Off-the-cuff with Adobe’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia
In Leaders Talk HR, HRM Magazine Asia sits down with C-suite movers and shakers to talk HR and leadership.
Don’t forget to check out our main feature interview with Adobe’s V.R. Srivatsan, here.
Leading from the front
How would you describe your leadership style?
I think my style is broadly to drive the business through my competencies. The first thing is to have the right competencies to lead.
The second aspect I would say is my communication skills.
This is very important, especially in an organisation like Adobe, where we are fundamentally dealing with people. It’s important to communicate to customers about our needs, what results we need to drive for, and to make sure that everybody is focused on that to take the organisation to the next level.
The third aspect is the sense of urgency. In order to take the business to the next level, you’ve got to have a sense of urgency and push for something more.
We are the leaders in the area of digital transformation. We have to continually set the pace. We don’t have other people to look up to.
Therefore, dissatisfaction with the status quo is important to drive better results and higher performance from employees.
How would your employees describe you?
People have said I’m open-minded. I feel I’m pretty open, approachable and easy to talk to.
People have also said that I’m fair and consistent.
I think they would also say that I’m results-oriented; we’re not here to run a community club, we’re here to run a business.
What’s your top tip for leaders?
For me, it’s to focus on both the customer and the employee experience.
With growing expectations and today’s instant gratifications, if you don’t take care of your customers, you could lose them.
More importantly, just as you’re focused on delivering the best experience to your customers externally, you have to be focused on delivering the best experience for your employees internally.
The employee experience is the foundation that can drive you towards delivering the best customer experience in turn.
What’s your biggest regret?
That’s a tough one.
If I were to look at it professionally, it’s probably not having been an entrepreneur.
I have kids who are growing up and when I ask them what they want to do, it seems like nobody wants to work these days. Everyone wants to become an entrepreneur.
There are times when I’ve said, “Maybe I should have done that.”
The beauty is that the thing that attracted me to Adobe and the role I’m enjoying here is that the company does have a very empowering spirit.
Within the context of Southeast Asia, I am empowered to do what I need to do to bring the business to the next level. That kind of fills a little bit of the gap.
Of course, It’s still not too late for me to be an entrepreneur!
ONE on ONE
I love: Challenges
I dislike: Being late on deadlines
My inspiration is: My family
My biggest weakness is: Working hard, but sometimes forgetting to play hard!
In five years’ time, I’d like to be: Doing something entrepreneurial – it’s never too late!
Favourite hobby: Watching all kinds of sports, especially cricket.
What advice would you give to your younger self: Take risks, pick something and make it great.
What’s the best decision you ever made: Moving from the US to Singapore to further my career over 20 years ago.
What’s one thing people do not know about you: I am a decent cook though I have not done much cooking in recent times.
Favourite quote: “Success doesn’t just come and find you, you have to go out and get it”
For more Asia-Pacific CEOs and business leaders discussing their HR challenges, head to HRM Asia’s dedicated Leaders Talk HR microsite.