In his 20s, Aleks was known as the “PowerPoint Guy” who helped prepare presentations for the CEO of OMF Literature. A self-described “fly on the wall,” he strove for excellence. Find out why 12 years later Aleks is CEO of OMF Lit, the largest Christian publishing house in the Philippines.
Q: How did you invest in your career growth?
I did not. Well, at least not consciously. Although I did not plan on a career in book publishing, I believe I am where I’m supposed to be. When I was starting out, I just did what I asked to do as excellently as I could—and a little bit more. I researched and learned and did the job. Cliché as it might sound; passion does yield very good returns.
Investing in career growth is mainly the responsibility of the professional and not his or her organization. There are books (lots at OMF Lit!), and there are online resources like TedTalks and YouTube. In this age of accessible information, crowd-sourcing, and free content, there is really no excuse to stay ignorant or professionally stunted.
Q: Tell us about your experience with networking.
I am terrible at networking. I need to work harder at this, especially in my role as CEO. Initially, I did not place much importance on attending industry events (unless I had a part in the program) and cocktail parties where people traded business cards. Now I am more excited about one-on-one meetings to explore ideas, synergies, and intersections of purpose. I try to be more open and accessible. Networking has its value—even for a very introverted industry like book publishing.
Q: What have you learned from your setbacks?
I’ve made the mistake of expecting people to be like me—in the way I think, work, and act. Of course, modeling is key to leadership. But cloning and forcing people into a mold are another thing. It isolated me from the power of diversity and synergy. My people felt they were always trying to measure up to my standards.
The Lord revealed to me that this expectation stemmed from pride, self-reliance, and insecurity. I am learning to appreciate the differences among my managers with an eye for helping them grow professionally and use their God-given talents, and, yes, make mistakes and learn from them. These words of Martin Luther King, Jr have helped me as a leader: “Whom you must change, you must first love.” Love, I am learning, is the key.
Q: Any closing advice?
Wherever you find yourself working, be grateful, be a blessing, and be mindful of something much bigger than your paycheck—the Kingdom of God. Wherever you are, work for the Big Boss.
>>Learn more from Aleks Tan in MAI’s free upcoming webinar, “Selling Online,” June 17. Register online now.
>>Check out Aleks’ blog or Tweet him @aleks_tan
This interview was adapted by MAI intern Cristina Krahling from the original article by Mighty Rasing, with his permission. Read the complete interview.