Saturday, November 07, 2009

Willing to make decisions

A friend told me this story. A Singaporean migrated to Australia and worked in an Australian company. She was surprised that the Australian managers were willing to make decisions. In Singapore, her managers waited for decisions to be made by the higher ups. This was a big culture change to her.

I did not ask if the Singaporean had worked in the private sector or the civil service. It probably did not matter. Quite likely, the habit exists in both sectors.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr.Tan, if you are the CEO of NTUC would you cheer your salesmen on every day to qualify for the incentive trip?
I find this is disturbing because the CEO of ntuc is doing that.
What is the motive? What is the implication?
Of course the ceo's motive is to boost up the sales and the Beijing trip is a bait or a carrot to motivate the salesmen to sell more to qualify.
But then the danger is the agents are focusing on the wrong goals. Their goal is to qualify for the trip, by hook and crook throwing the interest of their clients out of the window.They die die sell and sell anything and anyhow without considering the clients' needs.
The ceo eggs them on knowingly know that qaulity will be compromised but does he care when his goal is to be #1 and more sales and sales increase his chance of beating his predecessor..
This is dangerous as the motivation has shifted from putting clients' interest first to the agents' desire to go to Beijing and the goal of the ceo to be #1.
NTUC's culture is to sell as many and as much and not how much value has been added to their clients.
The agents are working very hard but for the wrong reason and for the wrong motive and worse unknowingly playing into the hand of someone else who has a different goal..

Anonymous said...

I don't see the conflict.

The current CEO motivates his sales force by providing a carrot. This applies to all industry. The carrot appears in other forms: bonuses, cash vouchers, extra time off, jump to the next performance band, promotion, holiday trips, etc.

I think the Anon 6:35pm confuses performance with quality of work. It is possible to work hard and doing the right things for the client.

What is wrong with being no. 1 and getting the biggest market share?

Instead of agent bashing, I think it is better to be objective in your analysis. Are you certain that the CEO is "egging" all the agents to purposefully sell wrong products to clients just to quality for China trip? You should qualify that.

Bear in mind, if you are employed, your 14th/15th/16th month bonus also comes with your performance too. Will you cheat and lie just to get them?

Anyway, your thread and my response are both off-track to Mr. Tan's original posting. If Mr. Tan see befitting to remove both our threads, please feel free to do so.

gigondas said...

You friend is out of touch with Sgp.

Anonymous said...

I do agree the incentive is performance based , the problem is the quality of the performance. It is known or well known that if overly focused on incentives the quality is compromised. Especially in financial products which are supposed to be solutions/means and not to be sold as products or ends in themselves.Somehow , they are sold as products and as ends to achieve another ends.The danger is if an incentive is based on the sale of products agents will go all out to push products with highest commission and inevitably will compromise quality. This is what is happening in ntuc and agents are extremely working hard for themselves and not the clients and with ceo cheering them on.
Leaked out that ntuc agents are super duper product pushers and using creative strategies to create multiple sales. I can't believe my ear that these agents can close many cases within one visit.They must be sales and definitely they didn't entail any plannings. What I know from the real experts a case with planning will take at least 2 meetings. From this I conclude that ntuc agents don't plan but push products and product with high commission to qualify for the incentive faster.
Anecdotal evidence confirm this hearsay that the agents are unqualified and they are not financial planners or consultants. They are at best super duper sales champions who push products and any product without the interest of the cleints in mind.
Take a tour of their roadshows one can see that and the first thing an agent will talk to you is products and NOT needs.
I have not heard of a ceo egging on his agents to qualify for an incentive trip unless he has other motives. Here his motive is to be #1 at all cost, at the cost of customers' interest.
Good questions, "will you cheat and lie to get them". Ask the agents themselves. Inside stories are plentiful and they will tell you how agents will stoop to anything, do anything, say anything to get them. Customers can wait.
Insurance agents bashing? In US agents are spitted on and trampled like shit. Are they any different here?

Anonymous said...

Anon November 08, 2009 12:52 AM,

isn't true that insurance agents are incompetent and unethical? Is the bashing unjustified?
Over the years it has been known that agents were up to monkey business. They never had the clients' interest in mind.
My agent friends even admitted that to qualify for mdrt or incentives agents would do all sort of things even to lie and beg for business.They will play out their freinds let alone their own trusting policyholders. Own policyholders are the best customers to con. They trust their agents. Do agents care when it comes to incentives and mdrt? They will not only 'cheong' and con they will stab you on the back to get it.
If agents dare to take up the challenge, lay bare your cases you have closed and let' see the quality. I can safely say 9 out of 10 border on conflict of interest and or unethical practice..
Dare to pick up guantlet?
Come on, MAS knows waht is going on. It is just they are in a dilemma , dunno what to do after so long.They have time and again spoke up but fell on deaf ears.
But they will do something this time after so much complaint against the agents and all kind of agents on commission.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the whistle blowing channel as REQUIRED BY MAS is not used.
Maybe MAS should provide one for honest agents to report against their colleagues and management directly. To make it effective, MAS should reward monetarily and protect their identity and interest in the insurance company they represent.
Honest and competent agents should blow the whistle against their unethical colleagues becuase their unscrupulous colleagues have tarnished and brought disrepute to their profession.The honest and competent ones will suffer because of them.
MAS has required all insurance companies to have this whistle blowing channel for staff and agents to report their malpractising and incompetent fellow colleagues and even to report against the ceo..
MAS should consider providing another channel for the public to blow the whistle against unethical agents whom they have dealing and those agents at roadshows or whenever they ecounter one.
This should help to reduce malpractices.

The Watchman

Anonymous said...

The management and the agents are in cahoot to fleece the policyholders.
They scratch each other's back.

Anonymous said...

My friend told me although he knew that many of the agents were either engaging in unethical practices or wrong practices he was reluctant to report them. He feared repercussion. He didn't trust the whistle blowing channel set up by the compliance department.
He was also afraid that the report against errant agents might be interpreted as sabo the management's plan for market share. The management rather not hear about them becuase that would affect the sale and sale is all the management is interested. How they are produced the management is not interested and don't want to hear .
My freind wished that there is a channel which can be used anonymously for this purpose.

Anonymous said...

What so great about being number one if ntuc achieved it at the expense of quality and the interest of their policyholders.
I recall Ntuc dubbed their agents as Super Duper Sales Champion sometime ago.It is an apt description. I agree that they are super dupers.Product pushing and peddling is actually duping their cleints into buying useless products that don't meet their goals.
Let's clap if these agents again earn the title of super duper for this year. I bet they will. To be number one is the company's goal. To be in Beijing is the agents' goal. Together they work hand in glove to fleece the customers to get there. The ends justify the means.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you don't know. Being #1 means he is better than Mr. Tan Kin Lian and that is all he wants and his goal. Losing money and pushing rotten product to policyholders is not his concern and all other matters are subordinate to his priority.
This is the obsession and a must win goal and win at all cost.
Beijing and the great wall await the super dupers.

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