Saturday, December 31, 2005

Singapore's Best Motivator - Malaysia's GLCs

The horrendous mis-steps by a few GLCs exemplify what is sorely lacking in our top management. We must be doing something wrong, either the incentives are not lucrative enough, or the punishment meted out is nothing to shout about, or our top people are not really that good professionally - or all of the above. This is a fair statement, I believe. Rather than cringe at the message, please do something constructive with the experience, if the ones that matter are reading this.

SIA makes good profits in their current FY, compare that to MAS. Telekom is ambling along, about 10 years behind SingTel in overseas ventures. Singapore produces ZERO number of cars, their COEs makes more money than Proton. Singapore has almost all but closed out their steel operations, one can import them, cheaper than the price set by the government in Malaysia to support the local steelmakers.

If we were to generalise, Malaysians are great dreamers, strategists... but poor executors. The MSC, brilliant, the execution could be a lot better. Why the gap? Mainly because failing is not a very big thing in Malaysian corporate world. There has always been bailouts. Your professional management career is not terminated, you still get cushy job placements elsewhere. You do not really need solid proven experience to rise to the top. Is it any wonder then that we fail so often.

In the meeting rooms of top Singapore companies, they probably don't need Stephen Covey material to motivate them. Their mantra would be "Look, if you don't want to be like the Malaysian GLCs, you better buck up". That probably will scare the be-jeezzzuss out of the kiasu Sinagporeans.

The corporate environment is not a place to make money just because you know somebody. You have to prove yourself. As long as we keep nominating top positions to priviledged people and not to capable ones, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Again, .... and again.... and again...


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