Women Of Influence by Point


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I cover the 9 influencing traits of women leaders in Asia which includes Jannie Chan (The Hour Glass), Aliza Knox (Google) and Randy Lai (McDonalds). My contribution starts from page 21 onwards.

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Women Of Influence by Point

  1. 1. Preview Issue 02 THE INFLUENCE ISSUE Feb-Apr 2011“Leaders need to say what they mean, and mean what they say.” Tan Lee Chew of HP like other female , leaders in Google, McDonald’s and KPMG are redefining leadership through influence. Find out how they are doing it.
  2. 2. Cover story: Women of InfluenceStory by Karen LeongPhotography by Zephyrgraphy N avigating the corporate tion of women on the board consistently nine successful women who have earned world these days demands outperformed companies with a lower the respect and recognition of their peers a mastery of influence pre- representation of female board members in their respective industries. Together viously unseen. Business (The Bottom Line, 2007). The Chartered with their stories of influential leadership,leaders find themselves handling a diversi- Institute of Management Accountants we took care to understand their influenc-ty of expectations and demands from vari- (CIMA) revealed that organizations with a ing style, which were qualities that helpedous stakeholders like customers, share- good mix of men and women on the board them to grow a following.holders, and employees. achieved sales revenue averaging more As a result we distilled nine influ- Today, it is influence, not rank, that de- than 10 times higher than organizations ence styles. Applicable to both men andtermines survival and success in the cor- without women in leadership (Reflections women, these influence styles are to ef-porate landscape. from Asia Pacific Leaders, 2010). fect change in their organizations and the Understanding the why and how of in- These studies are part of a growing world around them. Before we look at theirfluence in the 21st century is certainly im- body of evidence proving that influential stories, let’s explore these influence stylesportant, but they are perhaps not as inter- women are rapidly changing the dynamics that are redefining leadership:esting as who. The answer might surprise of higher-echelon leadership while dramati-you: women. cally impacting the bottom line. A study by Catalyst found that Fortune In delving further to understand these500 companies with a higher representa- women spearheading change, we spoke to1 7 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  3. 3. Cover story: Women of Influence 1. Integrity Integrity is the foundation of influence. It calls for honesty and following through on your words with actions. It can be as simple as starting a meeting on time, or it can be as complicated as lobbying different stakeholder groups in order to Tan Lee Chew achieve a promised outcome. Vice President, Technology In the duplicitous world of business, where non- Services Sales (Asia Pacific & contractual promises are easily broken in favor of Japan), Hewlett-Packard increased profit margins, integrity is paramount to building trust. Trust is the minimum prerequisite for any buy-in or collaboration. Organizations moving at the speed of trust spend less time contemplating intentions and more time being productive. Integrity, then, means that you choose to let your actions speak louder than words. 2. Candor A candid person is one characterized by his or her openness and sincerity in communicating with others. They go straight to the point and avoid fluff. Candor begets candor. An open environment quicklyexposes deep-seated concerns and uncovers motives. Thetruth may hurt, but its fruits are sweet: the organizationbenefits from stronger collaboration and relationships amongstaff. At the negotiation table, the quality of candor influences people to divulge their personal objectives and doubts. With both parties quickly primed for a win-win situation, an effective discussion will result. Practice candor. Shorten the process by laying down your cards early. 3. Faith Having faith in people means looking past their failures, focusing instead on their potential. What faith translates to is an environment of positivity: in speech, body language and actions. Rather than feeling defeated by setbacks, the people around you will be able to channel their energies on improving their performance. Knowing that you are on their side will also encourage them to put aside differences to work towards a solution together. Team members can achieve the objectives through collaborative teamwork. Faith can unite people and have them move mountains. 18 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  4. 