Nazri Othman: Senior Vice President, Cargo Services, SATS
Over two sharing sessions with SATS employees, Nazri Othman, Senior Vice President (SVP) of SATS Cargo Services, shared anecdotes from his childhood and how he built his 26-year career at Asia’s largest ground handler.
Growing up, Nazri lived in a kampong and felt that they had everything they needed and could get by with what they had. As the youngest child in the family, he and his elder sister and brother would make their own handicrafts and toys using any materials they found in the house. He shared that perhaps “when one has little resources, it is often the best time for one to learn to be resourceful”.
Nazri’s father, who was a teacher, taught his children the importance of education and continuous learning. Nazri shared that his childhood and upbringing has made him a person who is grateful for everything he has in life.
Finding growth through purpose
Nazri attributes his long career in SATS to the ample opportunities he was offered to assume different roles within the company. “SATS is growing as an organisation and the multiple job rotation helps me to grow with SATS,” said Nazri as he shared about his postings in different departments and at Indonesian subsidiary, PT JAS.
During his 11-year secondment, Nazri grew to appreciate the country’s rich cultural diversity. He cited how Indonesia is a big country with 12 airports and is a place where the culture of its people also differs from one province to the next.
It was there that he learnt to adapt his people management approach in different parts of Indonesia. Nazri focused on giving recognition to employees who aspired to advance their careers, as they were the ones who had the right mindset to help propel the company forward. Employees who were not performing soon felt left out and took up the offer to do other things.
As a leader, Nazri works and plays hard, and tries to promote cohesiveness by organising monthly activities ranging from sports and even hobbies to break the monotony of work.
Deriving motivation to forge ahead
When asked about the most challenging time in his career, Nazri said he would not be able to pinpoint a specific moment as the best or worst experience, since the journey is still on-going.
“Sometimes, the bad experiences we encounter could be a blessing in disguise too,” he says.
He encouraged employees to find their motivation in life and things that would push them to move forward, as these are what would fuel them in their journey.
Nazri also pointed out that the best teachers are not in a classroom, but can be found by observing others around you. He quoted Isaac Newton, who once said, “If we have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
As a parting shot, he said, “Never trip over a dollar for a penny,” urging his audience to reframe their thinking to look at the bigger picture when trying to resolve issues.