentor and coach to some of the future leaders in our high potential program over the years. Even as I guide them, I also learn from them and this has helped me to fine-tune my leadership skills. I also attend executive development programs organised by Philips. How would you describe your style of leadership?
I believe in challenging my team to set higher targets and in empowering them to make decisions. I am a believer in coaching and giving timely feedback. I make it a point to meet each of my direct reports 1-on-1 regularly to discuss with them about their current projects, work challenges and their development needs or aspirations. I adapt my leadership style according to situation and the staff I am dealing with. How would you describe your company culture?
Open communications, people and customer-centric. We openly share information with all employees as we believe that everyone in Philips can work together to achieve our goals only when we all understand the company’s direction. We also place a lot of emphasis on engagement and people development. What is the one trait that you look out for in potential employees?
Philips has a global presence - it is a very diverse organisation and we value diversity. In fact, there are 33 nationalities working in Philips Singapore. So a key trait we look for in potential employees is cultural agility - the ability to understand, appreciate and manage cultural differences in communication, style, mannerisms etc and (where it makes sense) adapt style and approach to get the maximum effectiveness out of an organisation.
We also look for traits that reflect our culture and ways of working to ensure there is a good fit.
As a speaker at the 2010 Singapore Human Capital Summit, what is one challenge you see facing the Singapore workforce today?
Today, there are four different generations that companies need to manage and a challenge is how do we then build an environment that caters to the different generations without becoming overly complex. This is my topic at the Summit where I share how Philips engage a multi-generational workforce and why this is important to us.