For last 16 months, I am  grateful that at least I lived at North Jakarta, although I never thought that I will work at North Jakarta area. I perceived it as hot, dry, and polluted. I would not know about Jakarta Paddle Club and Dragon Boat Festival, New friends who has been years working at headquarter, and Astra International (AI) Head Quarter (HQ)facilities if I did not took an opportunity to be part of Astra Financial.

I feel it is the essential meaning of “Hijrah” Or migrate. There are new places to explore, new friends to know and familiar with, and new tasks to get done. during last 8 years I have been Hijrah in many cities, such as Malang, South Jakarta, Semarang, Hong Kong, and North Jakarta, soon I will be back at South Jakarta.

Prior to living in North Jakarta, The only reason I visited North Jakarta used to be to visit my Uncle who lived at Kelapa Gading and AI HQ for an important meeting and leadership training. AI HQ not only a corporate center but also a corporate campus, resembled to General Electric’s Crotonville, in which leaders and talents are trained. It called Astra Management Development Institute (AMDI).

The building is inaugurated by Indonesia 2nd president in 1997, right before Asia Financial crisis. It was an unfortunate year for Astra’s Founder, William Soeryajaya. He must forked out his ownership in Astra which he incorporated at February 20th 1957 to government, five years after liquidation of Bank Summa in December 14th 1992.

20 Years later after 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis and USD 1 Trillion Debt Restructuring vagaries in 1999 and swift recovery at early 2000, some of corporate functions in Astra International will be moved to Menara Astra at early October 2018. I feel ambivalent during writing this story, mixed it to what happened 20 Years ago. Today Wall Street Journal (WSJ) write about Indonesia. I read WSJ since 2012, it usually covering bad news if it is about Indonesia, such as Bombings, Earthquakes, and Crisis. But it has same condition. In 1998 USD reached IDR 15.000 according to Reuters, equal with today. Astra also inaugurated its new building, The Menara Astra.

Maybe it just a coincidence that for last one week I am reading about book “Collusion” which tell stories about G7 Countries created quantitative easing at 2008 or Nomi Price called “money conjuring” to pump money to financial sectors, hoping it would be disbursed to real sector. Since the Fed has and keep on raising interest rates, I have a presage the hot money will return to US and the crisis will attack emerging countries such as Indonesia. Even though lot of Venture Capital Investment pouring in into Indonesia start ups, it is only a tiny peace of the whole economy, which depend heavily on commodities and rely on China demand.

The crisis is so palpable, lurking the emerging countries. Some export oriented companies might be able to mettle the crisis, but current Indonesia condition is heavily import for consumption goods, it is so obnoxious.

Before move to new building, and little bit Out of Topic, I feel indebted to AMDI for its useful facilities that I think not many people know or use it. Which are Astra Library, Lily Soeryajaya Library, and the infamous canteen.

Astra Library

The best library I ever been by far is Hong Kong Public Library at Causeway Bay.The collection is abundance, latest books, magazines, newspaper across globe are available. The second Library is Prasetiya Mulya University Library at Cilandak for its immense stock of Business Books and latest Magazines, The third is Astra International Library for its collections of leadership books and business history from the case of Bank Summa, Bantuan Likuiditas Bank Indonesia (BLBI), and most of Astra stories are available.

I don’t want to brag due to I worked there, but all books that I need to perform better are available, ranging from Leadership, Coaching, Project Management, Balanced Scorecard, Matrix team management, Innovation, Consulting. The library also provides Harvard Business Review, Time, Bloomberg.Knowledge Management team have been doing an excellent job. I only finished one or two books that I bought myself, at the spirit of austerity and frugality it helps a lot. The librarian told me that some new books are usually exclusively borrowed by executive management, if the executive done with the book, it will be deployed to the rack and available to be borrowed.I am a loyal member of the library, last month I received portable JBL Speaker due to my high frequency of books borrowing.

I suggest the collections need to be better address for nowadays business environment, such as book about Innovation at Silicon Valley, Israel, London, and China, Corporate Venture Capital, and Conglomerates history in the world. It sounds subjective, due to my curiosity of the subjects and too expensive for me to buy it by myself. I wish I would have my own library, with Classic Leather Sofa where I can smoke Cigar, sip single malt whiskey, and indulge myself and friends in above the sky conversation. It will be like Black Jack Folley’s chamber at Billions serial movie or at least just a small Cigar Chamber such as at The Hermitage Hotel Menteng.

