Name: Kelferd Hor
Title: Vice President, Investors Digital Experience
Organisation: RHB Banking Group
Kelferd Hor is a Vice President, Squad Lead of Investors Digital Experience at RHB Banking Group, the 4th largest bank in Malaysia. He is a UK certified Chartered IT Professional (CITP) and Australia ICT Certified Professional (CP) with over 13 years of experience in technology start-ups and digital product management.
He leads a squad to deliver innovative and customer-centric solutions in the areas of Conversational Banking (Live Chat, Chatbot & AI) and Digital Wealth Management. He is passionate about creating value for customers and stakeholders through data-driven and agile methodologies. He also speaks at international conferences and roundtables on marketing technology and digital transformation topics.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Kelferd's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Managing stakeholders with diverse backgrounds through change.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
At home, as the eldest son in a family of 5, my parents wanted me to set myself as a good example to my younger siblings. I was told to be a leader without wanting.
At school, I was elected as 1 of the squad leader for the boys' scout society. I had the opportunity to learn how to lead better.
At work, thanks to my ex-colleagues and ex-bosses who believed in me. I was promoted as a young manager at the age of 26 in a tech startup. I became a leader naturally.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Woke up at 5.30am, breakfast at 6am，reading & listening to business news. Start work at 8.45am, lunch at 12pm, set boundaries to end work at 5.45pm. Dinner before 8pm, me-time before sleep at 10.30pm.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Good leaders create followers, great leaders create more leaders. Be lateral instead of hierarchical. Work as a team by providing direction and fostering team members to stand up for their ideas. Ultimately, be the human shield for your team.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
America's Most Successful Startups: Lessons for Entrepreneurs by Max Finger and Oliver Samwer. Oliver Samwer is the CEO and co-founder of Rocket Internet, a tech incubator company that I used to work for.
The common reason startups fail is poor product-market fit. However, 1 of the most overlooked aspect is poor leadership.
My biggest takeaway from the book is leaders need to be passionate about their mission and vision. You need to be a strong believer to believe in what you are trying to achieve and the 'fire' in you will inspire and motivate your team members to excel in a fast-paced environment.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be humble when you are at the top and do not look down on others. The person you look down today might be the person you look up tomorrow.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Leadership is all about people, teamwork, and trust.
I tend to seek validation from others when I was a young manager by doing almost everything alone. Eventually, I was exhausted, I failed, and I was plagued with self-doubt. I was a bit hesitant to go hands-off for the first time, but the second time was a lot easier, and by the third time, we were already celebrating the success!
It took me a while to realise that magic happens when I put trust in my team members.