Most memorable and significant career moments.
For most general managers, there are obviously many occasions that will create memorable career moments such as winning global awards, delivering bottom lines for stakeholders and shareholders, and attaining that GM position in one of the world’s most renowned hotels. Personally, for me, the best moments are when my team rises to the challenge of the owners and achieve the desired result, that is, meet the hotel budget set for the year.
Having just taken on this position, my short-term goal at this point is very much focused and limited to just one thing: to look into various strategies to increase the profitability of the hotel and to ensure that the team works together to achieve the budget set by the owners, so that at the end of the financial year, the team members will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
The long-term goal is a challenging one. I will strive to ensure that the team at Dorsett Grand Labuan continues to work cohesively as one, and be more innovative with the hotel’s services and offerings. Labuan has always been known as an offshore island heavily reliant on the oil and gas business, which has declined over the years. One of our goals is also to shout out to the world that Labuan has more to offer. We have a lovely island for people to come to chill out, with international-standard golfing facilities, the freshest of seafood and just a quiet, great place for a relaxing retreat.
Favourite part of your job?
The thing I enjoy most working in this business is that no two days are ever the same. A wide range of skills is needed to be a successful hotel manager, and that keeps my adrenalin pumping as I thrive on a good challenge. Also, the opportunity to develop and mentor others, helping them to get to the next level in their career, is very rewarding for me.
Most important lesson learnt at work.
To listen not only to external customers, but more importantly, our internal associates. I have learnt that in order for my team to respect my decisions and my leadership skill, I must earn their respect and trust, and vice versa. Consistency, honesty and the ability to accept criticism and yet demonstrate empathy are key traits.
Your go-to method to keep calm when chaos strikes.
I do the next best thing that most of us will do — count to 10! If that does not work, 100! Jokes aside, I believe the best remedy would be to take time off, even if it is just for a short period, to clear the mind and then go back to tackle the issue at hand. I always believe that where’s there’s a will, there’s a way to resolve challenges.
Do you seek out different hotels to stay in when you travel on holiday?
On vacation, I have a tendency to seek out smaller boutique hotels, away from the hustle and bustle, to recuperate and recharge. You will be surprised how some smaller hotels in seemingly godforsaken places are able to deliver so much more value-added and personalised customer service than some of the finest cookie-cutter international hotel chains.
Favourite ways to unwind after work or on weekends?
Typically, I am an active person and the posting in Labuan is just the thing for me. I can be in tune with nature when not at work and have time to indulge in things that I love the most — working out at the gym, as well as hiking, cycling, jogging and swimming. I am originally from Penang, so I hope this explains my enthusiasm for all things outdoors.
What do you think people need to know about Labuan?
Besides being a duty-free haven, I think the world should know that Labuan folks are one of the world’s most hospitable. There are also many wonderful places of interest still relatively untouched by development, such as Layang-layang beach and the numerous beautiful islands and water villages that are great for island hopping and wreck diving. We also have museums, the Smokeless Chimney, war memorial, and, did I forget to mention, an abundance of seafood?
What’s on your reading list right now?
There’s no better book to read in my opinion than my Al-Quran.
This interview first appeared on May 7, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.