Jim Wagstaff is the Managing Director of Jam Factory Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based consulting and education technology firm. He is also an active judge for the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. In 2015, he participated in judging for the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.
We asked Jim about the Stevie Awards judging process, what it is like running a business in Singapore, and for his insight into the contrasts between working in Asia-Pacific and the West.
A Strong Endorsement
Jim would most definitely recommend being a Stevie Awards judge to others. As he told us: “I was initially invited to be a judge by someone who is a friend and colleague. The judging process really gives you a sense of the variety and creativity in how companies are approaching business challenges and opportunities in various parts of the world.”
Jim Wagstaff has called Singapore home since 2007. He had been living and working in Shanghai for a number of years when an opportunity to relocate to Singapore with Hewlett-Packard came up. Since 2010, he has been the Managing Director of Jam Factory in Singapore. We asked him about his decision to relocate to Singapore.
“There were a number of professional reasons I chose to move to Singapore,” Jim explained. “The job, the breadth of the role, and a promotion … but also, from a personal perspective, I really enjoy the quality of life in Singapore: the year-round warm weather, the food, the location, and the concentration of so many businesses’ regional headquarters in one city.”
The Asian Century
Jim is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in business administration with a research emphasis on cross-cultural leadership and organizational development. We asked him if he could provide us with some insight into differences between the ways companies operate in the Asia-Pacific region that Western businesses should be aware of (and vice versa).
Commented Jim: “As an American who has spent half my career in various cities in Asia, the need for cultural intelligence and cross-cultural leadership skills has been close to my heart for quite some time.”
“As a source of research, study, and practice during my doctoral studies, there are a few important points for anyone looking to do business internationally … but especially in Asia, or moving out from Asia,” continued Jim. “The twenty-first century has often been characterized as the ‘Asian Century.’ Rapid economic growth in East Asia has created opportunities and challenges for multinational corporations, particularly Western multinationals. Western businesses have largely been predisposed to using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to management in their international locations. This strategy can pose a number of particular cultural contradictions for team members in East Asia.”
Working Outside the Cultural Comfort Zone
“My research has uncovered a number of specific areas that can be used as a model for leadership development by local, regional, and global managers,” Jim explained. “The model centers on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to align, relate, and communicate more effectively by anyone who needs to work within and outside their own cultural ‘comfort zone’ in a multinational environment–particularly as a local subsidiary of a Western multinational company.”
Solving the Tough Issues
With the start of a new year, we asked Jim what he most looked forward to in the year ahead. “I love working with my clients,” he told us. “Since moving out of HP, I have become an entrepreneur and an active board member in a number of companies. The variety of work and its challenges really keeps me motivated. I am constantly looking for opportunities to help my clients solve their toughest issues … cost, complexity, process, organization, leadership … and to put them in a better position to be successful in their markets.”
About Jim Wagstaff:
Jim Wagstaff is the Co-Founder, Managing Director, and Content Guru of The Jam Factory in Singapore. Jim leads the consulting part of the business, and has a wealth of experience in executive roles in various companies. He loves working with clients to help them identify their learning needs and map their plans so as to positively impact their business. He also leads content development, and has designed many training programs for different customers and industries.
Jim also serves as Managing Director of Renewtrak Asia, a fully managed, white-label renewals platform-as-a-service where the business model is 100% focused on helping clients increase their service contract renewals at no additional operational cost to the client. In addition, Jim is an active board member at Up 2 Speed Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based organization focused on crafting customized learning and development approaches for multinational and global companies.
Jim was previously Vice-President and General Manager of the StorageWorks Division for Hewlett Packard in Asia Pacific and Japan. His responsibilities while leading this business unit encompassed all aspects of the organization including sales, marketing, finance, operations, public relations and analyst relations, delivering around $800 million in revenue annually.
Prior to HP, Jim was at Dell in Shanghai, where he was General Manager of the server and storage business for China and Hong Kong. Jim was also responsible for Dell's alliance with EMC across Asia Pacific and Japan.
Jim has a BSc, an MBA, and is currently a doctoral researcher in the management school at the University of Liverpool with emphasis on the practical application of cross-cultural leadership approaches in multinational corporations. He is a runner and loves to travel.
About Jam Factory:
The Jam Factory enables businesses to enhance their workforce through training and development. Jam Factory provides learning and enablement solutions to businesses and professionals. The company believes in an integrated learning approach that is interactive and engages learners. It enables businesses to leverage technology to enable employees to learn, experience and engage. For more information, go to: www.jamfactory.net