Lily Soeryajaya Gym

Only two membership gym that I had, which are InBalance at Novotel Semarang and Gold’s Gym at Cilandak Town Square, I do not count some gym in which I became the member, one in Bangil when I was high school and two in Malang in my University and Soekarno Hatta. In Balance was so memorable due to its limited member, clean equipment, and it has sauna and pool, meanwhile at Golds Gym Citos I did not have a pleasant experience due to humid shower, dry sauna, and annual membership which I think not beneficial, since I seldom visit that place, and I must cancel my membership because of relocation to north Jakarta exactly one year ago. Lily Suryajaya Gym is more like InBalance at Novotel, State of the art equipment, clean shower, and hot sauna, and charming officers, and the best part is you don’t need to pay. I just wondering why not many people go to the facility.

Coupon Based Lunch and Legendary Pane Del Giorno and Raffels

I thought only in manufacturing, mining, or agriculture based office they will provide coupon, but it also new experience for me, at the beginning I don’t like it due to the inflexibility to choose for lunch, but the wisdom of headquarter using the system is to keep employees to mingle with the peers and senior management, some seniors who worked there also said that (RIP) Oom William Soeryajaya the founding father usually lunch together with the employee, even at 6th  floor there is an executive dining room, marble table and fully furnished. What I like are recently they enhance the spicy level of the “sambal” or chili sauce, more salad, and the menu is so healthy. I am not expecting that one day it will be google like lunch where you can eat and snacking as many as you want, but that might be good too. Out of the three things above, there are many facilities that worth to explore, such as Training Room & Theater Room, Eat and Meet.

Kopi Oey – Sabang

September 11th 2018




September 23rd 1999 and October 21st 2008 – A Tribute to Mother and Father (Part 1)

September 23rd 1999 and October 21st 2008 – A Tribute to Mother and Father (Part 1)

19 Years ago at 1999, I was 11 years old, my favorite song was “Dan” by Sheila on Seven. That time  also stamped and carved a strong memory that my mother passed away at Dharma Husada Hospital in Surabaya caused by breast cancer at stadium 3rd. I was lying on my bed with my cousin from Pontianak, kak Yeni, in which she intentionally visit our family with my Aunt to take care of my mother, since my father in duty at the office in Tanjung Perak port.

I don’t have a lot of memories with my mother, since she was busy for expanding her business in embroidery design and becoming a make up artist. My mother fortune is proliferating after we moved into our new home, in which she was the architect of the building, after we moved in, she gave birth to my young brother in February 1994; right before USA world cup at June 1994.

My mother was so entrepreneurial, creative, and determined woman. She expanded her business across Surabaya, Jakarta and Pontianak through network she build from my father’s network and family. She changed our family life from living in 16 square meter room into 1800 square meter home. I remember almost everyday she asked me to join her, sometimes riding my father’s white Vespa; which is a grant from my uncle; to oversaw the progress of our home. She put attention into every detail of the house and intensely communicated with the head of the handyman name Pi’i which also our extended family.

She earned the money coin by coin and put it into a 1 meter tall piggy bag from her fees of helping our neighbor tailor the clothes and my father also save some of his salary, in which lately my aunt inform me that she helped to fund the roof. After moving into our new home, she later learned how to become make up artist in Surabaya. She earned a lot of certificates from hair dressing until Javanese and Europe wedding make up at top beauty center in Surabaya.

In early 1995, my mother open a salon in our home, where she later filled it with many wedding gowns from Solo to Europe and the whole or completed wedding decoration which she intentionally reserved from Jepara, Pasuruan. She was also actively supporting orphans, mosques, and sacrifice lamb every year. She frequently conduct salvations or “selamatan”, in which the big family will join hands to cook in our home, lately I realized that her role was pivotal to unify family and neighbor. Usually my aunties, grandmother, and some close neighbors would be in our kitchen and dining room to cooked, joked, and told old stories. she was the golden girl of my grandmother.

Becoming more busy, she hired a maid from Banyuwangi, with my auntie recommendation to helped her took care our home, cooked and nanny for my recently birth brother. During 1996-1998 during rising issues Asian economic crisis, the collapse of New Order era my mother business was growing fast. She bought car, lands, and bought many embroidery machines as an investment to her business. She also the one who insured our education, in which she will receive the fund every year during the school intake. She bought car even she unable to drive due to high frequency of trip to Surabaya to buy material at Pasar Turi, Pasar Atom, and Jembatan Merah, to learn and frequently copies by her eyes of embroidery design in Malls in Surabaya, and draw it onto onionskin until late night, then she will pass on to designers in Rembang and Nganglang, where she appointed some trusted embroiderer to create the gown or Kebaya.