4. Cover story: Women of Influence Randy Lai Corinna Lim Managing Director, Executive Director, McDonald’s Singapore AWARE Singapore 4. Likeability As a result, you are seen as a mentor, ing paycheck that gives their loved ones a People are likeable when they are able worthy of respect and appreciation for comfortable life.to build near-instant rapport with others, years to come. When you seek meaning in what you do,even when they have different personali- It seems even in the business world, you develop a keen sense of what moti-ties, interests and motivations. the adage holds true. Give and you shall vates you. This also enhances your ability When you are liked, others are more receive. to uncover other people’s inclinations. Yourwilling to do what they can to maintain 6. Champion sense of conviction will inspire others tothat rapport. They will be more receptive A champion galvanizes the people connect with their own beliefs, creatingto your opinions and decisions. around her to bring about change. Her alignment and buy-in to your proposition. In meetings, likeability helps with con- untiring devotion to a cause draws like- Find significance in what you do. Then,vincing and garnering support more easily, minded people who are prepared to make what you do will bear significance too.especially when you are proposing signifi- a difference. 8. Servicecant change. Dissent from others will be Having a cause endows you with a The concept of “servant as leaders” ormore easily managed, as your supporters charm that makes you irresistible to those servant leadership as initially propagated bywill gladly speak in your defense. who identify with your cause. As you Robert K. Greenleaf, is a transformational Be liked, if you prefer moving things grow and sustain your followers, you help approach where the business leaders wouldforward with little resistance. your cause gain the momentum it needs give priority to the needs of others, serving 5. Nurturing to create real change. them instead of leading them in the classi- A nurturer’s instinct is to nourish On the other hand, you must realize cal sense.growth. Business leaders who nurture that you will also draw opposition from Servant leaders see themselves asseek to promote the growth and develop- those who don’t appreciate your beliefs. humble stewards of the organization’sment of the people around them. Don’t let that deter you: focus instead on resources. If you want to inspire gratitude With an increasing number of orga- helping the people who are uniting behind in people and create a culture of humblenizations recognizing that well-managed the cause. service in your organization, consider thehuman resource is a strategic competi- Champion a cause and sustain your model of servant leadership. You will seetive advantage, nurturers are vital to the following; as a collective, there’s nothing people going to great lengths to aid youorganization as they are able to develop you can’t achieve. rather than hamper your objectives.and retain talent. 7. Meaning Choose to serve rather than ignore the As a nurturer, you set the agenda by People thrive when they see value needs of your stakeholders. Grateful sup-determining the value systems of the tal- in what they do. Some may find mean- porters will follow.ent under their charge. Plans can then be ing from helping the community around 9. Individualizationdrawn to provide opportunities in training, them. Others may find it by creating a Individualization is the fascination andand career progression while considering brand that makes people smile, and oth- genuine interest in the personalities, inter-work-life balance. ers may find their worth from a satisfy- ests and desires of other people, no matter1 9 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  5. 5. Cover story: Women of InfluenceDr Dawn Dekle Aliza KnoxDean, Global BBA Program, S P Jain Managing Director, OnlineCenter of Management Sales and Operations, JAPAC, Google Asia Pacificwhere they come from. It is a powerfulinfluence style that sets the stage fordeep interpersonal engagement. Seeing people as individuals givesyou an acute sense of their motivations.Rather than wait for the annual perfor-mance review, you’ll be able to sense aperson’s inclinations toward assignmentsand work. This means you are alwayshelping your team be at their productiveand personal best. Hence, by understanding the individu-als, you can influence the entire organiza-tion.About our writerKaren is an influential communicationsexpert who helps corporate executivesadvance into positions of leadership and A final wordinfluence. Highly regarded for her trans- The female leaders are known to be exem-formational programs across Asia, she has plary of the influence styles that they have built theircoached CEOs, managers and profession- careers on. They have made their mark because of theirals on connecting effectively and building willingness to give themselves to drawing and sustaining a fol-strategic relationships. Karen is the direc- lowing of people who find personal fulfillment in their leadership.tor of The Leadership Company, and is a The archaic model of secretive, patriarchal and hierarchical leadership,much sought-after speaker for women’s which was a common sight in boardrooms and executive committees inconferences and fortune 500 corporate Asia, is dead. Chauvinistic authority alone no longer serves the interestswomen’s initiatives. of the organization or the people in it. Arguably, it never has. As you read theFor more information on keynote topics following nine stories of how women are reshaping the leadership space, it willor training programs, visit make you wonder what took us so long to realize it.www.karenleong.com or emailkaren@karenleong.com
