“Making change — one community at a time”
Allan Yong, Ecolab Senior Vice President and Southeast Asia Managing Director, learned the value of hard work at a young age. His late mother, a tailor who rose from poverty, instilled in him the importance of education and persistence, while remaining honorable and focused on the greater good.
Ecolab is the global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services, helping customers succeed while protecting people and vital resources. In 2019, the company has helped customers save 206 billion gallons of water (roughly the annual drinking water for 712 million people), reduce water and energy footprint of 40% of the world’s petroleum production. Ecolab cleaned more that 40 billion hands and keep 1 billion clean hotel rooms.
Ecolab’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in Indonesia include safe drinking water implementation in a boarding school in Probolinggo; assistance for earthquake affected families in Sulawesi; and community shelters and water pumps for disaster relief in Lombok. In Bandung, the company ran a community volunteer program, partnering with a hotel group to educate boarding students on proper hand-washing techniques.
Yong took his mother’s instruction seriously, graduating with double majors in Finance and IT from Melbourne, Australia, followed by an EMBA in Erasmus, Netherlands and executive courses at IESE and Harvard Business School. He takes a 70-20-10 approach to lifelong learning: 70 percent on the job, 20 percent mentoring/coaching, 10 percent training and coursework. He joined ECOLAB in 2017. Since then, ECOLAB Indonesia’s growth arrow has pointed upwards.
Yong has learned to make teams central to any business activity, ascribes as much as possible to the build, borrow, buy approach to team development: build your own team, borrow from others, and finally, buy external talent only if needed.
Yong describes himself as a servant leader, emphasizing authenticity and humility. Yet, with time, his style continues to evolve with the faster pace of business, technology and operational complexity. “The new generation of talent requires a more engaging leadership style”.
Ecolab has always emphasized safety and sustainable business operations. As the company invests in Indonesia, acquires customers, stretches across geographies and implements global technologies locally, it places a premium on growing local talent. While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed profound challenges to customers and opportunities, Yong is determined to continue putting people first, reaching for new ways to collaborate, moving forward, so that when business conditions stabilize, Ecolab will be stronger.
“Servant leadership is one of the philosophies least ascribed to management in secular organizations, but it has worked wonders when put into practice with a leader like Allan Yong.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group