She loves to collect ancient goods, such as Chinese jars, Javanese kingdom utensils, and woody furniture. When I was five, I remember to visit her favorite shop in Surabaya to buy all the imported goods which also sold Chinese imported good where she could buy in discounted price. I remember she bought me first red G-Shock watch. I suddenly became famous among my friend since nobody owned that watch at that time. She gave me for my 5th birthday.

It was until early 1998, where she found to got cancer. However she still actively running business. At that time she got a lot of clients from officials and a Surabaya top designer. I feel she has a fortified spirit to keep alive. She visited many doctors, It was my first time to visit Undaan cancer center in Surabaya, at that time i didn’t even know what a breast cancer is, either the risk. what I remember was she always brought me to McDonalds at Plaza Surabaya to get Happy Meal package and play at the McDonald Playground for hours. Meanwhile She also looking for alternative cures for her illness and gain support from some families who got cancer and cured.

In early 1999, our family visited Pontianak to get alternative treatments, from Chinese Medical until Spiritual Guru. We spent almost a month in Pontianak. But she ain’t got better. We were back to home with some traditional yet mystical herbs made of sandalwood powder and tree parasite and cooked over boiled water. A month later she went to Hospital at Adi Husada and relocated to Dharma Husada. I only visited her twice at Dharma Husada. When she still got infused on her arm in a regular room until the second infuse turned into her noose in a yellow colored liquid in the isolation room. Some days later she passed away.

She was born at February 22nd 1960. She passed away at September 23rd 1999. She passed away at 39 Years old. Her favorite food was Meatball and Chinese Noodle which also some people said that caused her cancer. Her favorite singer was Reza Artamevia,, her favorite movie series was Oh mama oh papa, and her favorite jewelry was pearl from Sumbawa, in which my Aunt live for years and my mother will buy lots of pearls and crafted it into jewelry.

That what I only remember of my mother. I believe her spirits always guided me wherever I go. I hope I also have her entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and determination to get so many achievements in a young age.

Almost 20 years after the wedding, my father became a widow and raise three kids alone for the next 9 years before finally he also leaving the kids due to unknown illness, but in which lately I think it was loneliness that made him leave this world at age 59.

Kopi Oei – 1st Muharram 1440 H

Reza – Satu yang Tak Bisa Lepas




Jakarta Dragon Boat Festival 2018 “0.040 second that matters”

My First introduction to Dragon Boat was at Sunter Lake at February 25th 2018, During Bu Susi Pudjiastuti and Sandiaga Uno race. I was running from Kelapa Gading to Sunter; for the sake of watching the luminaries have a monumental race.

After lingering around, from watching morning aerobics, jakarta pollution meter, and the race,  I saw a white tent and hanged paddles; quite eye catching among tents of exhibitors. The hordes were looks so amicable. I set aside my nerve and approached them to ask questions regarding on what they do. There were Andrea and Jeff, at the beginning my questions were not answered clearly, sounds unwelcoming, then I met Wijaya Surya who is the chairman of Jakarta Paddle Club (JPC) which established since 2014. He ardently elucidated about his experience while he was racing in Hong Kong Dragon Boat and JPC training schedule, which is every Saturday morning at Bahtera Jaya Yatch Club at Tanjung Priok.

I decided to join the training, which I also try to ferret new sport which will helps me develop my untrained muscle, recover my trauma of water sport when I was at college, and meet new friends whom are a diverse group both local and expatriates from various background.

First Paddling at March 10th 2018

I started my First Dragon Boat at March 10th 2018 at Bahtera jaya sports center. I think I just discovered a new way to enjoy Jakarta. At the beginning, it required have a session to learn how to paddle, from how to handle the top and the mid part of the paddle, just a clench from the tip of the paddle, and the requirement to rotate my back to avoid waste energy of my hand.

Before entering water, everyone must warm up and carry forward boat from deck, it requires around 10-15 people to carry it.

On the water, it was Om Deki, the coach of JPC, wearing a cap with skin burned, He seems never put on SPG 50 like I did for years, but he sounds so convincing to lead the training. On my first training i feel this water sport has manifold insights, such as the importance of team work, to be in sync with people in front of you to make the boat faster and follow instructions and beat of the drummer, a full concentration is required.

