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Striking a magical balance

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Frederick Wong - Corporate Development Manager, Jebsen Group

Even if we’ve not met, you may know me as the person who has been potting a variety of plants at the Jebsen Hong Kong office. I love the way plants bring equilibrium to the workplace. As Corporate Development Manager, I’ve found that my interest in balancing business and the environment is not only making our office greener, it’s adding a lot of value to my job. How? Let me illustrate this with a story about my latest project – developing the new state-of-the-art Porsche Service Centre in Hung Hom to serve Porsche customers.

As project manager, I was given a cautious budget and ambitious timeline of two years to complete all aspects of building the new workshop, from sourcing locations to managing the actual construction, and everything in between. A detailed brief such as this naturally involved a number of stakeholders: the Porsche operation team, whose technical knowledge would help optimise the new workshop design; Group and Business Unit management, who provided overall direction; and Porsche China, our principal stakeholder, who oversaw corporate identity compliance. Other stakeholders like the landlord, external technical advisors, the main contractor and direct suppliers all had important roles to play in the successful construction of the new workshop, and I had to work closely with each one of them.

A habitual “balancer,” I understood early on in the project that my first priority wasn’t to build a workshop – rather, it was to build credible relationships with all of the stakeholders. I knew that everyone had something unique to offer, and that “working together” meant much more than having a shared to-do list. As such, I spent a lot of time listening to the stakeholders throughout the project; at times there would be conflicting views, and I had to exercise a great deal of creativity and sensitivity in order to balance them. By building a foundation of trust and communication, we were able to develop a thorough and effective project plan that aligned expectations, laid out guiding principles, addressed constraints and found solutions to issues in advance. This made the process of collaboration much smoother.

On 12 October this year, the brand new Porsche Service Centre in Hung Hom proudly opened its doors as one of the first downtown premium motor service facilities in Hong Kong. Thanks to the amazing cooperation among the stakeholders, the construction was completed on time and on budget.

Reflecting on this challenging yet immensely gratifying experience, I would say that effective collaboration was the magic ingredient in creating a successful outcome. Balancing the diverse interests of different parties – much like balancing the needs of people and the earth – is no easy task, but when done well, something magical happens. With so many different talents, skills and expertise within Jebsen, I can only imagine what other amazing feats we can achieve if we embrace collaboration and break through the limits of our individual abilities! 

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