  6. 6. Cover story: Women of InfluenceTan Lee ChewVice President, Technology Services Sales(Asia Pacific & Japan), Hewlett-Packard L ee Chew is never one to subordinates but also that of her fellow Advice Box compromise. On her values, business peers. Positive reviews from that is. “Throughout my sales those who know her have contributed sig- nificantly to Lee Chew’s stellar reputation. Say what youcareer, one of the things that I feel hasbeen very important in shaping how I “I realized, first of all as a business person and as a manager, you need to mean, meando business is staying true to a core setof values. Lee Chew explains. “That is ” establish your credibility, she says, “and ” once you’ve established your credibility, what you say.something I would not compromise on. ” it’s not so much your gender. ” In her opinion, you must have moral Trust Lee Chew to do the right thing.integrity as a leader. After all, withoutcredibility and trust, you cannot commandrespect. Lee Chew recalls the time when “I realized, first of all,she was caught in a conflicting situationwhere she was asked to hide the truth as a business personfrom a client. The incident would have and as a manager, youbeen kept under wraps but to Lee Chew,it was an inexcusable compromise of her need to establish yourvalues. She then decided to leave her credibility and oncejob. “For me, it was to have a clear con-science and take that step of respecting you’ve establishedmy customer and that business relation- your credibility, it’sship, she explains. ” To Lee Chew, a person “governed by not so much yourintegrity” will have a positive belief and gender.”attitude towards people and the clientsthat they work with, which will in turngive them a lot of strength to work aroundthe system. Highly influenced by aninformal mentor who had taught her thevalues of being upfront without the fluffand to stand up for things that are right,Lee Chew lives by the mantra ‘say whatyou mean and mean what you say’ for allthings big and small. With such a firm stand on her values,it’s no wonder that Lee Chew thrived for Influence Integrityalmost two decades in the HP cultureknown to have a stringent sense of busi-ness conduct. Lee Chew’s long careerwith HP could only mean one thing: being Styleable to find her place in a company thatsupports her value system has helped hertremendously in gaining trust from theground and enhancing her influence at thesame time. Known to be a kind and just leader,Lee Chew is not afraid to speak up for herpeople and act upon what is right. Thatnot only earns the trust and respect of her2 1 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  7. 7. Cover story: Women of Influence Dato’ Dr Jannie Chan Siew Lee Co-Founder/Executive Vice Chairman, The Hour Glass “Don’t allow any ego, politics, power play or greed in your organization. Set up your systems to ensure that no one gets caught up in that.” you are willing to work with One was a team of mostly women profes- me on a win-win basis. Why sionals while the other was mostly made not win for you, win for me, up of street-smart men. Because of their and win for the customers?” differences, each side inevitably had their Ultimately, Jannie be- share of complaints about the other. lieves in the empowerment Instead of dealing with people privately of her people. Her candid and risk misunderstandings born from style helps her in opening fabricated stories or half-truths, Jannie communication channels sat her team members down to speak with her employees. She their minds openly in front of all parties. “I propagates the philosophy think the greatest challenge to me today of mentoring, coaching and is getting people to confront the truth and training her employees in not be personal, but I believe confronta- order to empower them. tion is the only way you can have resolu- She explains her philoso- tion, Jannie’s says, sharing her candid ” phy, “I’m only a foundation opinion on such messy office politics. H builder – the base. ” Hate office politics? Then start your aving risen through the “Train your day at work by creating a positive environ- ranks from humble staff. Give them ment built on trust and open communica- salesgirl in her in- Influence self-respect, tion, not hidden agendas. Candor laws’ family watch self-esteembusiness to co-founding the re- Style and a positivenowned boutique watch retailer self-imageThe Hour Glass with her hus- so that theyband, Jannie is the quintessence can growof a lifetime of straight-speaking within theand objectivity. “If I make a deci- organization.”sion, Jannie explains, “it’s based ” However, Advice Boxon right and wrong because it is even though shebased on facts and figures. All you knoware