Help others to help yourself
During the past seven years, as SAP Concur’s territory director in Hong Kong, Hermi Chu has led her team on many engagements to help companies digitize and simplify travel and expense processes. She’s no ordinary technology executive however.
She’s taken on board every capability, nuances and possible configuration of the software that she is selling, so that she can exemplify the importance of attention to detail. Hermi has supervised and mentored dozens of female technology industry professionals and believes that women are on the cusp of taking a more prominent role in the future of work. But there are a few things to note before they can live up to their full potentials. She shares her insights with us here.
Women will rock
The future for women in the technology industry is promising, to say the least. Simply put, companies need someone to help them understand the value of technologies and walk them through the best way to integrate applications into their operations to create business value. To be successful in customer-facing positions requires good at communication, attention to detail, people skills such as active listening, collaboration, and team work. These are traits that females on average demonstrate more than their male colleagues.
One of women’s strongest suits is really their attentive listening. They listen more closely to customers and team members to understand their difficulties, try to connect their dots to find the best way forward together.
Women in tech should ….
Being collaborative by nature, women might find themselves be overly hands-on – especially in track project progress – and male colleagues might feel they are not being trusted or are being micro-managed. So, when it comes to collaboration, I think women in technology should curb their enthusiasm just a little!
Another thing that women, especially younger ones, should pay attention to is crafting their own career path. There are many opportunities in the technology industry but no one knows where women want to go except themselves. Therefore, they should have a clear vision of what they want to achieve in the long run and define their career success. By breaking down all the attributes that they need to reach that goal they can find the best way to improve themselves. This sort of 360-degree review is a good exercise to understand themselves thoroughly so that they know what exactly to pursue.
One of the common observations about the tech industry in Hong Kong is that there are not many women leaders, at least they are not active in the public domain. Nevertheless, the tech industry is full of opportunities and women have some of the key characteristics to be successful. Thus, I would encourage women that aspire to be tech leaders to understand what technologies are capable of, educate themselves about technical knowledge of different solutions, and use their communication skills to support with customers and team members. They should have an appetite to keep learning. One of the enjoyable things about our industry is that there are always new, innovative things to learn; not just the latest technologies but new ways to operate.
Help others to help yourself
One of the things I’ve learned in my career is that to be successful, you have to help others to achieve success. This is especially true for leaders. You have to think for your team members so that they have the necessary skills, support and guidance to be successful. For example, for new recruits, I tailor-make a program designed from the perspective of customers. When you are in the customer’s shoes you quickly see what you need to know and recruits are usually surprised about how much more they need to learn.
I also encourage team members to use their time wisely; to be more effective. That does not mean working 24/7. It means having a clear idea of what are on your plate, being results-oriented, and breaking down your workload down into actionable tasks. As women leaders, I think it would be our jobs to help teams to see the value of being more effective.
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