Tag Archives: Execution

For our event, Secrets of Their Success: Women in Media Tell Their Career Stories, we invited three panelists: Anne Wong, Director of Strategic Marketing at SCMP; Desiree Au, Publisher of Time Out Hong Kong and journalist and Ellana Lee, Managing Editor at CNN International Asia Pacific. Co-hosted with the FCC, Tara Joseph (FCC President – their first female pres) moderated. For more information on them, please view our previous blog here.

The hashtag for the event is #wmnstories.

The event is exciting for us, from the minute we walks in. “It’s a sexy crowd”, comments Au and another audience member says that since women love to hear about other women, the turn-out should be good. But for us, it’s the whole set-up – it’s almost like a wedding, with name place cards and refreshments laid out before we even arrive.

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Another pleasant surprise comes in the form of a group of Journalism students, who the FCC have allowed in for free. It’s great to see the cohesiveness of this, and I’m interested to hear their feedback afterwards. I hope one of the will write a blog of their experiences at the event. Afterwards, they interview HK Chapter President, Christina Pantin.

As the panel introduce themselves, Wong seems charming and confident. Au is funny and says she probably didn’t even deserve her first job in editorial – she’s modest. Lee says she suffered perpetual jetlag for three years after landing in Hong Kong because she landed on a Saturday and had to be at work by 1am, Sunday. But she knows how to motivate her team – who she likes managing – which is perhaps less usual for most journalists (managing things other than deadlines, I mean). She believes in investing in her team, which makes her sound like the perfect boss.

 

So, what makes work exciting for these ladies?

Wong: “News is a 24 hour business, it could be ideas or news, but the most exciting part of the day is when something new comes up.”

Lee: “Success is 99% good luck and 1% hard work – and I believe in that.” She tells a story of her first days at CNN when she had to ask an interviewee to explain some jargon. The interviewee was so annoyed that someone from CNN didn’t know this, that she hung up. It taught Lee that she always needs to do her homework and that the name CNN was probably why the interviewee had taken her call in the first place. There was a sense of responsibility.

“You will find mentors who will support you and help you get from A to B,” she says. At CNN she’s found her superiours around the region are supportive and willing to give advice. “Be willing to give more than just your job spec,” she says. Advice comes as an added service.

Au: “Life is about someone giving you a chance, like an interview and so on.” Au believes that the generosity of others has helped her, so that should be paid forward.

Wong adds that you should think beyond your job but think about the business and go further than just what your boss told you to do. For her, hard work is about 70% of success. “Chemistry is also important in your work place. Can your boss envision the ideas you have? Is your timing and environment right?” If not, she says you can’t push it further than that. Know when to tell yourself ‘it’s not happening, so move on’.

 

What are their experiences of being a woman in the workplace?

Lee: “My mother worked, in Korea, in the 80s. That was unusual. So my mindset is not really about being a women or a man, just walk in to the room, not thinking you have some deficit.”

Au: “In Hong Kong, I don’t feel like it matters so much if you’re a man or woman – if you break a story, you break a story.” She also thinks that we’re all equal, so when she hears women say “I have family commitments” well, men do too. Au also believes in assimilating. Despite working in an English language publication, Au speaks Chinese at work because her team is predominantly native speakers – and we are in Hong Kong – she feels that expats can likewise assimilate.

Wong: “Media is fairly even – it’s a case of making what you can of it. Various well-known companies do have women in top-level roles here”.

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Is journalism a dying career? Especially with social media, isn’t everyone a thought leader?

Lee encourages students to still go into journalism, because digital won’t end it. It might change the game, but it can be a part of reporting and of course, those platforms aren’t verified. People still want the truth. “It’s healthy for us to have the digital industry, it helps us reach people in far away places and it keeps us on our toes. Verify,” she adds. For the facts, people will still turn to the main, trustable news sources.

Au says that news is personal taste and we know who we want to hear our news from and that having these options helps people to be more interested and involved. People get to know what they want and look for that source. As someone who grew up in the UK, I prefer the BBC for everything, even Wimbledon commentary.

Wong adds that choice is making it better because the audiences know what they want.

Another question brings up quotas because the BBC had said that women should equal 50% of those dispatched to report.

Lee isn’t a fan but has never had to employ or dispatch journalists that way. Au also thinks it’s a dangerous game to play. “How can you put a system in place in an industry that changes every day? It’s about chemistry, not quotas.”

Wong relates to marketing and says “the idea that women and men should be 50-50 is perhaps more of a PR stunt than anything else.” But quotas can be good, she says. “The Women’s Foundation has a 30% quota for boards. If it changes the norm, then it’s not a bad thing.”

 

Is there a difference for women and men in journalism and are women too emotional?

Wong says “well, giving birth is emotional but we handle it quite well!” She adds that there are differences in genders which will change the chemistry and the story. “Women probably have a different emotional approach and reaction to men – a different EQ,” she adds.

