Leaders Who Thrive//

Focus on What You Have Control Over, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Perspective, moderation and balance ensure he is at his productive best, says Verticurl COO Sam Chong

Sam Chong’s broad regional management experience across industries and roles helps him in his current role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Verticurl.

Verticurl, a division of Ogilvy, helps activate customer experience technologies, implement lead management processes to accelerate revenue conversion and leverage marketing technology for operational excellence in a variety of industries such as high-tech, banking, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and consumer electronics.

Chong is a pioneer in the field of sales force automation, CRM and loyalty marketing programmes. His specialities range from start-up to business restructuring and divestiture, IT transformation and building cross-functional teams. It also helps that he is an empathetic communicator and effective people manager, since a large part of his work involves motivating a highly engaged team in driving behavioural change to deliver the required business outcomes.

In an e-mail interview with Thrive Global India, Chong, shares his thriving secrets—of which one is probably his joie de vivre, considering his tongue-in-cheek responses to some of the questions. For instance, he says that he’s never felt burnt out. The reason: “Perhaps I have not worked hard enough…!” Edited excerpts from the interview:

Thrive Global India: How do you incorporate well-being in your colleagues’ lives and also your own?

Sam Chong: We have always emphasised work-life balance within our organisation. We strongly encourage all staff to take time off at least once annually, especially during the year-end holiday season. We ensure that the staff continues to grow personally as well as professionally with our organisation. This means continuous personal and professional development and upgrading through training and stretch assignments. We try to equip our staff with life-long employability skills that hopefully will ensure their gainful employment over the next several decades, thus uplifting their communities economically and socially.

Personally, I try to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and avoid excessive intake of anything—alcohol, sugars, salts, fats—that may potentially harm the body.

TGI: Have you experienced burnout and stress? How did you deal with those situations?

SC: Not really within Verticurl, but certainly in some of my previous companies. I try to focus on what I have control over and give it my best, and at the same time I don’t worry about those incidents that are beyond my control.  

TGI: Tell us about how you unplug and re-energise yourself in your workplace.

SC: In our Singapore Global HQ, we have a designated open ‘staff area’ which anyone can utilise to sip a cup of coffee, chill after work with colleagues over a beer, or sweat it out with HIIT workouts. 

TGI: What is your corporate mantra for wellness?

SC: To borrow from the best…Keep Thriving!

TGI: How do you motivate others and generate positivity?

SC: I lead by example and do what I preach. I try to encourage everyone to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Our managers and team leads are tasked with ensuring their teams remain fully engaged.

TGI: How do you thrive in your daily life? What benefits do these habits have on your ability to perform?

SC: By putting everything into perspective, practising moderation and balance, and never sweating the small stuff.It extends my work longevity as well!

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