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It’s interesting while working that I find that there are people who are comfortable with uncertainties. I am one of them. I would attribute this capability or skill because of growing up hearing stories and learning to run a business from my dad who is an entrepreneur. 

One memorable story was how he would go into China before it was foreigner-friendly. Go directly to suppliers instead of a middle man that you would find from a big city along the coast where we would have to pay commission. But obviously, the risk of doing business that way was much higher.

I just came back from my studies in Australia where I had improved my mandarin. Weird but it’s because I have more Singaporean friend and west Malaysian friends who speaks mandarin and I had the opportunity to practice and improve it. Now back to my story we had an order for Carlsberg. It was a 3D throne chair phone holder.

Surprise I actually found someone selling it on Carousel. When I wrote this the item was made 10 years ago.

The manufacturing started running into problems because winter was coming and the gold paint was not drying as quickly and was not as “shiny”. 2 layers of the paint were needed to maintain the quality. Furthermore, the painters who painted it by hand had to now wear gloves so they can’t paint as fast. You couldn’t paint it in an enclosed place with a heater as it would increase the cost. To ensure the delivery and manufacturing were done on time we had to sub-contract this to other villages. Now In China due to their lower expectation of quality in the inner regions of China different shade of red is still red to them. even if we show them a way to ensure it using Pantone books it was still not consistent. So I had to fly down there and then take a local train to actually help with QA/QC the products.

Do random checks on products before they were sent off to ensure quality.

This experience was exciting and I was really comfortable with the situation. This then translates to when I run the different startups I had tried further building this skillset.

The learning

Most managers are comfortable with uncertainties and can tend to forget that there are people in your team that might not be. Especially those who have always worked in a structured environment. It is important to identify these skillsets/characteristics when you hire and when you delegate work and projects to them. Because they would not be able to perform well if the wrong type of project (high/low uncertainties) is matched with the wrong characteristics.

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