your assumptions. I’m a scientist and relies on open com- munication, she has learnt Hidden agendasthat is where I work from. ” to discern personal motivations from bare will only breed Her frank and straightforward com-munication style might not suit all. Yet for facts. Flushing out personal agendas has become her special forte. “Don’t allow mistrust. Build anwhom it does (like her top tier managers), any ego, politics, power play or greed in environment basedthey remain loyal to her for as long as 20to 30 years. your organization; set up your systems to ensure that no one gets caught up in on trust and open Jannie does not take to beating that,’ Jannie advises from her experience. communicationaround the bush. “I will always ask –what is your wish list? If you tell me your Back when she was starting out in The Hour Glass, Jannie had two sales instead.wish list, I can give you what you want if teams with contrasting sales techniques. 22 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  8. 8. Cover story: Women of Influence Dr Dawn Dekle Dean, Global BBA Program, S P Jain Center of Management “I start out every single meeting with Influence the mindset that Faith Style at the end of this meeting, I’m going to have a good relationship with these people.” N ot many people would call out that it is just as important to see other straighter and they’re more themselves, overcoming cancer as being people’s capabilities: this is because it is they’re more confident. ” the best part of their lives but easy to dismiss them if we merely judge Having faith in people, however, doesn’tfor Dawn, the glass is always half full. them based on their current performance. mean that Dawn will suffer fools gladly,Battling cancer has not only brought her “We don’t see the best in them, so if especially people who inflate their back-closer to her husband, it has also helped they’ve disappointed us, we think of them grounds, accomplishments or contributions.her to appreciate life. After all she already as disappointing people, Dawn says. ” “I cannot stand it if you exaggerate becausehas a happy family and successful career. “I start out every single meeting with it means you don’t think you can stand onThere really is little for Dawn to regret. the mindset that at the end of this meet- your own merits, Dawn says with stern dis- ” Such buoyant optimism could only ing, I’m going to have a good relationship approval. “To me that is a red flag. I’ve gotcome from a woman who sees the best with these people, she went on to say. ” a good bullshit detector so I can pick up onin everyone and everything. Dawn likens “If anything happens or somebody says it and that disappoints me. Don’t say thingsit to a kitten looking into a mirror and something to offend you, you already that aren’t true because that’s a very shortseeing a lion instead. “It’s about seeing know the long term goal is to have a good term strategy. ”your potential, she explains her analogy. ” relationship, so you tend to discount the In other words, don’t pretend to be“When you look in the mirror, do you see offense. ” someone you’re not. Have faith in your innerwho you are now or who you’re going to Dawn’s advice is to allow other people lion.become?” to fulfill their potential by looking past While it is vital to see the potential in their mistakes. And that actually works,yourself in order to reach it, Dawn points according to Dawn. “People do stand up Advice Box See the best in others and they will often rise to the occasion.2 3 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  9. 9. Cover story: Women of InfluenceRandy Lai Advice Box The key toManaging Director, McDonald’s Singapore being liked is to genuinely I like people “I care for my f you ever gopeople and Influence to McDonald’s on a Saturday, first. Style LikeabilityI show my you might run into Randy Lai, thesupport to first female Managing let her title get in the way. She interactedthem. I expect Director ever ap- with her subordinates as a person first pointed to McDonald’smy department Singapore. and boss second. She managed to build such a strong rapport with her fellowheads to do the “I’m not going to crew members that they gave her a teary check their service, Randy ”same thing for their explains. “I sincerely want to farewell when her stint was over. They also asked her to visit them wheneversubordinates. go to every restaurant to say hi to she could - a promise which Randy has the restaurant managers and every kept to date. employee. The first few times no- “I see myself as a very optimistic body knew who I am but at least person and very open, Randy describes ” they gave me a big smile. That herself. “I would appreciate feedback is the most rewarding part. ” rather than you saying nice words and not Being the unassuming lady telling me the truth. ” that she is, you may never “Therefore, in this company, I bring in guess that she holds the title a new leadership style which is fun, firm of Managing Director when and fair, she says. “I care for my people ” you first meet her. When Randy and I show my support