May 20, 2020

Asia edition of Business Chief - June edition out now!

Mercedes-Benz
Sony
Oliver Wight
Ve Global
2 min
Asia edition of Business Chief - June edition out now!

We are pleased to announce that the latest Asian edition of Business Chief is now live and can be viewed here. This June, we have an issue jam-packed with insight for business leaders and news from Asia and beyond.

For our leadership feature this month, Jaime Pierre, COO for Asia Pacific at SaaS giant Ve Global, talks us through the company’s growth and how customer experience is evolving across Asian markets as technology developments continue to transform the region. 

Shedding a more global light on the subject, we asked Lloyd Snowden of Oliver Wight to talk us through the importance of value chains in sustainable business planning, and how we can make the most out of them to add to a business. Meanwhile, we caught up with Everbridge, a company which manages critical events from terror attacks and natural disasters to IT outages by using state-of-the-art software to keep businesses running and employees safe. Finally, looking into people management, Sony Electronics’ Head of Corporate Communications Cheryl Goodman is discussing the rise of women in STEM and how females can be encouraged to make it to the top.

Zooming back in on Asia, this month we are bringing the city of Mumbai into focus. As the most populous city in India, it is not only a hub for MNCs but also some fast-growing tech firms and a port providing a significant gateway to the East. We’ve also brought you an easy-to-digest list of the 10 financial services companies to watch in the region, based on their level of growth.

Be sure to take a look at our company profiles where we share the most exciting new developments for big businesses in the region. This month features Linfox, Cushman and Wakefield,  Mercedes-Benz Group, QNET and Sydney Motorway Corporation.

We hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, and as always welcome your feedback on Twitter.

Take a look at the latest issue now! 

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Jun 9, 2021

Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business

DigitalTransformation
AsiaSchoolofBusiness
smartskills
Leadership
Kate Birch
3 min
Teaching the MIT Sloan Executive Education program at Asia School of Business, Prof. Padurean talks innovation, smart skills and digital transformation

As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?

In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.

You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?

They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.

Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening. 

I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something. 

How important are smart skills in leadership today?

Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.

I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other. 

So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?

Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’. 

Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here

 

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