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The innovative edge

Success for Mr Chong goes beyond financial measurement, however. "The ability to make time to have freedom and quality family life," he says, is a measure of success.

Company: Corporate Excelsior (M) Sdn Bhd
Name: Chong Chee Hing
Designation: Group Managing Director

COUNTING property developers, major construction companies and building-material distribution companies among their customers for the last 12 years, Corporate Excelsior in Malaysia is poised to grow and succeed even further. The cement-based products manufacturer is the first fully-Malaysian-owned company whose brand is the first non-native marque accepted for use abroad by the national housing agencies of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Brunei and Libya.

Achievements such as these are possible when the head of a 45-strong team is a person of distinction and determination, embodied in Chong Chee Hing, the 53-year-old group managing director of Corporate Excelsior.

Hailing from Taiping in Perak, Mr Chong graduated from University Malaya with a Bachelor in Engineering. He believes that education has laid the foundation for his progress in the construction industry, but he also credits his practical working experiences in technical sales positions at various companies for boosting his confidence and know-how.

He counts his late father Chong Hong Wai, a school teacher, as one of his role models who "was very open-minded and advised me to work hard but always to live life to the fullest and within your means", and just as importantly, to enjoy the journey.

He quotes Dr Muller of MC Bauchemie for one of his guiding principles, namely, the adage "Everything in life can be calculated, and those that cannot be, is garbage."

This measured approach is balanced by Mr Chong's admiration for Quek Leng Chan of the Hong Leong banking conglomerate whose decisive business instincts inspired Mr Chong.

However, success for Mr Chong goes beyond financial measurement. "The ability to make time to have freedom and quality family life," he says, is a measure of success. So he makes it a point to travel with his family at least twice a year. Asserting that health is the catalyst for a good life, he maintains an all-important exercise regimen as well.

Mr Chong considers himself as a very hands-on leader who is not only focused but also gets involved in every aspect of the business. Paying attention to detail underscores his inquisitive personality.

Being passionate about what you do is equally important, he believes, but more so when you are fearless in going beyond your comfort zone and are willing to consider uncharted territories.

These qualities alone, however, can take a potential leader only so far, and so, Mr Chong believes that never giving up is tantamount to success, as is "always fighting a good fight" and having an unwavering belief in your mission.

But a captain cannot scale mountains alone, and so, teamwork is paramount to achieving great things and good communication is the key to the success of the team.

Mr Chong recognises that the nature of teamwork has evolved over the decades. Unlike the older, traditional family business structure, leadership nowadays involves trusting and delegating responsibilities to employees. With the advances in technology, business heads now have increasing access to more data and information, and so, sifting through it all and being able to make decisions amid all this big data, is crucial.

And certainly, the adaptability to rapid changes in the market environment, Mr Chong believes, is essential for any leader in business. These insights have clearly helped Corporate Excelsior to chart its success till today and into future journeys.

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