Doing Business Across Borders: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil

Contributor: Sher Yen

April 16, 2014, Kuala Lumpur – Directors, entrepreneurs, decision makers and top managers came together on Saturday, April 12th for one purpose: to learn from the real people who make borderless business possible in “Doing Business Across Borders: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil” seminar.

GLOCAL is a term that puts together the idea of business globalization with local execution insights. “The foundation of a thriving regional business is a strong local presence. Strong local presences require the experience, skills and knowledge of local people, local information, local everything at the street level,” the Managing Director and facilitator of the seminar, Tan Aik Seng stated during the opening session. This seminar was organized with the intention of helping businesses to expand overseas by connecting them with people with real on the ground experience and expertise.

Tan Aik Seng, Executive WorkPlace International

Opening session

Forty two internationally business-minded participants attended the seminar, including Mr.Chung Tze Hien, Director of MABC – Mulpha International Berhad; Mr. Wei Xiao Gang, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Malaysia) Berhad,  and other notable top managers. Speakers shared their insights on their respective country: China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.  There were also questions targeted towards more mature economies such as Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

Duff Watkins, Mitch Tomizawa, Dr. Benchalak on "Doing Business in Australia, Japan, Thailand"

From left: Duff Watkins, Mitch Tomizawa, Dr. Benchalak on “Doing Business in Australia, Japan, Thailand”

Mr. Tomarelli of MAIT Italy shared his experience of managing his remote staffs across the region.  He emphasized the need to “constantly get them [the employees] to update [their progress] on a weekly basis,” and “bring them for factory and HQ visits so as to imbue the organization culture and values to their remote employees.”

Tan Aik Seng, Daniel Liu, Federico Tomarelli, Lucille Wu on "Managing Gen Y across borders, Doing business in China, How to manage your employees remotely and Doing business in Taiwan"

From left: Tan Aik Seng on “Managing Gen Y Across Borders”, Daniel Liu on “Doing Business in China”, Federico Tomarelli on “Managing Your Employees Remotely” and Lucille Wu on “Doing business in Taiwan”

The seminar ended with Tan sharing on “Managing Generation Y across borders”. This topic helped us understand that similar traits are found across all generations regardless of class, creed or race. “Generation Y is a product of Generation X, and so on.” Managers should take responsibility in recruiting, training and managing talents. In return, employees should take responsibility and accountability of their work. When it comes to nature versus nurture, one cannot escape nurturing too.

Executive WorkPlace International is an executive search and on-boarding firm specialising in the search of key technical, professional and managerial positions. We take the time to understand “who do you REALLY need to get onboard?”

For more information, visit


Glocalized Business

Glocalization is no longer just a concept but actual initiatives by multinationals to customize its products and services for the locality or culture in which it is sold.    Many companies are discovering their globalization strategies need to be tempered with local insights and execution know-how from experienced people on the ground.

New jobs in marketing insights and social media are gaining popularity.  Huge monolithic multinationals are recruiting people who are skilled in marketing insights and social media to help transform their traditional organizations into nimble, agile and glocal companies.

Traditional barriers to greater international and regional trades have crumbled.  Securing work permits to work in a foreign country by skilled and young professionals have eased greatly.  The advent of internet and the commoditization of air-travel have massively multiply global and regional trade.  The impetus for greater glocalization is the realization by multinationals that it is easier to embrace diversity than to homogenize the global market.

Multinationals have to struggle with labour challenges, infrastructure and environmental constraints, non-trade barriers to local market access, inadequately developed institutions, legal nightmares, intellectual property rights infringements, and other business culture shocks.  Foreign managers have to think out-of-the-box solutions to unconventional challenges and issues.

Many of the speakers emerged from the trenches after surviving the great Asia Pacific transformation from the backwater economies to many of the world leading economic power-houses of today.  They will share with you their survival strategies, tactics and know-how to avoid pitfalls should you decide to take the plunge.

Allow these real world practitioners to guide you.  Come meet and network with people who are “DOING BUSINESS ACROSS BORDERS: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil.”   They will be there on the 12th April 2014.


Event: DOING BUSINESS ACROSS BORDERS: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil
Date: 12th April 2014
Time: 8am – 6pm
Speakers: Daniel Liu – “Doing Business in China & Hong Kong”
Lucille Wu – “Doing Business in Taiwan”
Mitch Tomizawa – “Doing Business in Japan”
Dr Benchalak Phutinart – “Doing Business in Thailand”
Duff Watkins – “Doing Business in Australia, NZ, Brazil”
Federico Tomarelli – “Managing your remote employees: An Italian Manager’s experience of going GLOCAL!”
Mohamad Abu Bakar – “Managing Generation Y across borders”

EARLY BIRD RATE: First 10 early birds will received a copy of “First-Time Leader” by George Bradt & Gillian Davis.

