IT veteran leads with vision
Now overseeing strategy and business operations as general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong, Peter Yeung is a respected voice in the IT sector. During his more than 30 years in the industry, he has run the local operations for a string of IT multinationals and seen the hi-tech revolution up close. Before taking up his present position, Yeung served as managing director for Jardine OneSolution from 2005, where he was responsible for the company's strategic planning and development. Prior to that, he was managing director of Hewlett-Packard Hong Kong for about three years. Yeung holds a bachelor's degree in social science from the University of Hong Kong. He talks to Jan Chan.
How would you describe your style of leadership?
I find that being open and approachable gets the best results. I trust people, and enjoy coaching and helping them succeed. Also, I respect and value diversity, not just in people's backgrounds, but also in their views. I try to take a strategic approach, setting out the vision and agenda, and then communicating before letting the team execute the desired outcome.
What have you done to enhance your abilities as the general manager?
When I joined the company, I participated in a fast-start on-boarding programme during which I attended country manager conferences and one-on-one meetings with senior corporate executives. Our general manager in Switzerland is my mentor, and I have benefited a lot from his insights and experiences as a senior Microsoft veteran. I am also a member of the in-house learning circle for 'matured medium' countries. On a regular basis, we meet and share opinions on a range of issues. And, as part of the annual review cycle, I will invite colleagues to give anonymous feedback on my performance.
Is it difficult to build loyalty?
Building loyalty requires a long-term approach. At Microsoft, we are committed to providing people with more than just a job. We give them the chance to build a career and fulfil their aspirations as part of a three-way partnership: employees drive their careers in the long-term; managers provide individual coaching; and the company supports both with resources and further opportunities.
How do you motivate staff?
We do that through encouragement, empowerment and recognition. Our culture is open and entrepreneurial, and I trust staff, as business owners, to make sound decisions. I empower them to manage their time and priorities effectively and to continually find ways to innovate and improve. We use a variety of rewards - not only monetary - to attract great people, motivate, and recognise exceptional performance.
When did you feel your career had really taken off?
I am fortunate that I have not gone through many ups and downs in my career. I progressed steadily up the career ladder after starting as a sales trainee. But I still remember how I felt when I made my first major sale to one of the largest institutions in Hong Kong. It gave me great confidence and ... laid the foundation for my career.
How do you make the company as competitive as possible in all areas?
Our aim is to compete by 'leading innovation and change'. This means setting trends that will bring truly transformational changes and being fully committed to them. We also have to ensure that employees and partners help businesses and consumers explore new opportunities, such as 'cloud computing', so that they experience the impact it can have on their lives.
Yeung believes management is more an art than a science, since it concerns people, and that leadership is about setting vision, direction and strategy
His aim is to improve society with technology
He strives to create an open and collaborative working environment to foster ideas and encourage people to try new things