“Sometimes we forget that the simplest things in life: principles, self-awareness and thought processes, bring us to where we want to be.” This was one of the many nuggets of advice that Mr Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centres, shared with more than 30 Keppelites during the Keppel Young Leaders Dialogue on 18 August 2016.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the information technology industry, Mr Wong joined Keppel Data Centres on 18 January 2016 from BT Advise BT Global Services – where he was VP of the company’s operations across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. Prior to that, Mr Wong was with the Frontline Group, a homegrown startup that grew to be integrated into BT Global Services.
During the dialogue, Mr Wong discussed the various mental and cognitive models that have helped shape his personal and professional development over the years. He also shared several anecdotes of his own life experiences.
An episode early on in Mr Wong’s career, when he was asked to co-invest in a venture to introduce instant coffee mix to Russia, stands out in particular. He dismissed the idea at the time, thinking it was common sense that Russians would prefer the real McCoy over a processed product. Little did he realise, instant coffee mix would eventually prove to be a runaway hit among Russians due to the vast distances between urban centres, exacerbated by the harsh and long winter. The company eventually grew into one of the leading brands of instant coffee mix in Russia. “I learnt that common sense was not so common after all!” he laughed.
Mr Wong also reflected on the importance of mindfulness when making important decisions. “Your role in the organisation is only going to get more challenging as your career progresses. What counts is the ability to calm and manage yourself in a stressful environment,” he explained.
“It is important to know the difference between passion and emotions. Apply passion in your job, but don’t let it cross the line into becoming an emotion that affects you even after you leave the office,” he added.
When the going gets tough, Mr Wong shared that long runs over the weekend help him to keep refreshed for the challenges of the week ahead. “Invest in your own body. After all, you need it to carry you to a ripe old age. Find an activity that will give you back energy for the time that you invest in it,” he said.
On a parting note, Mr Wong disclosed his mantra of “HGN”, which serves as his guide to life. Smiling at the puzzled expressions in the room, he explained, “HGN stands for HP, Guinness and Nike. Their slogans, when put together, become: ‘Everything is possible. If You Believe. Just Do It.’”
Drawing from his wealth of experience, Mr Wong Wai Meng, CEO of Keppel Data Centres, shared with Keppel Young Leaders the various axioms and cognitive models which have served him well in his personal and professional development