Leadership Reflections with Redza Goh

  • Source: Article
  • Article Date: 31/3/2016
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​​The Ultimate "Shortcut" to Success

The truth is, the road to success is a long and arduous one. But if ever there was a shortcut to success it would be to learn from those who have made it. Consider the time and effort we can save by adopting proven methods rather than by "trial and error".
In relation to lessons on success, we can definitely learn a thing or two from PETRONAS Group Chief Information Officer Redza Goh.

Redza shared his leadership journey with Group ICT's Future Leaders and his management team at a recent leadership engagement session at the PETRONAS Leadership Centre (PLC). He spoke with passion and conviction of his own journey as a professional and imparted years of wisdom to the next generation of leaders:

1. FOCUSED EXECUTION - Be famous for something

"You need to be famous for something in order to stand out," said Redza.

To do so, you would need a strong foundation and in-depth industry knowledge. You need to improve your core skills and be really good at something that matters to the organisation.

Relating his experience as a fresh graduate in his first job, he had deciphered a computer programme that no one knew how to break. By being the only one who knew how to do it, he became valuable to his company and stood out amongst the other employees.

 
        

2. OWN IT! – You're in charge of your career

You need to grow in your career, and you need to find a company that provides opportunities for growth.

Early on in his career, Redza had to make the difficult decision of leaving a local system integration company he was with because he felt that his career path there was limited. He seized the opportunity when multinational consultancy firm, Arthur Anderson, came knocking on his door.

That, to him, was the turning point in his career. He focused on building technical and soft skills. Redza believes that communication is one of the key skills that we need to master because it will help us sell our ideas and get our messages across clearly.

3. NURTURE TRUST – If you do well, the system will take care of you

If we do our jobs and do them well, the management will eventually take notice.

His career at Accenture took a big leap when he earned the trust of his superiors and was given the role to manage Accenture's business in Greater China. 

"It is the same today here in PETRONAS. All you need to do is to focus on your job, and do it well," he reiterated.

His advice for those in authority? Use (your power) with care. Carefully discharge your duties and eventually trust will grow; responsibility and the rewards associated with it will follow suit.

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4. RESULTS MATTER – Be fit-for-purpose

If one plan doesn't work, craft another.

It is all about making things work. When Redza was assigned to China, he inherited strategies from Accenture that didn't seem to work in that locale. Among other reasons, cultural differences and language barriers made things more difficult.

He came up with a completely new plan that was fit-for-purpose to address issues in a particular project to ensure it moved forward. Although the project would have run at a loss, Redza managed to convince his supervisor to do it anyway.

"Sometimes in life we need to adopt a strategy of losing in order to win," he said. The fit-for-purpose plan had helped the client complete the project. As a result, the client was happy and awarded many more projects to Accenture and the company was able to recuperate the earlier losses.

5. TELL ME – Managing your bosses

In an organisation, everyone has their set of deliverables. The same goes for your bosses. In order to support our bosses, we need to know what their priorities are and their preferred ways of getting things done. This requires constant communication and touch points with your bosses. Ask them to clarify their goals and expectations.

As Accenture's point of contact in China, Redza's colleagues viewed him as the gateway to the lucrative Chinese market. He still remembers how different parts of the organisation bombarded him with requests to introduce their products and services to the China market. It was impossible to meet the requests all at once. He dealt with these situations by managing his bosses' expectations to get their buy-in and prioritising the right resources for the job.

6. SHARED SUCCESS – Majority wins

When faced with a dilemma, making the call is always difficult. In a situation where there's no right or wrong, and either way someone will lose, Redza will opt for the solution that benefits the most people.

It is important to keep in mind the big picture and the end result you are trying to achieve. The n, make decisions for the greater good. Not everyone will be happy, but it is possible to meet the expectations of the majority.

After sharing his leadership insights, Redza again emphasised the importance of soft skills. One key quality of a good leader is emotional intelligence. Leaders ought to be mindful of their own emotions and that of others' to come up with a "win-win" solution for both parties.

Redza then called out some of the leadership team's individual social styles to illustrate how he needed to know each of them well in order to bring out the best in them.


Redza Goh joined PETRONAS in April 2014, as VP-Group Chief Information Officer of PETRONAS and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS ICT Sdn Bhd. Prior to this, he spent 26 years at Accenture and has held various leadership roles including Managing Director of the Resources industry group for Greater China, Southeast Asia, Australia and South Korea, and Country Managing Director for Accenture in Malaysia.