to them. I expect went for her fast track train- my department heads to do the same ing in 2009 to work as a crew thing for their subordinates. ” member in one of McDonald’s In Randy’s opinion, an influential lead- Hong Kong branches, the er must learn to “channel their ego away main crew didn’t from themselves and put it into the larger even realize her goal of building a better company” Hence . true identity until in order to do that, one must get to know a month later. others with empathy and respect; even Even so, those on the bottom rung. Randy didn’t Randy recalls how a cleaning lady from her office went up to her to share some insights about the company after only two months. Honest feedback is only possible because Randy cares about her people, enough to open channels with the ground rather than depend only on reports from her managers. Asking people out for lunch dates at their favorite restaurant is also Randy’s way of reaching out to her subordinates in less formal settings. She finds that they tend to open up more as opposed to being in a boardroom. So have you asked your co-workers out for lunch yet? 24 feb-a pr 2011 p oint feb -a
  10. 10. Cover story: Women of InfluenceAng Fung FungPartner, KPMG “I think I’d prob- ably drive them mad, says Ang ” Fung Fung. “The otherShe is imagining herself as astay-at-home mother to her two thing that I findchildren ages 12 and 9. I was “ motivates a lotstarting to analyze my personal-ity: do I add more value if I stay of people is theat home?” desire to learn As you probably can tell,Fung Fung is not exactly your and developarchetype of a woman strug- themselves, so Igling to fulfill traditional societalexpectations. “I believe in try to share myadding value whereby I need to experience togive my children the best sup-port but the best support may coach them andnot be me or my husband, ” help them progressFung Fung explains her Influence along the way.” Nurturingunique mindset. “We justhave different strengths, Stylethat’s how we workthings out. In her case, ”it is to provide for themental aspect of her like an overseas posting. The same goes for employees whosechildren’s upbringing. motivations may not be as career-driven. Fung Fung recalls one of By constantly drawing her longtime female managers who wanted to focus more on heron her strengths and that of family. It was a decision that Fung Fung respects so she arrangedher family members Fung Fung for the manager to come in on a part-time basis instead. Whenhas effectively created a team that keeps the fire at home burn- Fung Fung’s team later needed resources urgently, this very man-ing. Much as what she has done for professional services firm ager came up to her and offered additional help.KPMG as well. After all, you can only give the best value if you “I think you need to take care of people and hopefully theyknow what your strengths are. will reciprocate, Fung Fung says of this story. “Anyway just be- ” At KPMG, Fung Fung always believes that individuals gener- lieve that they want to do good. ”ally want to do well in their jobs; a person who truly has the Looks like what goes around does come around.desire to succeed will “tend to do things better. In order to ”motivate such people to reach greater heights, Fung Fung hasto understand the motivations that drive her people as well as Advice Boxtheir strengths. And that’s where she comes into the picture:add value and hopefully bring her people to the destination thatthey desire. “The other thing that I find motivates a lot of people Groom your performers tois the desire to learn and develop themselves, Fung Fung adds, ” their fullest potential, whether“so I try to share my experience to coach them and help themprogress along the way. In Fung Fung’s opinion, it doesn’t matter ” they stay or leave, they willif a particular employee is going to be staying long-term with the become your biggest ally.company. As long as they prove to be capable, Fung Fung willgladly push for value-adding opportunities for her employees,2 5 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  11. 11. Cover story: Women of Influence Corinna Lim Executive Director, AWARE Singapore (Association of Women for Action and Research) “I’m pro-paternitybecause I think it will helpmen to get more involved inthe family.” “W omen are not always women’s best friends. ” Corinna is com-menting on the issue of how female lead-ers are normally viewed by their femalesubordinates. Even so, one needonly look at what Corinna hasaccomplished so far for Influence Championwomen in dire need toknow that she is not onlya woman’s best friend, Stylebut also a woman’schampion. They say a championbegets a champion. InCorinna’s case, the seedsof championship were sownwhen she helped Dr KanwaljitSoin draft the Family Violence Billduring a domestic violence campaignin 1995. Back then, the bill was shot No, I’m not. I’m pro-paternity because I dents were found to be mostly in favor ofdown by the male-dominated Parliament think it will help men to get more involved making paternity leave compulsory. Whilebecause