Who? Lui Sieh, Group Director, IT
Where? Rochdale Spears Group
How long? Since 2016
An unconventional journey to success
“I have had an unusual journey as my background was not in technology, but in social sciences, liberal arts, and the law. Technology was a hobby which eventually resulted in being a full-time profession after my first job as a helpdesk engineer. Looking back, I must say I have had to work extra hard early in my career to ensure I belonged in the field.
"I have learned that there are 3 Ps to success: prepare, practice, and persevere. This requires any individual to learn and try new things all the time. With the staggering speed of technical and business change nowadays, I believe this is still relevant today."
A role with real impact
“I like my current job because it offers a unique opportunity to fulfil a dream for long serving IT professionals such as myself. It gives me the chance to build a business that needs technology not just to survive, but to thrive. The role allows real business transformation, and involves people, processes, and modern technology.
"Our corporate brand tagline is lead by design, grow through quality. I am able to live that through by crafting an IT strategy and enterprise architecture that enables a business transformation from an end-to-end manufacturing to distribution to B-2-B and B-2-C retail. Eliminating antiquated tools and processes and replacing them with best-in-class technology cloud-based platforms allows us to quickly increase productivity and operational efficiency.
"My first job out of university introduced me to the IT industry. I found myself enjoying the work because I could make a difference for my users and experience their sincere appreciation. Customer service and helping others in their work through the application and delivery of useful technology has been incredibly rewarding."
Overcoming challenges in a fast-paced environment
“It is fast and dynamic because of the level of change happening in the business. This requires regular monitoring and directing to keep projects moving forward and working to unblock organisational challenges.
"The mornings are usually reserved for meetings because I have colleagues in the US whom I work closely with as well as project and governance committee meetings which I chair. The afternoons are usually reserved for more individual follow ups on action items.”
Leading with courage and conviction
“Leadership is a maturity journey. My leadership style when I was in my 30s was about being results oriented and driving towards achieving objectives through technical competency. As I matured, I have realised that leadership is situational and is more about bringing people along to where you are going.
"Leadership effectiveness requires a person to possess courage and conviction, have an audacious goal worthy of pursuing, know your business setting, look for the best in your people, and provide the environment for them to succeed both professionally and personally.
"Being a senior leader today requires a lot of balance among competing focus areas, while being equipped with far less time than one used to have.
"Today’s environment seems to require a multiple range of skills. It is important to have a strong sense of self and humility to be able to navigate through the tough decisions that one faces constantly.
"I also firmly believe that in the modern enterprise, being technology savvy is another key skill which senior leaders must excel at in order to create lasting significance."
The key to dealing with tough decisions at work
“The toughest decisions are always around the health of your organisation. You are only as successful as they are so you wish your colleagues and staff to turn out well and achieve something worthwhile. Unfortunately, a company changes directions constantly, and it often means we have to go a different way.
"However, persisting for the rest of the organisation is essential to maintain forward momentum."
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