You build a big and successful business for NTUC Income. In growing the business, did you adopt the same approach as other CEOs in facing the real challenges, and seizing the opporunities?
The business environment, challenges and opportunities are similar. But,I adopted an approach that was quite different from most other CEOs.
My starting point is: what are the real needs of our customers? how can we best serve these needs?
By putting customers first, I was able to build a large business and still make it profitable. We marketed products that were always the best for the customers at that time.
We did not have rely on "hype" to market the products. We keep the products simple and educate the customers truthfully on the features of the product.
We could still run a profitable business, by keeping our expenses low and avoiding wasteful expenditure.
In most other businesses, the CEO's primary focus is to meet the sales and profit targets - at all cost.
These CEOs might be forced, under competitive pressure, to adopt unethical practices. They may market products that make profit for the shareholders, but are not to the benefit of the customers. For example, some structured products introduced recently fall into this category. Some even manipulated the accounts.
I hope that CEOs of all businesses can adopt the approach of, "do what is best for the customers".
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