it was deemed to be anti-family. in the family. Actually men live in a man- the public verdict is still divided over theFortunately it generated strong attention box. That man-box is even more restric- issue of paternity leave, it’s safe to sayand publicity, which eventually led to the tive than the woman-box. It’s very tight that Corinna has already started the ballamendment of the Women’s Charter and stressful. You cannot cry. You must rolling towards family balance judging byto provide protection against domestic be strong and the one who must earn the the huge interest she has generated inviolence. money. If you earn less money than your the media and people. Today, Corinna is the executive direc- wife, you’re a failure.” Corinna may not be Joan of Arc intor of AWARE, Singapore’s gender equal- “I don’t like to see these boxes, ” shining armor, but she is a champion allity advocacy group. She has fully blos- Corinna goes on to explain, “Our organi- the same.somed into a full-fledged champion and zation’s work is to open up these boxes,catalyst behind women’s empowerment whether you’re a man or a woman. When Advice Boxin Singapore. Aside from providing free fathers go back into the house, the mostlegal counseling to those in need, Corinnaalso calls attention to important issues gains can be made for women. ” To illustrate the viability of such a Championsuch as paternity leave in order to helpmen play a bigger part in their families. scheme, Corinna oversaw a survey that was commissioned by AWARE to for what you “I’m fighting for paternity leaverights, she reveals, “So am I pro man? ” interview more than 1,000 parents with children aged seven and below. Respon- believe in. 26 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  12. 12. Cover story: Women of Influence Cheok Mei-Ing Head, Corporate Consulting Services, ipac Financial Planning Singapore Private LimitedAdvice Box There is no greater motivation than finding meaning in what you do and helping others discover theirs. E veryone is a salesperson. And, “Women are quite involved in household easy but Mei-Ing sincerely believes that according to Mei-Ing, the key expenses but when it comes to major de- she is making a difference to people’s to successfully ‘sell’ some- cisions, it is often the males in the family lives. When all is said and done, Mei-Ing thing – be it a product to your who make complex decisions. And when asserts that “you need to believe in whatcustomers, your company to your clients the husband passes on, the wife has no you’re selling” in order to make a realor an idea to your bosses – is to show idea where the documents are, where the impact and influence people.people what’s in it for them. She believes investments are. Sometimes the husbandthat it is vital to communicate this well in doesn’t have insurance so they are left inorder to make something happen. the lurch.” “When I can show that “When I can show that something Helping companies to realize the ben-benefits you, you may be more inclined efits of practising gender balance is also something benefits you, youto actually do what I suggest to you, ” an extension of Mei-Ing’s WMB work, may be more inclined toexplains Mei-Ing. “For example, I need to but what’s in it for organizations? Mei-Ingget an advisor to do a talk at a company. If explains, “there’s a slew of evidence and actually do what I suggest toI say to them ‘I need a speaker’, they will studies that show how gender balance at you.”look like ‘Why should I waste my time?’ leadership levels have a positive impactIf they can see that they’re representing on organizations. It’s also quite taxing onipac and they gain some clients from this, men to shoulder all the responsibilities Influence Meaningthey will be more inclined to do it. ” of looking after the family and being the As the co-founder of Women MeanBusiness (WMB), a network specially cre- breadwinner. When you can encourage the society to accept that women can not Styleated for female empowerment, Mei-Ing is only work but rise through the ranks, youall about showing women ‘what’s in it’ for share the load with the men. ”them. “Financial education for us is very Convincing companies to adoptimportant and even more important we gender balance and helping women toeducate women in it, Mei-Ing asserts. ” step out of traditional stereotypes is not2 7 feb-a pr 2011 p oint
