The Back Story – Tan Tiong Yeow

Our Monthly interview with one of the ADAPTOVATE team. Each month we ask one of our team from around the world to answer a few questions. While not in the same league as The Proust Questionnaire – we think it’s a great way to share our stories with you.

This month we interview our senior consultant in Singapore, Tan Tiong Yeow.

  1. First up – how long have you worked with us?

9 months

  1. Why did you join us? Were you in the industry previously, or looking for a new career direction?

I was previously in human capital consulting, helping clients tackle challenging issues in people and organization. I was very fortunate to be involved in a digital organization transformation project with a Filipino client. In the project, we redesigned an organization that drives Agile ways of working in three areas of structure, capability, and leadership. We were also able to stand up a couple squads to test, learn and refine in the journey. This piqued my interest in Agile and coincidentally was approached by Simmy (Adaptovate’s talent scout). (editor: You can find Simmy here on Linkedin)  I decided to accept the opportunity and I would say that it has been a very fulfilling 9 months in Adaptovate.

  1. How has your previous experience and career helped define where you are now? Would you have done things differently?

In my career, I was able to cross paths with people from diverse backgrounds, culture, and experiences.  That really helped me to broaden my perspective and learn to appreciate there’s always a reason behind the way people behave the way they did, even at times when it seemed illogical. I wouldn’t have done things differently but I would have taken more initiative in the past to make more connections with people.

  1. How do you balance your work life with your ‘real’ life – Do you have a good balance and how important is it to you?

I believe in work life integration rather than work life balance. When you know that your work is developing you to be a better person professionally and aligned with your interest, the line between work and life is blurred. Nevertheless, it is important to me to be present in whichever situation, be it in work discussions or at a dinner with my loved ones and friends.

  1. With so many of our team remote working, we always like to ask how do you have your home office/desk set up? Organised or chaos? Any top tips?

I usually work in the kitchen at home. I like working in environments with natural sunlight and the kitchen works for me. Furthermore, the assurance that food is nearby always makes me more at ease and relaxed. In terms of keeping it tidy and organized, since I like to clear the kitchen top before cooking because I want to keep my laptop away from the smoke and grease, that worked pretty well in ensuring that I don’t end up with a messy work area at home.

  1. Do you play music during your Agile workshops with clients? What do you recommend on your latest playlist?

Music helps to change the mindset of the clients when they step into the room. It signals to them that this is not their usual meeting and keep them loosened up in the session. I have a playlist that I have refined over the years for workshops with clients. It is a mix of oldies and modern pop to cater to participants of most ages.

  1. How do you think technology has best helped humanity and do you have any concerns about our future?

Technology has tremendously helped us connect better with loved ones far away but at the same time, it is also putting distance with those that are close by. In pursuing adoption of technology in communication, we need `to be cognisant that we are not replacing face-to-face human interaction with virtual ones. Ultimately, nothing beats having a chat with people over a meal and coffee.

  1. Strategic Foresight allows companies to detect changes early and ensure action is taken quickly. Which companies have you seen able to change and adapt quickly. (and hopefully using Agile methods to do so)

I’m really impressed with how Microsoft has transformed itself over the years. Windows operating system was deemed to be a more inferior OS than the likes of MacOS and Linux. However, in the recent Windows 10 OS, it was able to compete head to head and even managed to convert a few of those Apple loyalists over. Furthermore, it also diversified into hardware development and expanded its cloud computing services. This really demonstrates that even a behemoth like Microsoft is also able to undergo transformation and reinvent itself fundamentally.

  1. What does success mean to you personally?

Success means that I am able to look back with no regret and look forward excitedly to what the future holds.

  1. Finally – You’ve time travelled back to your 10- year old self – What advice would you give?

Put myself outside of my comfort zone more often. Stretch myself to be more sociable and make more friends.

“My weekend escapade with my dog while on a Bangkok client case”


You can read more interviews with our team here 

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