First pre-race at Marunda April 29th 2018

I never been to Marunda, I ever heard it only as location of Kalijodo exhaled citizens. But the pre race also made me has a reason to go to Marunda, 30 minutes from Kelapa Gading by Gojek, but due to its proximity to North Jakarta, Marunda is starkly less developed, but plenty of paddy field. We raced at the river, I did not win the race as part of Men B team, but the men A team won the race. The trophy was as tall as 2 grade of elementary school student.

First race at May 5th – 6th 2018 at Baywalk Pluit

There were 4 teams from JPC joined the event, Men A, B, Mixed and Woman. I joined B team, who consisted of rookies, there were Bhanu, Astrid, Owen, Kris, Rich, Shubh, Ario, Edo and My self.

We won the first race but were lost at semifinal session by 0.048 second from Dragon Li. It was a Fraught yet the most crucial 90 seconds in my life. I found Dragon Boat so thrilling and igniting zest. It is a team based sport in which millisecond counts. It is so parable in life, so competitive. I almost forget when is the last time I was so furious; a thirst to win. I also found that the race is so stress relieving, in which I can yell out loud to share the spirit, the energy of the team.

Even I did not win the race, but the team triumph is also mine. JPC team won Men, Woman, and Mixed category.  One of my friend at JPC was so kind, as team captain he gave me one of the winner medal. And I bring it home, I knew my team did not win the race, but I think its an inspiration for me to get my own medal on the next race. to become more swift, nimble, and in sync with all team members.

There will be many more race to come. I think dragon boat is a meaningful sport for me, and the new friendship in which rich of experiences and diverse background has make this sport so interesting.

BlueGrass 11:12 PM

Kong Kong Kak – (RiP) SM Salim




May always reminds me of the the beauty of unconditional love, sincerity, and honesty. those three things has becoming my eternal energy for last 12 years on becoming a man who able to have strong foundation, skin on the game, and positively see the future.

May always reminds me to never betray trust, care about health, and the importance of family.  those three things has shaped my life values on becoming a trustworthy,  more healthy , and care about my family.

May always reminds me on my incapability to protect and fight for the most precious thing of My Life because of my own failure to control my adventurous instinct. May always reminds me to be always grateful that God has always, and always be, surround me with lovely person.

May always reminds Me, in life second chance is rare. I always have faith that an abundant mindset will always bring what we envision to coming true.I do still believe on that.  I realized that second chance is like a diamond. Rare.

Remaja. Hivi

April 31 2018 : 12 PM






































































































































































































































































































































Uber’s Passenger Behavior – Study Jakarta.

I am a Platinum user of Grab Car, Motor, and Food Delivery; although at the beginning I prefer Uber and Gojek. I prefer Grab since it has the most frugal apps; statistically cheaper, many rewards from Grab Pay and it has chat application. I don’t like regular taxi because I need to pay in cash and provide directions during trip. Those impeded me for having siesta, listening Spotify, and reading book during the trip. I used to prefer Transjakarta, but lately I don’t like Transjakarta due its waiting time and the route far form my work location.

Last week I had enchanting dialogue with a Grab Driver; Donald S, He was affable and ardently explain about Uber. He were Uber driver since 2014, but moved to Grab after acquired by Uber at March 2018 due to its fizzled endeavor in South East Asia. He said that Uber has advanced technology and features. Even Uber had weakness for the “on demand” pricing which change depend on demand, never know passengers destination, and the fees. whereas Gojek and Grab price and destination are fixed. What He don’t like from non Uber’s riders are the remote pick up locations and narrow road, dirty shoes during rain, and littering.

He elucidated that he embodied Uber values. for example, during the trip, I left my purse, and Pak Donald called me and swiftly deliver it within 5 minutes. I felt delighted by his prompt action and initiative to call me. Hence I imbued me to write about it. He shared salient vagaries as Uber’s driver that I believed are facts:

#Uber rider is the most courteous passengers. .

  • Uber riders never despised the driver, always call first, trust the map, never cancel the ride without prior notification. while the others, tend to ask driver position, prefer texting, and cancel without prior notification. “Respect the drivers as a person, not “your” driver”

#Uber rider usually expatriate and woman.

