Turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’
“What legacy do I want to leave behind?” This was something that Eng Chin pondered over for quite some time. “It took a while for me to reflect,” he said.
He concluded that “if I can help somebody, just one person, take a different and better path in his/her life, that would be satisfying”. With that realisation, he decided to go into coaching, which he feels passionately about.
A few years ago, he had the opportunity to work with a group of women in the Philippines who were aspiring to become online sellers. This involved going on Facebook Live to present themselves and their products.
“When we started, almost all of them said they were not comfortable, that they could not speak well,” said Eng Chin. He would begin with observing them, offering feedback and giving them the opportunity to lead small segments of a presentation before asking them to handle an entire session.
The results were heartwarming as they were amazing. “After a while, the women were no longer afraid of going live. And they were able to earn a better income and provide better for their families and their children,” he said. “It was about turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’.”
Fast forward to today, and the same mantra resonates with Eng Chin in his current role as Client Service Lead for Homeland Security at NCS.
Adopting an unconstrained business mindset
To be unconstrained – or “I can”- is one of the key principles he applies to building and developing talent and elevating his team to be at their very best.
“Don’t tell me that something can’t be done, or that we have never done such a thing before,” he said. “When we have ‘unconstrained’ as our day-to-day mantra, and use it to drive everything that we do, you will be surprised. The way we think and behave will be very different. Nothing is going to stop us.”
Another important principle that he wants his people to apply is to have a business mindset. “Everyone must wear the hat of a business owner. If there is no one to get directions from, no one to escalate a problem to, what will you do?”
To Eng Chin, having a business mindset means that the business must grow, must be sustainable, and must be relevant to the client. It must also be morally beyond reproach (a.k.a. whiter than white).
Emphasising this last point, Eng Chin said this is a “fundamental principle and a critical guiding principle that we all need to have as individuals and as an organisation”. And it is even more important for Homeland Security as the work they do has a direct bearing on public safety and the security of people living in Singapore.
Making NCS the employer and partner of choice
Wearing the business hat, Eng Chin would like to steer NCS to the point where, when people talk about professional services, it will be one of the top brands that come to mind, for the next generation of IT talent.
“I want NCS to become the organisation of choice for the younger generation who want to build their IT careers.”
To achieve this, a third principle comes into play - the Happiness Index. “The Happiness Index is very important to me. We must be happy serving our clients, happy to come to NCS, happy to be part of the Homeland Security team.”
One of the ways to build the Happiness Index is to encourage people to wear each other’s shoes. “If there is any unhappiness, the only way to address it is to wear the person’s shoes to appreciate better why he or she is unhappy.”
And he will also encourage his people to wear his shoes, to better understand why certain decisions are made. “Once everyone wears everyone else’s shoes, we can see the bigger picture and get better buy-in, and the team can move forward together.
Likewise, he tries to meet all the stakeholders in his client organisation to better understand their needs.
“If my client’s Happiness Index goes up, my team’s Happiness Index goes up, then it means we are doing the right thing,” he said.