To register, visit, contact +603-79553686 | +6016-209 7310, or email

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Everyone Comes With an Agenda… Or two

Contributor: Sher Yen

What happens when an executive search firm and an event comes together – employees flocking in to seek for a greener pasture.

It is exceptional for an executive search firm to organize events due to the nature of our business.  But Executive WorkPlace International has been organising talks, workshops and seminars.

The purpose of these events?  In view of business, to generate more leads.  In view of relationship, to foster better relationships with our clients and candidates.  In view of marketing, to establish our name and position as head hunter within the spawning industry.  As consultants in this executive search industry, we are more than willing to share our know hows with the rest.

With no surprise, the first people who eagerly sign themselves up are the “sales” agents.  Second in line, the job seekers.

Our last Chinese New Year Gathering took place on 14th February, in conjunction with both Chinese and Western Valentine’s day.  After the event, we conducted a post mortem.  The first thing we all agreed upon; to be selective when it comes to attendees.  We have gotten complaints of pushy insurance agent asking insurance related questions during the “Interview Your Neighbour” Ice Breaking session when they were supposed to interview each other using the name cards as a mock resumes – A fun way of providing interview tips for hiring managers.

“I am not looking for a job,” Stella* said.  “I just can’t work with local china man bosses!”  She went on sharing her experience and knowledge with me for at least an hour.  We also met a few attendees of such, who were apparent with their intentions.

Everyone comes with an agenda.  We have our agenda, participants have their own agenda.

As candidate, this IS one way of conducting your marketing campaign.  Knowing a few head hunters personally is beneficial because you get an insight to the market (assuming they cover the job function or industry of your interest).  You could actively seek their advice in relation to hiring and onboarding matters, or for their core service – to get the right people you need for your organisation.

It is also a good networking arena to meet managerial level executives.  Occasions like these are usually an informative session where we provide real life examples of recruitment and people management.  After all, information sharing is the new networking.

There is nothing wrong when you come with an agenda or two, but do practise good participant ethics and let’s not become the party pooper of the day, shall we?

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Event photos can be found here.

Talk Over Breakfast

Delicious Buffet Breakfast

Arriving as early as 7 am, we set up banners, seating arrangement and registration counter whilst Delicious cafe’s staff went on with their daily routine of preparing breakfast buffet for residents and customers of St Mary Residence, E&O Residences and St Mary Place.

From time to time we were distracted by the clashing sound of utensils and breakfast fragrance within the cafe. After all who could resists the thought of omelettes and hot steam hash browns? But what must be completed, must be completed before any attendees arrive.

The moment it struck 8.30 am, our people started pouring in, so did their patrons. With the amount of people coming in at a fast pace, we knew this was going to be a problem.

By 9 am we had all 27 attendees checked off the list, sitting at their respective places sipping hot coffee or catching up with one another. Tan, Managing Director of Executive WorkPlace gave the microphone a trial test and welcomed our guests. We were certain that words were coming out individually rather than sentences, and anyone at the back could barely catch a word or two as Tan speaks.  Our unidirectional microphone wasn’t working exactly how we tried out initially. It could barely detect unless it was held and speak into at an odd 90 degrees angle.

We had Steve Allen, the current CEO of Delicious Group to give a welcome speech. He opted for his own vocal cords, which worked better than the mic. Everyone did a short introduction and the limelight was then passed on to our dear speaker, Simon Choy. He started off by sharing a thing or two about what he knows best – his current attached company, Tupperware Brands.
Breakfast Talk crowd
The breakfast talk’s main focus was the “Courage to Manage”. If we look into the managers of Malaysia, often does one wonder if they really do have what it takes to manage? One takes on a bigger role as a manager because he is a performer as an individual, but does that automatically qualifies him to be a good manager?

Using his own real life experience as a Vice President of HR for Tupperware Brands Corporate, he shared the 5 successful formula that every leader should practice to manage with courage, and it was exactly what he practice that lead him to where he is today.

1. Right players on your team

2. Delegate Work

3. Conflict Management

4. Hold People Accountable

5. Courage to Admit Weakness

There was also the delegation determination model, similar to a situational leadership chart. A high relationship with low task behavior means managers should take on the participating or delegating approach to the staff and vice versa. One common issue in the task of delegation agreed by all was definitely trust issue.

delegation determination model

With only an hour given for speech while 30 minutes on Q&A, time was scarce and we had to bring the discussion to an end despite guests wanting to ask more.

Feedback sheets were given out and collected back, many with positive feedback other than the noisy environment and clarity of  AV system.

Some said, “this needs to be shared and practiced at workplace”. Some wonder if it is applicable to Asia region since Simon’s best practices were generated from a western culture.  Most found his personal experience inspiring – like how he clocked in more hours than he should with his part time to sustain himself in US with no funds from his family – while studying.

As we packed and bid farewell, most of us brought home not just a concept or method to manage, but realization at what should be done, what should be executed.  As Simon says, “why stay good, when you can achieve great?”
Read about the Man behind the Courage to Manage