Secret to success lies in leadership

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 July, 2009, 12:00am

To be the best requires strong leadership and motivational skills. These qualities were crucial when the examining board picked the winners of this year's HKMA Quality Award.

The winning companies also built a well-developed coaching culture and excelled at communicating with customers through large surveys and analysis of information collected by frontline employees, according to the examining board of the annual event, organised by the Hong Kong Management Association.

Another common trait was the emphasis on contributing to society through corporate social responsibility programmes, said Matthew Yuen, chairman of the examining board and head of the department of mechanical engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

'The companies have been active in advancing their respective industries by raising the overall quality of services and products,'

Examiner Katherine Lau, head of quality and corporate sustainability at Fuji Xerox (Hong Kong), said it was the board's consensus that pharmaceutical company Pfizer Corporation Hong Kong should be honoured with the Gold Award.

'The company stood out in meeting all the criteria set out in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It demonstrated a strong leadership under which the entire workforce embraced its corporate culture, encompassing the core values of customer focus, innovation, respect for people and quality in services and products,' she said.

Ms Lau said it was innovative for the company to reinforce its core values among staff by Pfizer used coaching to effectively change the mindset of its staff, said Cliff Cheung, an examiner.

'We have seen strong buy-in from its employees, who are motivated to adopt the values of the management,' said Mr Cheung, who is the senior network support manager at Hang Seng Bank.

Two companies won the Silver Award. They are Hewlett-Packard HK SAR Technology services and Hong Thai Travel Services.

Hewlett-Packard was recognised for its comprehensive application of information technology to sharpen its competitive edge, according to another examiner, Lewis Ho.

'Hewlett-Packard established an in-house portal to help staff develop their career plans. Meanwhile, its staff took the initiative to form the H People Club, which won the support of management,' he said.

Hewlett-Packard also fulfilled part of its corporate social responsibility programme through the H People Club's participation in charity events and the introduction of environmentally friendly services, said Mr Ho, who is the chief electrical and mechanical engineer at the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

The top management of Hong Thai Travel Services demonstrated a strong commitment in developing the careers of its staff. The managing director encouraged staff to equip themselves with advanced education by giving out cash awards of up to HK$100,000 to each employee who successfully completed a part-time bachelor's or master's degree programme, said examiner Ivy Leung, director of intellectual capital and quality at Langham Place.

Mr Cheung said Hong Thai was consistently strong at strategic planning and was able to launch products with higher profitability in relatively short lead times, such as overseas package tours targeting children.

'Prior to the company's annual management retreat meeting, all managers receive a detailed strategic plan that includes a Swot (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and an update on market conditions. They are expected to prepare themselves and present creative ideas at the meeting, which lasts for up to three days,' he said.

Professor Yuen said Bronze Award winner Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) had a well-developed business philosophy. 'HKBN has made outstanding efforts to promote team building and instil its philosophy in the workforce.'

'HKBN set the target to become the local market leader by 2016. Judging from its recent sales figures, it has made great progress towards this goal and has been increasing its market share steadily,' said Newman Lam, corporate management accounting manager at The Hong Kong and China Gas Company.

The I-Consulting Group (ICG), winner of the Special Award for small and medium-sized enterprises, was credited for its marketing positioning strategy.

'ICG developed and implemented its crucial marketing-positioning strategy successfully. Its business grew at a high rate, its clientele base continued to grow and not a single customer left over the past five years. Not only has its management team been growing, all the original team members have stayed with the company,' said examiner Ray Lau, administrative director of Glorious Sun Enterprises.