Be the best version of myself – never stop challenging
Obayashi Vietnam Corporation
Deputy General Director
Person of “Makes Beyond”
Mr. Nguyen Binh Minh
Obayashi Vietnam Corporation
HCM Head Office – Administration Dept. Manager
Article about an interview with a person of “Make Beyond” at Obayashi Group to look for a hint on how to "Make Beyond".
The 10th edition is featured by Mr. Nguyen Binh Minh, a person who makes beyond with "transformative power" recommended by Mr. Kunihiro Sato, Deputy General Director of Obayashi Vietnam Corporation.
Why do I recommend Mr. Minh?
<A person who makes transformation with diligence and flexibility – Creates approach methods by his own ideas and puts them into actions toward goals>
Obayashi Vietnam Corporation (hereinafter called OVC) is the first Japanese general contractor in Vietnam as a wholly owned subsidiary. I was one of the members of the foundation of the company in 2006. After returning to Japan, I was reassigned in Vietnam in 2019.
Today, 15 years after its establishment, Obayashi Vietnam is entering a growth phase such as "expansion of business area" and "diversification of business portfolio".
However, when I rejoined OVC, I found the document formats which were made more than 10 years ago were still being used, and business operation remained old-fashioned and had not much improvement. Looking at such situations and feeling atmosphere in which staff were not motivated to take initiative and challenge new things, I came to think that it was necessary to develop highly motivated and creative human resources in order to make OVC more competitive in Vietnam.
A task team was formed by three members to establish the Phnom Penh Branch in Cambodia, two Japanese staff including myself, and another member, Mr. Minh. When I first met him, I had the impression on him that he was young and quiet. However, despite his young age in late twenties, he took the initiative in all the work at the practical level, including meetings with lawyers and accountants etc..
Being impressed by his ability to look ahead, high speed of processing a lot of work in a short time and high motivation, I determined to appoint him the leader of our new project "DX Promotion" as his next mission. In spite of his little IT expertise, when I showed him the direction and concreate image how to change our business operation with DX, he responded "I definitely want to try” and came up with many new ideas.
His mission included some tasks such as "Reconstruction of Business Platform” which was aimed at shifting business operations from paper basis to digitalization” and “Development of OVC Intranet” for sharing information among employees efficiently. In particular, his remarkable accomplishment was "Data visualization by Management Dashboard" with introducing BI tool. Each business data such as order record, financial indicator, personnel information, overtime work status etc. was used to be managed individually by different system or Excel file. Now the BI tool allows us to access to those information on a same platform in a timely manner.
Specialized knowledge is surely required to create the Management Dashboard. However, Mr. Minh learned and explored it by himself without any help of external consultants.
Mr. Min is full of intellectual curiosity and aspiration. Shown the goal and its background, he sets the target of each phase and finds approach methods by himself. He responds with a result beyond my expectations.
I recommend Mr. Minh, who thinks outside of the box and create new things with his transformative power, as a person who “Makes Beyond”.
Q. What did you think when you first heard you were recommended as a person of “Make Beyond” by Mr. Sato?
A. When I heard that I was nominated by Mr. Sato, I was honestly surprised and a little nervous. At the same time, I felt honored to be selected as a person of “Make Beyond" on behalf of Obayashi Vietnam.
It has been 7 years since I joined Obayashi Vietnam. Initially, I was hired by Hanoi Branch Office which is located in northern Vietnam and close to my hometown. The fateful turning point in my life was the relocation to HCM Head Office in the south of Vietnam, more than 1,000 kilometers away from Hanoi city. Even though company transfer is not common in Vietnam (as Japan), my family generously accepted my decision to move to Hochiminh city. Although living far away from my hometown has been sometimes difficult, I am grateful for the turning point came in my life. I want to embrace and enjoy changes happening in my life.
I previously belonged to Administration section and dealt with various stakeholders with regard to construction license. And two year ago, I was assigned to Strategic Planning section under Mr. Sato.
It is one of my biggest milestones in my career to be involved in the establishment of the Cambodia branch office which is the first overseas branch of OVC. I was able to widen my knowledge in different culture, language and environment.
I also feel lucky to have been assigned to the leader of “DX (=Digital Transformation) Promotion Project” which consisted of 10 members. Until few years ago, we even couldn’t use E-mail with any other devices than company’s PC and were tied with our desks at office. Our team worked on the project under the slogan of “Let’s improve our business operation with modern and simpler ways” raised by Mr. Sato. The “cloud era” has come to OVC finally due to the DX promotion.
