We had a wonderful evening with our hosts from GE. Dr. Adil Dhalla, Director of R&D, Singapore Water Technology and his colleague joined us for a delightful evening of food and conversation. Dr. Dhalla shared more about the lifestyle in Singapore and his experience as a recent émigré having arrived just a year and a half ago to launch the new GE R&D center here. He’s found it to be an incredibly hospitable environment for public-private collaboration noting the highly ethical and efficient Singapore government. Dr. Dhalla is very excited about the progress his team has made in getting established and says that they are energized by the opportunities to partner with their host facility, the National University of Singapore.
I was interested to learn whether Dr. Dhalla had any unique management strategies that would help him navigate the incredibly diverse team he has assembled here. He says one of his most effective strategies running a facility here in Asia is to ensure a collaborative decision-making process. Before making any significant decision, he engages his staff one-on-one to hear their points of view. Once he’s gathered feedback, he makes the ultimate decision. However, in the event his decision conflicts with what he’s heard from any of his staff, he takes the next step by explaining his decision one-on-one to those who’ve taken a different position. Dr. Dhalla says that it may seem like it takes more time, but he’s found that moving ahead without addressing disagreements directly can actually require more time in the long run having to address resistance. It also ensures that staff feel invested in providing their feedback in the future since they know that he will listen and take their feedback into consideration.