Au thinks that men just have a different approach and are more results driven. But Lee, has never really thought about this before and says that empathy is important and perhaps women listen longer to find out what’s behind an interviewees feelings, behaviour and performance. “But in editorial discussions, everything counts. Your age also affects what you are thinking about or care about in your life, so that will be brought to the table when you do your job,” she explains.

 

What do you have to do to be everything you can be?

Wong: “Have faith in yourself and in others and in your future.”

Au: “Hard work and humility”

Lee: “The art of hiring is important. It’s instinctive and gut-driven. I have to think how that person will fit into our environment because every little detail counts so I need everyone in the team to do a good job,” she says, adding, “it’s important also to know you made a mistake and how to amend it.”

 

 

If you have thoughts, questions or readings to share in advance of the event, please talk to us via our social media accounts.

@wmnasiapacific

www.facebook.com/WMNAPAC

LinkedIn group

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Our strategy breakfast event on May 15th was presented by Rob Depinto, a Silicon Valley veteran.

 

The hashtag for the event was #WMNstrategy.

 

Strategy is essential in having a successful business, yet its definition can become blurred. I was really excited to attend this breakfast, but I didn’t know that much about the strategy and this was the perfect way to learn more.

The event kicks off with Rob DePinto, director of strategy at innovation consultancy, ikyo. He explains that there are three aspects to consider when creating a business strategy.

 

 

  1. Strategy
  2. Innovation
  3. Execution

 

DePinto says it’s important to not confuse the definition of strategy in business. Strategy is all about where the business needs to go and how to get there. He advises not to confuse strategy with sales forecasting or vision because if the definition isn’t correct, then the strategy won’t be successful. In addition, DePinto stresses that time is a huge factor to consider – so anchor yourself in reality when creating a strategy.

 

Strategy
DePinto breaks down strategy into three areas: objective, diagnosis and guiding policy.

 

Objectives are pretty self explanatory and DePinto offers tips on areas to look at, such as winning customer preference, creating sustainable competitive advantage and leaving money on the table for shareholders.

Diagnosis is all about analyzing problematic areas of the business and asking important questions, like what is really going on? What areas concern us? What will create advantage?

Lastly, the guiding policy is necessary to help the strategy reach its targets. It’s an approach to help overcome obstacles on the way and defines the principles of the strategy. DePinto explains it is a system of action with measurement – and emphasizes again that timeline is very important when creating a strategy – so your competitors don’t get ahead.

DePinto provides a Gucci case study. They had to understand where they were in order to see where they needed to go, so they conducted extensive research in the process. Gucci bought competitors’ handbags and pulled them apart to really see what they were up against. Then, they looked at what they could do with what they had. Ensuring that every department was involved in the strategy process was critical to success. DePinto explains Gucci’s system of advantage through involving and being willing to analyze all areas of the business, from marketing to stores, supply chains and HR, to customers.

 

 

Innovation
Innovation is extremely important for a business to be successful. Why? DePinto says that bringing a product that yields new value to market is critical to success. He offers tips when it comes to innovation and explain that the ‘product’ is the complete value proposition and not just a device. This includes how the customer feels when they buy the product and what makes them want to buy the product. He also advises focusing on serving a ‘market’, not customer by customer. He emphasizes that ‘value’ has to be created with your product – then you have to dominate the chosen market.

 

 

DePinto breaks down the innovation process, stating you have to precisely determine ‘value’ and what that is for your customer. Think about what problem you are solving and how you’re solving it. Who is the customer? Exactly what segment and sub-segment do they fit into? Any hypothesis created needs to be tested and the sales process needs to be repeated in order to accurately scale how successful the product can be. What follows is where everything links together. Strategy is where and how to get there; innovation is about bringing a new product to market – which then moves forward to diagnosis, guiding policy and finally, cohesive action (execution).

 

Execution
This is the system of getting things done and requires tough discipline. The ability to execute is vital, or the product fails. Another DePinto case study of Yellow Tail Wine shows an excellent example of execution. Their strategy involved bringing new wine drinkers into the market, instead of trying to target existing wine drinkers. They made it easy for their target market and excluded technical words surrounding wine. Yellow Tail even offered simple recommendations like which wine goes with which type of meat, which was ideal for their target market. They executed their strategy well and covered the innovation process. DePinto says that being different is much better than trying to be better than competitors.

 

 

When developing a strategy, DePinto highlights that covering all areas of the business when creating a strategy is also very important, including key performance, activities, value, resources, revenue, channels, customer relationships, customer segments and cost structure. He finishes with a few great examples of strategy, including the Yahoo! Weather App. Yahoo! isn’t the most popular search engine, but their new weather app has been very successful. It uses simple icons and is very useful with its maps feature. It’s a great example of innovation and execution, and was a boon for Yahoo!’s marketing as it showed they were moving forward and changing for the better.

After attending the WMN breakfast, I felt very inspired because DePinto gave great advice and case studies on strategy in business. I learned that being realistic with timeline, as well as executing for all areas are an important part of strategy. I also learned that strategy is an essential part of reaching goals, whether it be in business or creating something new. I will definitely be implementing some of the advice offered by DePinto into my work.

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