  • Women preferred Uber during night trip because they believed on Uber’s driver is well mannered. Women are more vigilant. Expatriate prefer Uber since he do not need cash to pay. While some of non Uber driver try to avoid expatriate due to language capability. Especially those who prefer went out at midnight.

#Uber is the most flexible apps.

  • This morning I had morning trip to Sudirman, however, I had to change the address due to traffic. I asked the driver whether I could change the destination, but he said I can’t change, only Uber Can Change Destination in the midst of trip. Hence I asked Him whether I can add 20K for extending the destination to Senayan. and he said Ok. In This case, I feel Grab also provides flexibility, since on the final bill I can adds the fare by 20K through driver’s apps.

Uber has successfully created loyal drivers by embodied Uber’s values; it successfully attract high-end segment and women; but not succeed attract Indonesian most lucrative Market; the mid low customer.

Coffeewar 30-04-2018 9:39 PM

SM Salim – Angan-Angan Kosong Be

Bouncing Back

“What the values most important to you for making difference in the lives of others?” I was inspired by John C Maxwell’s question. I borrowed it from Astra’s Library at Headquarter, I read it during my three hours trip to ICE BSD in my trip to visit BCA Expoversari from Sunter.

I was questioning myself, Do I have life that matters? What are values that I have? What skills and knowledge or “sweet spot” that I can do best for providing value to others (my closest friends, colleagues, and company)? Do I have surrounded myself with like-minded people and partnering with them?

What is my sweet spot? I feel Strategy is my sweet spot. Strategy is the thorough, systematical, and intentional action to achieve a goal.

How big and audacious the goal is? Since 2014, my biggest goal is join Corporate strategy team, in which my first time meet consultant from McKinsey, I was imbued by what they did. The moment is the beginning of my pursuit to work in Corporate Strategy. I wanted to be like them, explore opportunities and create values for company.

Do I made it three years later? The answer is not (yet).

What is my Bigger Goal?

I reminisced goals I set at Malang State University in 2008 at Astra’s Lily Soeryadjaja Gym. It such a boon, 10 years later all of them are accomplished. Which are Jakarta, National Business Coverage, Graduate School, a golden ticket to work for Jardine Matheson and Astra International, through an opportunities given by FIFGROUP and SPEKTRA.

A Podcast by The Investor Podcast ,talked about how to set a bigger goals and the importance of challenge status quo based on facts cited by book from Ray Dalio and Jim Collin. Those podcast intrigued me on what is next goal that scared me the most? Still the same, to have an opportunity to work corporate development conducting green and brown field venture. I still feel that is plenty gap that in need to fill to get the job that I want.

Therefore, I studied at a business school in 2013 until 2015. In 2015 I joined startup accelerator such as Founder Institute. I failed both in Hong Kong in 2015, and Jakarta in 2017. I dropped out, both of the business was about Coffee. But for two different reasons, first because of inability to setup a company and the second coffee is not my core competence. I had interviews with coffee bean aficionados. I facilitated a group discussion; Found out that who purchased a coffee bean are snobs. They asked about how coffee beans are harvested, fermentation methods, roasting methods. I was not confidently addressed most of the questions. My core competence is not about coffee.

Am I Have a strong why?

Questions from mentors about my coffee project, such as Andy Zain, Ashraf Sinclair, and Ancali gave me a hints about “The why” and how strong is my commitment to do that for life? Do you can do it best compare to others? That reminisced me about an offering few months ago to lead the coffee project in which I said no.

My Failure in entrepreneurship endeavors has been leading me to new subjects, such as venture capital, private equity, and alternative finance such as financial technology. My Failure also has been teaching me of the importance to find our why (the driver of our courage to take action) and to create a team and partnership. We can’t never achieve something big alone.

I have two failures, the first in 2016, I was not succeed to join Innovate Jardines team, In 2017 I was not succeed to join Astra Corporate Strategy. I am thankful because of my friends help; Adisty, Christel, and Adri, I was able to had interviews with the Chiefs. I have elucidated “my why”, I wanted to learn Corporate Venture Capital and Corporate Development, especially merger and acquisition, valuations, and corporate innovations. I also worked at Business Development, in which the waterfall methods of project management has led to time development to create a new product is around six months, compare to SPRINT methods by Google Venture which only need five days. Nowadays Speed or time to market is paramount. Although at the end of the day, company which has more cash will tend to be win, but I personally doubted that since we are dealing with digital savvy customer.

