Adopt life-long learning for growth

Posted on  07/06/2012  |  Media Centre

By Diyana Ibrahim

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TO GROW as business companies, we must first shift our mindset, Regional Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Market Creations for USCI Blue Ocean Strategy Regional Centre said.

“The world is changing faster than we think,” Dr Peter Ting said. “New information is coming faster than we catch, so we really need to cultivate and develop a life-long learning habit.

“So to start with, we must start with humility as there is always something that we can learn every day,” he said. “Challenge our current assumptions that we always have been doing business in this way. In this way, we may still be able to make some money, but have we ever considered another way, another alternative, to look for the space in between the unchangeable regulations?”

He said that “there is no way you can fail the only way you can fail is when you consider failure as a final point”.

“When we first started the Blue Ocean Strategy in 10 countries within six months, we have started our various offices in ten countries using (weaker) Malaysian ringgit as our investment money, (instead of) American or Australian dollars,” he said.

Despite this, he had made the “bold decision” to close down nine of the 10 operations later on, after realising that he was not implementing the Blue Ocean Strategy.

“When we are talking about Blue Ocean Strategy, we are talking about uncontested market space,” he said, “about big picture execution focus.”

He added that “while persistance is good in making a business …we need a framework in place to minimise risks, to reduce trial and error while maximising opportunity before us”.

So, by closing the nine operations which cost over $20 billion! he argued that “with that decision, we have saved $200,000 to $300,000 every month, contributing to our profit margin.”

“So, Blue Ocean Strategy is about the mindset first, before we look at method,” he said. ” If we start with method, the mindset is not conditioned or aligned with the usage or deployment of method and then, that’s where we encounter execution failure.”

He stated that while strategy formulation would fail on average of 80 to 90 per cent during the execution phase, “Blue Ocean Strategy is about thinking differently…thinking what everyone else have not thought of”.

“While everyone are seeing ‘flop’, we are thinking what ‘flip’ we can get out of ‘flop’,” he said, adding that this “partnership model enables us to go further (and that) although,it will be slow initially, you will be far better in the long run.”

He then cited Air Asia as a case study.

He related that Air Asia, at the time, had carried a debt of $40 billion and had to feed 250 employees, despite serving only one flight destination. “This happened on December 2, 2001, during the period of economic crisis that was followed by rising fuel costs.”

But there were opportunities.

“The opportunities arised when the airline leasing cost at that time was down to 40 per cent,” he said. “Good staff from other airlines were being retrenched, so Tony was able to acquire experienced staff at much lower cost,” Ting exclaimed.

“In the end, at almost ten years later, all the debts have been paid off and nine years after that, Air Asia has become the fastest growing low-cost airline globally.”

Dr Peter Ting delivered his talk during the seminar on Blue Ocean Strategy, which carried the theme ‘Creating Breakthrough Growth in Your Business’, at the Empire Hotel and Country Club on May 30, 2012.The Brunei Times