For example, when we were using approval documents in paper, they circulated around 10 desks to be signed by all approvers. Now almost all documents circulate on cloud. It was one of the biggest hit which I believe significantly changed our working habit
Another challenge for me was the introduction of the latest application of Management Dashboard called “Power BI” which required me a lot of study and research. In order to study Power BI efficiently, I joined a global online community of people who had similar problems or experience. The online community or other online sources such as Youtube taught me a lot and were very useful. I was able to obtain a lot of knowledge and hints from many people across countries.
It took us almost one and half years to the official launch of the system. Although it was a long and difficult process, we were filled with the feeling of accomplishment when it was finally launched. The system enables us to run various business operations on the same platform such as Human Resources Management, Financial System, Contract Management, etc.. The project was very meaningful not only for me but also whole team. All the hard work returned the sweetest fruit.
Q. What is important for you at work?
A. The most important thing for me or I care most at work is how I can bring reliability and trust in every work I do. When joined OVC, I started with a clean sheet of paper knowing nothing about even how companies run business. I was eager to learn from the experienced coworkers and managers and absorb the knowledge to bring results to the company. One day, my manager told me “you take care of one of the steps of this contract management by yourself” without her supervision. I felt that I earned her trust and it was a big deal for me.
Earning trust is one thing, retaining that trust is even harder. I always try my best in every work to bring the best result. By trying that continuously, I believe I can get trust and it leads me to opportunities to challenge new things which make me grow.
New knowledge develops my values. Along with the knowledge, I believe I can contribute to OVC and get trust from my managers and coworkers. I am still thirty years old. I am eager to absorb new knowledge and adapt to change in the world. The ability to read information from data or make the most of data is going to be the key factor for growth of both companies and individuals. I have spent substantial time to acquire ICT knowledge and skills also to improve my work performance.
Luckily, I am surrounded by many of my friends who keep studying new things at graduate school etc.. In order not to stay behind them and keep improving myself, I have started studying laws at graduate school. Through my experiences of the establishment of Cambodia Branch Office and management of Construction License, I strongly recognized that the expertise in laws is inevitable for my work and career. I am engaged on expanding special knowledge there.
Q. What is “Make Beyond” for you?
A. To me, “Make Beyond” is “Continuous Self-Improvement”. Once said, you receive what you give. If we give everything to improve ourselves, we will receive the well-deserved reward for that effort. I always keep it as my motto and try to build everything with that mindset. I welcome new challenges as opportunities for my self-improvement. Each time a new challenge comes, I hear the bell ringing inside me and telling “time has come to get out of your comfort zone and step into the growth zone”.
Construction project teams challenge new buildings every time and get a feeling of accomplishment when they are completed. Unlike the construction project, administrative work at office may be more likely routine work and has different kind of challenges. I regard even a small-scale task as a new challenge and a step to the transformation. In doing that, I get a feeling like I have conquered a new level in my working career. I was proud of myself when Cambodia Branch Office was officially put into operation and the DX promotion project was completed.
Does it seem risky to leave such important tasks to a young staff like me? I think Mr. Sato had acknowledged my spirit of “Make Beyond” and gave it a try on me. I am truly thankful to be given the chance to join those projects.
I dream to be a successful businessman. It is a big dream, but no one told us that we could not dream big. With the motto of “Continuous Self-Improvement”, I would like to keep challenging various things with an inquisitive spirit.
Photo: Taken at Colosseum in Rome with Ms. Quyen who is his wife and also colleague.
She, who holds Master Degree of Marketing & Sales, is his life partner who can grow up together. “She always inspires me. I want to do my best to be on an equal footing of her in academics too”
<Essentials in Minh’s life>
Photo: Making coffee became Mr. Minh’s hobby during the lockdown.
“I have spent a lot of money on the coffee machines (lol). Maybe I sometimes drink coffee too much but it gives me energy to start a day”
“Make Beyond” with transformative power
Points of Mr. Minh’s “Make Beyond”
* Improve himself day by day by embracing and enjoying changes and new challenges
* Join global online communities to get knowledge efficiently
* Do his best in every work to lead trust to opportunities to challenge new things
* Widen his perspective with new knowledge and adapt to change in the world
* Have a big dream and keep updating himself toward the dream