I think 2017 is paramount for corporations to spot imminent innovations before it becoming too pricey, vigilant new players that might gnawing market share, and embrace entrepreneurial spirit of a startup. Major conglomerates has been setup Venture Capital, which are mostly listed overseas, such as: NSI Venture (Northstar), Ardent (Sinarmas), and GDP Venture (Djarum), Venturra (Lippo),  even Toyota has setup its Artificial Intelligence Venture.

I read Astra’s classic book “Dare to Do, the story of William Soeryadjaja”  by INSEAD’s Charlotte Butler in 2002 and “William Soeryadjaya, The Rise and Fall” by Amir Husin Daulay in 1993. Those Books described how aggressive Astra was during 1957-1990. I believe that the company has an entrepreneurial DNA, and I wanted to be part of it. It was Industrialization that accelerates Astra growth. But now I believe technology is capable to benefit all sectors in its portfolio.  Astra’s 150 Million Investment to Gojek is a good sign that the company is ready for faster digitalization.

Embrace failures, find a way to serve, and excel what I do

My failures may not be my future failure. if I truly wanted it, I must have grit and faith that I can make it happen. Do I feel frustrated? Yes. But I must adapt to embrace the reality and support priority of organization, in which I think fair enough, the company has been giving me plenty opportunities to grow since I joined the company by end of 2010.

My boss told me that I should learn to spot opportunity by combining risk management and marketing responsibility in one person. My role for last 9 months are marketing and risk management for Astra Financial Services in which it’s financing unit contributed to 25% of Indonesia $35 Billion industry. Working at risk management has helped me to think in an integrated way, not only about credit risk, but also nine other risk categories which is required by regulators, but also able to help company navigate business risk. In Marketing, I am learning about four wheeler automotive in which has different competition landscape, that the industry of four wheeler financing having tough battle with bank backed financing, despite the automotive sales only grow 2% p/a. Those assignments complement my previous experience in business related to two wheeler motorcycle and consumer financing.

It might sound foolish, to share my failures, my ventures and endeavors. But I believe that failure is a motivation for me to keep mettle to triumph my vision.

Coconut Ivory

18/02/17 | 01.45 PM.

Why You Should join FIFGROUP.

There are 193 multi-finance companies in Indonesia as of December 2017, The asset totally US$ 35 Billion. FIFGROUP (PT.Federal International Finance) is one among them, it established on May 1st  1989. In 2017, it financed more than US$ 2.5 Billion, profit more US$ 157 Million or 16.7% of Industry’s profit, Non performing financing (NPF) stands for 0.7%; while the Industry made 2.96%. FIFGROUP consumer financing includes FIFASTRA (motorcycle), DANASTRA (microfinancing), SPEKTRA (consumer electronic), AMITRA; the new sharia business unit (micro, travel, and gold financing). FIFGROUP has more than 1.800 networks spread across Indonesia, more than 17.500 employees, more than 7.000 business partners, and more than 4.5 Million active customers. FIFGROUP is a member of Astra Financial Services, along with Toyota-Astra Financial Services, Astra Credit Company, Asuransi Astra, Astra-Aviva Life, Komatsu Astra Finance, Surya Artha Nusantara Finance, Astra Venture, and Permata bank.

I was fortunate that I ever worked at FIFGROUP, which provides me tremendous opportunities to learn operations, marketing, and business management. Hence, I wanted to share my experience on why FIFGROUP is great a place to learn, work, and have fun. For the last five years, there are new opportunities arising from technology companies which has potential to become “any kind of company”, but if you interested on Financial Service, continuous leadership development, and indefinite opportunities; FIFGROUP is a prolific place to grow. Hereby the why.

Leadership Development & Talent Management

Lucrative market, Solid infrastructure, and strong corporate values (TEAM – Teamwork, Excellence, Achieving, and Moving Forward) has been making FIFGROUP a place where best financing company talent is made. SWA magazine awarded FIFGROUP as Indonesian Best Companies in Creating Leaders from Within at the end of 2017. FIFGROUP budgeted $ 2 Million per year for people development. The Company has been allocating individual budget for self-development, such as Seven habits, Project management, and Business Innovation. Additional trainings and workshops are collectively organized by Training & Learning Development to make sure that knowledge, skills, and attitude is developed in congruence with organization priority. If required, overseas training also encouraged to ascertain company at the front edge of technological and business innovation; especially nowadays, where financial services especially consumer lending is facing some big challenges, such as the advancement of Big Data and Machine learning which have been altering the landscape of competition, which not only from adjacent sectors, such as banking, but also from technology sectors such as e-commerce, transportation, and financial technology.

