Developing businesses and people until they become successful in their own right is a mammoth task that is demanding and constantly evolving. Yet Dato’ Sri (Dr) How Kok Choong JP, takes it all in his stride and seem to effortlessly churn out numerous businesses in different industries, including IT solutions provider TH3 Holdings Sdn Bhd (TH3), network marketing company Agape Superior Living International Group and garment retailer YFS Group with over 70 outlets, in his wake. Recently, the award-winning CEO speaks to Top 10 of Asia about his unorthodox way of talent acquisition and why smart business leaders can no longer afford to ignore the importance of filial piety.
Dato’ Sri (Dr) How Kok Choong JP has successfully grown businesses which span a wide range of industries such as investment, property development, civil and building construction, hotel services, ready-mixed concrete, shopping complex management, machinery and transportation, healthcare and anti-aging, and information technology. “Financial backing alone is not enough. I want to leave a lasting legacy behind and place my businesses into good hands. This is where mentoring comes in,” he says. His years of hard-earned experience and the backing of his network and contacts in the corporate and government sector have been invaluable in helping these future leaders gain a foothold in the business world.
The entrepreneurial juggernaut also prefers to keep a low profile and let his work speak for itself. Since he leads by example, the young people that he mentors also reflect this same mindful and purposeful attitude. Talking to them is akin to speaking to someone matured beyond their years.
“Delegation is the operative word here. I delegate the management of my companies to leaders who ensure that they meet my key performance indicators (KPIs),” says How. He added that this laissez-faire style of management is made possible because his key people are highly motivated, skilled and capable of running the company on their own.
“By having a teachable attitude and a willingness to learn, one can overcome challenges and be successful,” he says. Never one to rest on his laurels, How is constantly upgrading himself as can be attested by an illustrious array of hard-earned degrees that include a DBA, MBA, GDBA and a doctorate in Total Quality Management (TQM) among others. Amongst his many associates, he previously acted as Lim Kok Wing University’s industrial advisor as well as one of the panel judges for Sin Chew Press Business Entrepreneurs Awards since 2013.
Filial piety is one of the deciding factors in choosing his key employees. “The way they treat their parents is exactly the way they will treat their bosses and authority figures,” he explains. “No one at TH3 is above 31 years old and these filial employees are accountable and have given me absolutely no problems; I don’t have to micromanage their work as I trust that they can deliver quality work on time, every time.”
“We give free yearly medical check-ups to our employees’ mothers and on the staff’s birthdays, they get a day off to celebrate it with their mother,” How elaborates. “This unique company benefit drives the point home that we owe our very existence to our mothers and should show our gratitude to them on the day they gave birth to us.” He posits that a person who does not forget their roots would go far in life.
“I am living proof that you don’t have to compromise your values or who you are in order to succeed in life. I believe in honesty, loyalty and hard work. I’ve never short-changed anyone. Please do not be tempted to take short cuts – great things require great effort to achieve. At the end of the day, when you look into the mirror, you’ve got to like and respect the person that you see there. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing,” he concludes.