  13. 13. Cover story: Women of InfluenceMdm Service Influence StyleHalimah YacobDeputy Secretary General, NTUC and Memberof Parliament for Jurong Group RepresentationConstituency (GRC) “W e must be a servant first will be constantly judged by what you say. To be before we become a leader, adequately prepared for whatever forum she repre- and for many, that is the most sents, Halimah makes sure she does her home- difficult thing to do, because work. “We may be a small country, she explains. ” the ego gets in the way, Halimah says. For her, being ” “But our impact does need not be constrained by a leader means service before self. “My two main our size. Halimah believes that the same principle ” portfolios in NTUC cover women and legal matters. applies to women in all spheres of life. “There may Both are fulfilling because I am able to give workers, be fewer women leaders in business, politics or who are otherwise voiceless, a stronger voice, she ” social work, but we can certainly aspire to punch tells us. “And I help our women to get back to work, above our weight, says Halimah. The defining mo- ” helping to strength families. ” ment in her career came when Halimah was asked Halimah also believes in building her influ- by then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong to enter ence on a bigger goal; that is service to her politics as a Member of Parliament. organization and country. She recalls the “I realized that, as an MP you can serve more , time when Mr Lim Boon Heng, who was the people as your net is wider, Halimah says. “You ” NTUC Secretary General then, approached can also have more say in policy formulation, acting her to accept the invitation to represent as the voice of even more Singaporeans. That is a Singapore in the International Labor Move- lot more than if you’re out of Parliament.” ment, a Geneva based UN agency. At first, And Halimah is certainly making herself heard, Halimah was filled with doubts but she judging from a list that ranks MPs by the number eventually decided to take on the challenge. of questions they had raised in Parliament in the past four years. Topping the list at 180 questions, “We must be a servant first Halimah not only helps to highlight concerns from the ground, her questions also cut across different before we become a leader.” ministries. “You tell yourself, you’ve With such a lifelong dedication to the greater got to succeed, she” good, it’s no wonder that people are grateful to explains her decision. Halimah for her selfless service and see her as one “You cannot fail because of them. when you fail, it’s not only a personal failure. It’s the failure of the organization and your Advice Box country. Everyone knows you’re from True leaders are those NTUC Singapore so you cannot afford who put other people’s to fail. Then when interests above you cannot afford to fail, you begin to their own. look for areas to succeed. ” Halimah’s advice is to be aware that you 28 feb -a pr 2011 p oint feb-a
  14. 14. Cover story: Women of Influence Advice BoxAliza Knox The secret to great teams is to draw out what makes eachManaging Director, Online Sales,Google Asia Pacific individual special and unique. “I draw no mental distinction between what a secretary or what somebody above me has to offer. Aliza declares. “Everybody has something to add and ” that could be anybody from the security guard to the CEO. ” After all in her opinion, anyone can have good ideas or have really interest- ing things to say. This ability to appreciate the unique qualities in other people regardless of their rank has enabled Aliza to build strong relationships with her teams, a quality that is highly valued by Google. In fact, one of the key criteria used to screen potential candidates for Google is “Googliness” a somewhat awkwardly named characteristic , that embodies a variety of things including the ability to work well in a group. “You get a better answer when there’s a group of people working on it, says Aliza. “In- ” novative solutions emerge more often in that setting. ” How does Aliza reach out to her 200 staff spread over Asia Pacific? She does this using a variety of ways. She is “happy to connect on instant mes- senger” or over “Lunch with Aliza” where people can sign up for when she , is in town. She has one-on-ones with her managers over dinners regularly. She therefore gets to know Googlers as unique individuals first; this, in turn, helps her to share information and align them with the Google strategy more effectively. “I would say that the ability to build relationships and the interest in doing it stems from the fact that I really like other people, Aliza muses thoughtfully. ” “I’m always curious about them. It has probably helped me get along with col- leagues and find ways to work with them. I’ve sought out work environments that are more collegial because I like it and I value collaboration. It plays to my strengths because I like reaching out to other people and building bridges. ” When such bridges are in place, it’s easier to bring diverse opin- ions together to reach innovative solutions. Aliza advises that the first step is to agree on a set of facts before engaging in an open discus- sion to find the best solution. “I need to have relationships where people are willing to listen, trust each other and be open enough to discuss their view of the facts with me, Aliza says. ” When you take the initiative to connect with people regard- less of background, language or position, you build a synergistic environment where magic happens. “I draw no mental distinction Influence between what a secretary or what Style Individual somebody above me has to offer. -ization Everybody has something to add and that could be anybody from the security guard to the CEO.”2 9 feb-a pr 2011 p oint