Up Close with Cheah Jia Ming, CEO of Golden Scoop Sdn Bhd

Cheah Jia Ming, CEO of Golden Scoop took on a primary leadership of the company at the age of 28 and according to him, that’s when things got real for him. He is lucky to have his mentor, who is also his dad, to coach him along the way learning the tricks in business. Jia Ming, a Gen-Y,  has his own management style and disagree on the authoritarian management style. He is more of a results-based, collaborative, example-setting and affiliative management style.

  1. How would you describe your management style?

I suppose I do not have a specific management style, instead I do what I think is effective and right for each particular situation. To try to describe, I would say I am more of a mixture between results-based, collaborative, example-setting and affiliative management style. As long as my team are clear with the objectives and are able to deliver results, I am not to fuss on the detailed decisions that they have to make. I also believe in leading by example, do it, show them, and there’s no reason they can’t do the same. Being a gen-Y myself, I am well aware that authoritarian management simply does not work in this day and age if a company wants to stay relevant, collaborative management is the way to move forward.

  1.  Who inspires you the most and why? How have you incorporated that into your daily life?

It will have to be my dad who’s also the founder and owner of this company. For a man who has brought in an ice cream brand that sells for RM2.50 31 years ago when Nasi Lemak Bungkus was still RM0.50, survived through 1997 Asian Financial Crisis when USDMYR went from RM2.50 to RM4.50 per USD over a few days (More than 70% of our product cost is in USD); it says a lot about his vision, courage, will power, and passion. He is still very much involved in the business and I am still learning from him everyday. I see it as him sharpening me into a sharper knife. I will usually take in quite a fair bit of his advice but not the authoritarian part of it.

  1. How do you see your organization changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating/being a part of that change?

For the past two to three years, my organisation has undergone tremendous changes in terms of human capital, working environment, culture and technology. It was needed as we grew quite fast post-2008 without adequate foundation in place, it’s a mammoth task for everyone in the organisation, some have even dropped out during the process. For the next couple of years, it would be gratifying to see the collective effort bear fruit. The data that we have on our business, built and collected in the past 2 years is already helping us in terms of quick and informed decision making. And of course, continuous improvement and changes will continue to be the constant.

  1. Tell me about an accomplishment or a memorable incident that shaped your career.

I took primary leadership role of the company at 28, that’s when s**t got real for me. I am still working hard to make it an accomplishment and a memorable incident, I shall revisit this question in 3 years time. Fingers crossed.

  1.  What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I was not ‘encouraged’ to have ice cream from Baskin Robbins’ competitors when I was a kid; and now I strongly discourage my wife to have them too. Is that a surprise? No?

  1.  What book are you reading or podcast you most recommend?

I am not a good reader. I prefer short and non-fiction reads. So I made it a habit to have a WSJ, HBR or Monocle around my bed or when I travel.

7. What do you do for fun?

Normal stuff. Traveling, snowboarding, Coffee with friends. Netflix.