On Leadership at ISTT

quoting by a report on Leadership by Towers Perrin
about “Leadership in Asia“:

“Leaders in Asia need a sound grasp of the three C’s: context,
content, and creativity. Thus far the first C has been emphasized, to
the almost complete exclusion of the other two. A couple of decades
ago, when markets were unsophisticated and relatively closed, the
availability of products from foreign multinational companies
was a novelty, and foreign executives with even a perfunctory
contextual understanding of the market and the business and cultural
moorings of the country in which they operated could make the grade.

That is no longer the case. As markets have opened and consumers have
grown more sophisticated, they have come to demand more in terms of
the value delivered to them. Understanding context is no longer
enough; now, leaders and their organizations need to excel at content
and creativity to be successful.

By content we mean a sound understanding of the foreign country’s
infrastructure and value chain, from product conception to delivery
to the client. For example, most multinational companies with a
presence in India envision the profit potential presented by a middle-
class consumer population of 250 million. But many of these companies
fail to take into account that only one-fifth of that number can be
reached through existing distribution channels. Companies that have
succeeded in India have built deep marketing and support networks in
rural areas. The best-laid plans of many consumer goods companies
have gone awry because of a lack of understanding of the
infrastructure and support mechanisms that allow products to be moved
from the manufacturer to customers.

To make an impact in markets around the world, leaders of global
companies also need to come up with creative, innovative ways to
reach out to customers. Companies with operations in foreign
countries often face stiff local competition. Fast-food chains, for
example, find themselves going up against local cuisines that are
entrenched through age-old tradition. The best approach is not to
resist or go against the grain of tradition but to find creative ways
to package products so they suit local tastes.

McDonald’s, for example, has introduced a vegetarian burger in India,
with considerable success.

In essence, leaders of organizations that have global operations need
to concentrate not just on external factors such as branding and
securing customers but also on internal factors such as building
organizational capacities and capabilities. The big challenge in Asia
is for leaders to fill the needs of various targeted populations
through mass customization without escalating costs unduly. Only
through a thorough understanding of not only context but also content
and creativity can they make that happen.”

In my personal view the most important job of a leader is to
articulate a vision…therefore a leader has to be a great story-
teller! This story and the promise of success is what a leader has to
constantly keep going back to his people and partners with. And only
if the story is powerful and moving enough with his people finally
make it happen.

So apart from the deep understanding of markets, industries,
operations and people the job of establishing a two way communication
is critical to a leader’s job. That is why (in my opinion!) a lot of
very good COOs never become half as successful CEOs 😦

But that does not mean all CEOs need to be charismatic personalities
like Richard Branson 🙂 A leaders job is often a paradoxical mix of
the hard and soft, the distasteful and the elevating and therefore a
leader needs to be paradoxical himself…think of great business (and
social leaders) and therefore this very paradoxical nature of theirs
ignites so much debate !

About Gautam

Gautam is a HR professional interested in how emerging technologies are impacting work, careers and organizations.

Posted on November 7, 2003, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 106820598917487168.

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