Delton Yuen - not letting change get the better of you

Delton Yuen is proud to have contributed to the banking industry in Asia. Having spent 21 years in NCR Corporation, Yuen has played an integral role in helping the company introduce Automatic Teller Machines (ATMS) across the region.

Delton YuenDelton Yuen is proud to have contributed to the banking industry in Asia. Having spent 21 years in NCR (National Cash Register) Corporation, Yuen has played an integral role in helping the company introduce Automatic Teller Machines (ATMS) across the region. Yuen entered the industry and NCR at a time when "the concept of self-service solutions was unheard of". Most of us cannot recall a world without the ubiquitous ATM, but there was indeed such a time, Yuen declares.

Now, as NCR's regional vice president (financial solutions division), Yuen is even more determined to promote technological efficiency in the banking sector. The need for solutions that would enable people to service themselves is real, Yuen believes, and he wants the consumer banking experience to become "an enriching and satisfying" one.

What keeps you going at your job?
Undoubtedly, my hunger to meet and interact with different people. While I have enjoyed professional feathers-in-my-cap, they have not been the sustaining factors. Rather, my desire to do an honest job, be it for my customers, my team members or the company at large, has ensured that I have found continual excitement and passion for my job for the past 21 years.

What wouldn’t you compromise on when it comes to doing business?
My integrity. And this integrity is a collective standard, encompassing many attributes - delivering on promises made by me, my team or the company to my customers, an unshakeable commitment to giving each task my best shot, sincerity of the spoken word and honesty. I would measure it [not purely by] quantifiable metrics, but more by a sense of personal commitment.

Is there a role model who you look up to?
Not one single person, and I don’t say this out of a sense of misplaced pride! But there are many people whom I respect and who have been great teachers of mine and who have shaped my thoughts, [my] way of doing business and my value system. I have grown as a result of my interactions with them. To me, a role model would have to embody perfection, and I believe that all men have good and bad points. Thus, since perfection eludes mankind for the moment, I suppose I would say that I have no single role model.

Do you think technology isolates people or brings them closer together?
Both. It depends [on] how you choose to use it. For example, while sitting a mere cubicle away from a colleague, if you send an e-mail, rather than walk over and have a chat, then technology can work to isolate people. However, when e-mail helps people connect across thousands of miles, it demonstrates how technology brings people together. It’s all about how judiciously you use what you have at your disposal.

Has the birth of the Internet helped or hampered your way of life?
All things considered, I would say it has helped more than hampered my life. I can now save precious moments by shopping online, quickly and efficiently, rather than braving the crowds to hunt for what I need. And all the while, my wife can watch over my shoulder and approve my choices … all in the comfort of my home!

Which aspect(s) of the Asian culture do you think makes for a good or bad business edge in the global IT market?
I think the key differentiating factor in the way that Asia does business compared to non-Asian countries, is that of “people and relationships”. The business handshake signifies more than just a transaction; it is a personal commitment, a sense of trust, an obligation and a measure of the relationship between the parties concerned. This aspect of the Asian culture is a good one for business, even in the international arena.

Having said that, this same factor can also be a hindrance for us. Too often, swept up by our sense of personal and historical relationships, we are unable to be objective in business dealings. Emotions override empirical evidence, logic and commonsense sometimes spiraling us towards a crisis. If we are able to strike a balance, I’m sure we could leverage this aspect of Asian culture to our advantage.

What kind of mindset do you think is needed to survive in this digital age?
I think an ability to adapt more nimbly to change is necessary. The digital age is mainly characterized by rapid changes occurring frequently. Other than that, this age is not so different from its predecessors; the fundamentals don’t change. The key lies in recognizing change and not letting it overwhelm you.

We have more tools, better technology, but less time. What happened?
I think we used the technology at our disposal the wrong way. Actually, we don’t really have less time – we still have 24 hours, whether you are a President or a man on the street. What happened is that our priorities changed and we started letting others drive our priorities. If we can arrest this trend, we wouldn’t feel as we do now.

Is there anything you would have done differently if given the choice?
Not really … but I do sometimes wonder what would’ve changed if I had the maturity of my years now, back then. I wonder if, by my being more mature earlier, whether the outcome of situations would have been more, or less, satisfactory. But I also know that life is not an experiment and cannot be lived as one! Even if I knew then what I know now, it may have not made a real difference. As long as I have approached my life with integrity, I have no regrets.

What do you do to de-stress?
I like reading though I should admit that I tend to buy books faster than I read them. Other than that I find that a morning swim rejuvenates me like nothing else. People tell me that golf can be quite relaxing, but with my level of proficiency (or lack thereof), I find that it stresses me out more than anything else!

Which Web sites do you visit most often?
www.ncr.com (naturally!), online stock broking sites and www.formula1.com (as a confirmed sports fan!)

Which gadget is on your most wanted list?
Powerful gadgets enabling wireless connectivity. I should add though, that while gadgets are certainly getting smaller, adapters are not!

With the proliferation of tech-related acronyms such as B2B, CRM, and HTTP, what's your favorite one?
(smiles..) Without a doubt … ATM!

More about People: Managing Asia.

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