Based in Shanghai, Roberto Lee Jnr – Hyder Consulting regional managing director for East Asia – has worked with various companies in the region, handling business development, multinational contract negotiations and government projects. In 2004, Lee founded Fresh Bread & Company in China as part of a joint venture. With projects in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland, he has also negotiated and co-ordinated new projects and supervised the local and international offices for TeDesign International Association. A strong believer in the benefits of the MBA and the networking opportunities it offers, Lee himself holds three such degrees – an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and a dual Global Executive MBA from Tsinghua School of Economics and Management University in Beijing and INSEAD in Singapore and France. He talks to Chris Davis.
What does your day-to-day work involve?
With projects across the region, I spend about 90 per cent of my time travelling. I enjoy taking a hands-on approach and like to maintain good relations with our clients, which involves meeting them regularly. I also rely on technology to stay in close contact with our East Asia executive board.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Nine months into my role, I am pleased with the way we are revitalising the company across the region and that we have grown the headcount by about 20 per cent. We plan to continue this momentum to optimise the tremendous growth opportunities we see.
What are the challenges you face at work and how do you handle them?
Depending on the timing and type of challenge, I generally prefer to deal with personnel issues head on. However, if the outcome is likely to impact our regional business, I consult with my executive board and take time to think about my decision. Our board plays a very important role in the direction of the company.
What is the key to being an effective leader and building a strong team?
I believe in accessible, open communication channels. It’s also crucial to be straightforward and ethical. I am aware of the nuances of different cultures and the differences involved with working with people from across Asia. Even on the mainland, there are cultural differences. If you do not pay attenti