The desire to succeed was greater than failure. That was how Sakinah Ghazali narrates her journey of becoming a leadapreneur. When the Assistant Vice President of Partnership Pos from AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad was first nominated for the AXA Leadapreneur Accelerator Programme, she wasn’t sure how to react.
Change has been the very thing that keeps Sakinah’s spirit going. Although her work can fall into a routine trap, she had always found ways to make it exciting, especially when she is out to meet her clients. So, in a way, Sakinah welcomed this challenge.
At first, she was thankful that she was among the 25 participants selected for the programme, but as soon as her 16-week training journey begun, she was close to throwing in the towel, especially when her first two innovation ideas were rejected.
At present, Sakinah bears the heavy responsibility of servicing her client, Pos Malaysia, which has 164 branches and close to 700 staff. She has been based in the southern region throughout her journey with AXA, so having to travel for training on top of her existing business travels and managing a solo project in addition to her hectic work schedule, added on to her work pressure.
As such, rejections were not easy for the bubbly 39-year-old. When she did her first presentation, her senior manager’s facial expression was good enough to drive a message that she needed to improve.
Sakinah admits that Leadapreneur was like an emotional roller-coaster as she had to put in more than 10 hours daily to manage both her work and her project, but when her idea begins shaping up, she was all fired up to prove her worth.
Sakinah came up with the idea of a web-based platform – SahabatAXA – that will allow her clients to access all the information they need from anywhere, anytime.
According to her, Pos Malaysia has always had a personal one-to-one relationship with the marketers so most of the time, they were always calling to enquire about policy expiry date or production updates.
Now, with SahabatAXA, they will be able to access any information they need such as production and commission status, product information, sales campaign and event updates, via their mobile devices. SahabatAXA is not just about information at the fingertips but it also creates an exciting journey for Sakinah’s clients.
With this project, which is valued at a minimum of RM88,000, Sakinah was not only able to save time but also increase the productivity of her marketers as they are no longer required to spend time answering enquiries via phone.
It also minimises distraction for those who are constantly on standby to answer calls from clients, even while they are driving or away on vacation. With SahabatAXA, Partnership Pos marketers now have ample time to build and create more supporters via coaching.
When it was time for her to present her SahabatAXA prototype demo and execution plan, Sakinah was mentally prepared to receive criticisms from her management and mentors but much to her surprise, she received 6 out of 7 votes, making her the champion of her cohort. Her bosses, mentors and cohort members were equally impressed as they found a 360-degree change in her presentation skills.
In addition to a self-confidence boost, Sakinah’s greatest learning point came from the step by step guidance that Leadapreneur provided to help the participants become better strategists and planners. She also realised it was the crucible moments that served as transformation points for a leadapreneur.
With plans for an active roll-out scheduled in November for her innovation, Sakinah is now more inspired than ever to make impactful changes whenever she gets an opportunity.
When asked what kept her going despite the initial emotional turmoil, Sakinah said it was the concept of Wu Wei or effortless action that she learned during the training period.
The concept taught her that she didn’t need to take criticisms too seriously, especially when they were negative in nature, but rather just focus on points of improvement; give it her all in finding practical solutions and let the results do the talking.
Congratulations Sakinah for becoming a Champion of the Accelerator!