Staff know her as the 'hardware with heartware'

Staff know her as the 'hardware with heartware'

THINK speed, focus on reiteration: That was the lesson Ms Janet Ang learnt in her seven-year stint in the tech field in China.

Managers must be prepared to review their strategies frequently and be ready to make improvements to get to their targets.

Ms Ang ran the personal computing business for American giant IBM and then stayed on when the firm was bought over by Chinese company Lenovo.

"Don't focus on excellence - it takes too long to get to a final good product. Instead, release several versions, get feedback, improve, release the product and repeat the process," she said at an interview last week at the IBM Technology Park in Tampines.

"Speed is important when you want to grow your business. Keep reiterating what you have to continually improve the product," said the livewire managing director of IBM Singapore, who is in her 50s but feels she is always 39.

Her observation is that the mainland Chinese always want to succeed fast while Singaporeans prefer to take it step by step to reduce failure.

"The Chinese are prepared to take short cuts, take risks. As a result, there are a lot of failures, but successes are also huge."

This is a lesson Singapore can learn because "we've thrived on high efficiency to squeeze out maximum value".

"We've to think and do faster. Of course, we must not shoot and then think. We should think, then shoot."

Singapore's emphasis on innovation to get ahead is spot-on, she said, but she warned that attitudes on innovation must change if the strategy is to succeed.

"We can't say we want innovation and then outline key milestones to be achieved in six months and high-impact results in 12 months. This sounds like a production environment on how the yield can be maximised."

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