Talent management program also prepared as a special treatment to those who performed beyond satisfactory; such as coaching with luminary executives, special benefit packages, fast-track career, and exchange program internally within FIFGROUP divisions and externally within Astra Financial Services companies. Despite Individual skill is encouraged, FIFGROUP always encourage more to Teamwork, the company’s credo is “There is no Super-man, but A Super-team”.

An Adventurous and Innovative Company

I called it adventurous and innovative, since I was fortunate that I had rotated in many departments and different divisions, from branch operations, marketing and strategy in headquarter, even my last role was in Business Development which gave me opportunity to work across department where I learned project management, business process, and enacted business partnership. FIFGROUP’s management has a courage and gut to assign employees in various role to expand perspective of how the business is operated, accelerates learning, and connects employees from different functions. Adventurous means the company has an ample initiative for experiments, it might be derived from one of its corporate value “moving forward”, a value which triggered a new innovation should be created to continuously serve customer better. Innovative (and competitive) means it has an annual Internal competition such as Suggestion System, Quality Control Process, Quality Control Circle, and Innovation Idea as a pooled of initiatives that can be scaled up within organization and screen employees who has improvement and innovation project for annual innovation award.

Innovator team consisted of selected nine individuals across divisions, and divided into three team to create and implement value creation initiatives which sponsored by executive and board directors. The prominent result of the project such as FIFGROUP Mobile customer, an app to help customer access their personal information and valuable offering, FIF Safari, a fancy truck to help FIFGROUP get in touch directly with customer and help increase financial literacy across Indonesia. The Innovations reward, not only able to be competed internally in FIFGROUP, but also has an opportunity to be competed in Astra International’s competition, such as Innovastra, Jardines Pride in Performance awards, or new initiative from the group, the Innovates Jardines.

Merit Based Performance & Inclusive

In financial service, especially branch operations and marketing, most of individual performance can be tracked in a real time. Hence, most of them have some Key Performance Indicators to measure progress and achievement to perform their duty. Every end of year, each employee will be evaluated based on their performance and evaluated by executive committee.  There are some success stories in FIFGROUP, from an office boy, counter sales, debt collectors and surveyors, who started join the company from the lowest level of organization have been become middle managers and executive in the company quickly. Some common traits that I obtained during conversations with the successful executives was their Integrity, Determination and Strive Excellence to perform the duty is the key to succeed in the company. There are fast tracked programs for young and bright graduates from universities who has opportunity to join program such as Management Development Program and Junior Officer Development program to cater with proliferation needs of leader to be assigned across Indonesia.

As I mentioned earlier, FIFGROUP is a place to learn, work, and have fun. I have shared about the learn part. The have fun part could be a subjective matter, for me frequent business trips is the fun part of work at FIFGROUP, since for me business trip is not only for work, but also enrich my knowledge and understanding about Indonesia’s diversity, from foods, customs, behavior. Getting to know local leaders who responsible for profit and losses and learn about their success stories is also a refreshing and inspiring moment.

For the last two years, there has been more challenges faced by financial services sector, not only financing, but also insurance, and banking due to the advance of technology. Last weekend I had a diner with my friend who assigned to create an Insurance-tech Incubator backed up by Singapore government, some Asian Venture Capital funds also interested to penetrate into consumer lending company, given their experience for creating lending platform in China.

Every company should encourage Innovations, collaborations, and inclusions to cater fast paced changes, not only from within, but also outside-in by quickly embrace and adopt external innovations that could affect the business sustainability. As an example, in certain company, a new project, required 6 months, but in SPRINT methods, its only need 5 working days by encourage agile innovation and start-up way.

Companies also need to embrace the importance of growth strategy not solely on common business decision indicators, such as Internal Rate of Return and Net Present Value. When earthquake struck Jakarta last week, I was coincidentally had an enticing conversation with Prof.Djoko Wintoro, Director of Prasetiya Mulya Business school whom shared to me a bit of growth strategy, He said that current business practice which solely focus on short term performance indicator should be careful about the risk of upstart company which focus on growth and quickly deteriorate market share or has created a new market. We should ensure that our knowledge and skill is relevant for the changing landscape of financial service sector.

Coffeewar, 280118 22:05 PM

Soundtrack: We – Mamas Gun

 *The writing is based on personal experience and do not represent FIFGROUP.