An interview with Patrick Tan, Chief Representative for Moet Hennessy
There’s one Malaysian in Cambodia who focuses on the spiritual side of dealing with people, whether business or personal, with considerable success both with his staff and his work.
“If you cannot share with a sincere heart, people can sense it,” said Patrick Tan, chief representative for Moet Hennesy in Cambodia, a leading brand in champagne and cognac.
“People can sense how genuine you are so the genuine heart is very important. The first thing is you should be very genuine and sincere to people because this is long term. This is not one time service. This is not a one time meeting. After you see someone today, then you have to see him again. People can sense if you are not genuine.”
Tan and his small staff work at Attwood Center and supply all the outlets in Cambodia with Moet Hennessy beverage brand names. Tan’s outlook is philosophical and he often uses Chinese proverbs to
illustrate his points.
“You must not think about getting advantage from people. You must give people what you have. You must teach and share what you know for people, not keep to yourself. People want to learn from you. The same is true in business. You must help your partner and share your knowledge and show your sincere heart for them.”
In addition to his work at Moet Hennessy, Tan helps people who have problems, emotional or physical. He’s a generalist about the causes of suffering and has spent time learning from Buddhist masters in Thailand and many years of other study about healing and he knows how to help people solve health problems and have success in dealing with other people.
“The primary concern is not how much profit you make with a deal. If you think like this, thousands of people are doing the same thing and you are not special. If you want to be successful, you must be special and people can recognise you and people can help you,” Tan said.
Don’t worry that others could be promoted above you, Tan says. “Sometimes people are not sincere; they worry that others might become better than themselves. I don’t think so. It is more powerful to share. If I teach you, I learn more. If I teach you I will learn more than what I teach you. I will give myself to learn some more. A lot of people don’t have success because they don’t change, they don’t improve themselves and they don’t keep on learning. In Chinese they say don’t stop learning in our daily life."
Tan always says “everything comes from you” and he makes it a priority never to get angry with people. “I don’t get angry with my people around me or my partners. The first thing you must think is why they do that: they must have some reason, so you must try to analyse it and you must try to solve it for them. You must reveal why I didn’t do it.”
Tan says if you tell people honestly, you won’t lose face.
“Some people say you will lose face. Face is nothing,” he said.
“If you staff is not performing up to your expectation, you must tell them properly. You cannot just accuse them or punish them. You will create problems again. Maybe you can give them some good examples, show them things one by one, explain what we have achieved, and what we should do to achieve the next step,” he said.
“Don’t tell them you are no good, you are so stupid. You tell them you can do it, it is a matter of if you want to do it, if you are ready to sacrifice to do it or not.”
Tan also thinks that while the past is relevant to learn from, it is not entirely useful in the ever-changing situations of the present day.
“What you learn in the past is not necessarily a hundred percent of you can use now. The world is different now. You must change. You must learn a different way, change a new tactic of working, of handling things.”
If you treat others as if they were your family, unselfishly, happiness will come your way Tan says.
“You must treat everybody like your family people, then you will be happy. People will protect their family first.”
Another important rule for Tan is mindfulness of others, thinking three times about what you are going to say before you say it, in order to guard against saying the wrong thing and hurting someone without being aware of it.
“Sometimes you don’t know if you have hurt people, and then they might not help you. Sun Tzu says you should think three times before you act. Once any words come from you – you cannot change them. Anything that comes from your mouth, you cannot put it back in. If a fish does not open his mouth, he will not get hooked.”
Another point for the spiritual generalist Tan is to train yourself to be calm and not to say anything unless you have something constructive to say.
“Sometimes people talk just to make everybody think they are clever. Don’t do that. If you don’t have something good to say, say nothing. People won’t criticise you if you are so quiet. You must be very calm, like with how to train yourself to be calm.”
For Tan the first priority is not money – it is happiness.
“Money is not the first priority to me. To me I think the most important thing is to feel happiness. You try to get away from all the worry and unnecessary stress and your life will be happy. If people see you so stressed, and see the anger in your face, they want to get away from you. They can see the anger in your face and they don’t want to talk to you.”
Even though he is an ethnic Chinese Malaysian, Tan says it does not matter where he lives. For Tan, Cambodia is his home and he’s as happy to be here as he would be anywhere else. He regards it as important to learn a new culture and adapt to a new culture, but be the same in yourself.
The most important thing, according to Tan, is never stop learning.
“You cannot stop learning. Don’t think, oh, now I became the managing director, I’m very good. You must learn, do more observation, do more learning from the environment – and think what is the best thing to service in the present environment, what is the best to serve our company.”
Tan says you should show loving kindness to people and you will get it back.
“Show loving kindness to your surroundings, and they will say this is a good person who can help people and he would like to share with people. Then you can create this kind of energy around you.”