Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winning ( Chapter 9 ) Change - Allan Zeman, the chairman of Ocean Park

The American President Barack Obama uses the word “Change” in his speech quite often. However, I didn’t choose Obama as a topic in this chapter. I would like to introduce the Chairman of Ocean Park in Hong Kong. He is known as the Father of Lan Kwai Fong and the mouse killer from Forbes article in 2007. Firtly, let me introduce the 4 practices of change in Jack Welch’s theroy.
1)      Attach every change initiative to a clear purpose.
2)      Hire and promote only true belivers.
3)      Get rid of resisters.
4)      Look at car wrecks.
Allan Zeman is a Hong Kong businessman. He was born in Germany, raised in Canada. Zeman came to Hong Kong in 1975 to source clothing in China and export to Canada. In the early 1980s, he felt that Hong Kong had no western restaurant that suited his needs, he opened California Restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong. It is a narrow street in Central. In 1984, he started to be an entertainment operator and property developer of Lan Kwai Fong. Nowadays, this narrow street is one of the most important bar and night life districts in Hong Kong. He was the first guy to organize the Halloween concept from western festival to Hong Kong traditional Chinese culture. He changed a former garbage collection center to a nightlife hotspot of dozens bars and restaurants. At that time, who can figure out this guy can become the competitor of Hong Kong Disneyland.

In 1995-2004, Ocean Park was losing money, the employees were waiting for retirement pension fund. All the members in Hong Kong Government suggested to close down this theme park. However, Zeman was amazed by the mountainous seaside view and the traditonal cable car for the first time visit in Ocean Park. The first thing he did was usher CEO Randy Guthrie into retirement and replaced him with a 44 years old Tom Mehrmann. He had the experience of implementation of Warner Brother’s Movie World in Spain. Zeman’s primary focus on live animals, pitting dolphins, sea lions and pandas against Winnie the Pooh, Mulan and Mickey mouse. He rebuilt the facilities among the elements of ocean, environment, education and conservation. One of his winning team members is Randy Kalish, a former Disney executive who had helped to build Hong Kong Disneyland.

Besides, Zeman is concentrating on organizing special events every two months for holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year and Halloween. He applied the lessons in Lan Kwai Fong that Hong Kong consumers are hungry for the new Ocean Park. He aims to keep people coming back and having fun. In his world, there is only first class, he won’t accept business class or economy.

Most successful businessman and investor would like to take opportunities from regrettable circumstances. Allan Zeman has his own clear goal in Lan Kwai Fong restaurant business and Ocean Park management. The word change must be connected with a bright vision, hire the team members with passion and experience and having a sense of perceiving opportunities under any terrible situation.

Lan Kwai Fong forever

Ocean Park Halloween Party 2010

Allan Zeaman's document about Ocean Park in Chinese

Part two

aTV 香港百人 第四十六集 2011-5-10

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