Interview with Andy Lai Boon Ho, Vice President of Innovation at MyRepublic. Brunei.
Government owned Unified National Networks (UNN) is taking over all telecommunications infrastructure in Brunei from the three telcos.
The telcos will instead focus on selling services on top of the infrastructure. This is a huge change for the telcos as the change happened in just a few months.
MyRepublic was brought in as consultants for one of the telcos and as VP of innovation Andy Lai Boon Ho is at the center of making sure that this telco is navigating this rapid change.
I talked to Andy about how they are working to make sure the change from an infrastructure company to a services company goes smoothly.
Andy explained how “Humans are not made to change” but how the telco industry in Brunei is forced to change fast “because we have no choice” (as the government has introduced this big transition on a short time table.)
So how does they make sure that the people are onboard?
They created a task force which leads the internal changes and then they work on getting the rest of the people onboard.
So how do you get people onboard on such rapid and transformational change?
“You need to involve them. When people are involved they take accountability and responsibility.”
I asked him to give an example and Andy tells me how they needed to transform a brick and mortar to a digital form and identified 3 people within the organisation that had the right skills set to make it happen. The team created the change and the joy of being part of the change made them ambassadors for the bigger change project and they helped spread the word for why the bigger change needed to happen.
Andy again: “The most important part of getting people onboard a big change is communication.”
As Vice President of Innovation Andy sees one of his most important roles as being a communicator making sure that the different people involved in this new chance know what is going on, that they talk to each other and that all are on the same page. Innovation is exploration and we explore best when we all know where we are going.
Playing the role of communicator clearly excites Andy. Or as he told me: “I am excited because I get to explore new things.”
Change can be perceived as fear, and if people do not know what is going on, or do not feel involved with what is going on they feel isolated, ignorant and/or left out. All feelings that in themselves add stress and fear.
Lesson: If you need to get people onboard a big change – let them know where the ship is sailing and let them be involved so they feel that they are part of the new journey.
Real change will not happen until people are onboard. So our role as leaders is to make sure people do not feel like they where left behind on the dock when the ship of change took off.
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