Transcript of "Indonesia the Next Great Exporter of Leadership Talent?, HQ Asia Issue 5/ 2013 "
LEADERSHIP: THE BIG INTERVIEW: BEYOND BUSINESS: TECHNOLOGY:INDONESIA. THE NEXT KOH BOON HWEE’S LESSONS FROM THE BEST BUSINESSGREAT EXPORTER OF REFLECTIONS ON MILITARY APPS FOR LEADERSTALENT? 42 LEADERSHIP 70 LEADERSHIP 78 ON THE MOVE 86REDEFINING BUSINESS LEADERSHIPSURVIVING THEVUCA WORLDThe building blocks of successW W W. H C L I .O R G ISSUE 05/2013 ISSN 2251-387-6 Singapore SG $18 Malaysia RM 35 Australia AUD $18 Hong Kong HK $99 India INR 250 9 772251 387001 Japan JPY ¥1,200
hat kinds of leaders do you need for your W current and future business? Good listen- ers? Strong facilitators and collaborators? Leaders with people skills and who can manage multiple stakeholders? Recent research by Dr Hora Tjitra of China’s Zhejiang University and his colleagues Dr Hana Panggabean and Dr Juliana Murni- ati from Atma Jaya University, Indonesia, suggest that these are the common strengths of Indonesian leaders. In a country that covers 17,000 islands and 300 different ethnic groups, Indonesians have long had to manage diversity. But, for Indonesia to over- come its current leadership shortage – let alone become an exporter of leadership talent – much more needs to be done. M A N Y G E N E R A L I S T S, F EW S P E C I A L I S T S Many Indonesians aspire for a generalist career rather than that of a specialist one. For example, there are more students who choose to be trained in general business management ﬁelds or the humanities thanINDONESIA in a speciﬁc science and engineering discipline. Sofjan Wanandi, Chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association, blames the country’s education system for this problem. Indonesia, he argues, encourages students to take too many disparate subjects, insteadTHE NEXT of promoting a focus on speciﬁc ﬁelds like engineering and physical sciences. There is perhaps an understandable reason for this preference. In the past, companies in Indonesia tended not to be big. Hence, these companies neededGREAT EXPORTER employees who could juggle many responsibilities rather than immersing in a speciﬁc ﬁeld. As such, ca- reer opportunities in Indonesia have tended to attract and reward generalists. Because of this, leaders were expected to pick upOF LEADERSHIP broad skills of the trade quickly. However, those who underwent a fast track career development programme found themselves not having enough time to build deep technical competence. Today matters are changing. There is a growingTALENT? demand amongst employers for specialists with strong technical skills. At the Global Indonesian Network conference – organised by Atma Jaya University and Alumni of Catholic Students in Europe – Hadi Kasim, CEO of Triputra Group, complained of the difficulty of ﬁnding workers with deep technical expertise.Everyone from McKinsey to the World Bank is Without strong technical skills in engineering andpredicting Indonesia’s economy to boom while the science, Indonesians often lack the credibility totalent shortage exacerbates. Mano Ramakrishnan progress in their careers. An exception to the rule isspoke with Hora Tjitra to understand how the former CEO of IBM Indonesia, Yaya Winarno Junardy.nation’s current shortfall of leadership talent Despite not having a university degree he rose to theneed not be permanent – Indonesia can be a great top because of his strong technical knowledge in com-exporter of leadership talent. And, here’s why. puters and software programming.42 H Q A S I A I S S U E 5 / 2013
LEADERSHIP eed for your C O M M U N I CAT I N G? Good listen- W I T H O U T I M PA CT ollaborators? A common misconception is thatnd who can Indonesians do not possess strongresearch by YOUNG English language skills. The busi-ersity and his INDONESIANS ness leaders whom Tjitra and his Juliana Murni- ARE TRAINED TO colleagues spoke to shared that a, suggest that COMMUNICATE Indonesians’ English proﬁciency nesian leaders. IN AN INDIRECT is comparable to their colleaguess and 300 AND CONTEXTUAL from other parts of Asia, likeve long WAY. THIS IS China. It is the way Indonesiansesia to over- craft their messages that puts et alone A RESULT OF them at a disadvantage. – much STRIVING TO As a result of striving to maintain MAINTAIN SOCIAL social harmony in their diverse cul- HARMONY IN ture, young Indonesians are trained THEIR DIVERSE to communicate in an indirectECIALISTS CULTURE and contextual way. In present- t career rather ing their strategy and plans, they e, there are have not been trained to structure in general their arguments based on data and anities than analysis. As such, they do not stand cipline. Sofjan out when compared to their otherEmployers Asian counterparts. tion system It is even harder to notice com- ncourages petent Indonesian workers when jects, instead they do not actively promote theirke engineering strengths. Modesty and humil- ity are important virtues for theeason for Indonesian people. The common n Indonesia Indonesian saying: “It is the matureanies needed rice plant that bends its head low” nsibilities speaks of mature individuals being. As such, ca- more humble. Take Adi Prabowo,nded to attract an Associate Director of Johnson & Johnson Asia Paciﬁc, as an example. to pick up Prabowo came from an upper-classer, those who family and studied in an elite school.ent programme Even as a young child, he wouldme to build sometimes choose to walk to school, rather than to be chauffeured in hisa growing father’s luxury car. What is regarded sts with strong as maturity and humility amongst n Network Indonesians is unfortunately oftenniversity and perceived as weakness in the West.– Hadi Kasim, he difficulty of ertise. LACKING AMBITION?ineering and Another challenge is that the ibility to majority of Indonesian talent seem o the rule is content with their current achieve-narno Junardy. ments and do not aspire to leavehe rose to the their comfort zone. IMAGE: CORBISwledge in com- One of their guiding principles is the Javanese concept of ‘nrima’. >> I S S U E 5 / 2013 H Q A S I A 43
In simple terms, it means if you want to live your life in Indonesia. No longer should organisations chooseto the fullest, you need not achieve more – but accept task-oriented leaders for these assignments. Instead,what you have now. Often misunderstood as an apa- they should prioritise expatriate managers with thethetic willingness to swallow everything, nrima actu- ability to develop others.ally promotes a positive attitude towards life, especial-ly in the face of adversity. Yet sometimes, this attitudecan hold Indonesians back from achieving top roles. G R A D UA L P R U N I N G FO R However, a strong motivator for Indonesians is collec- G R A D UA L B L O O M I N Gtive ambition. Many of the nation’s business leaders are Many organisations believe in throwing their highdriven by the ambitions of their organisations, rather potentials into the metaphorical ‘deep end of the pool’.than their own careers. And, these leaders are more than They assume that these high potentials will eventuallywilling to make sacriﬁces for the greater collective – be swim and build conﬁdence. Doing the same to Indone-it their organisation, town or country. sian talent may work less well, as Indonesians tend to appreciate gradual exposure and development through stages. We suggest the following course of exposure:R E C O M M E N DAT I O N SOvercoming the above challenges is important for Indo- Stage 1: Station a foreign leader in Indonesianesian talent to realise their potential, and for businesses This kind of opportunity allows Indonesians to experi-to beneﬁt from this new type of leadership. After conver- ence the complexity of cross-cultural management insations with many successful Indonesian leaders, Tjitra the comfort of their home country. Facing interculturaland his colleagues discovered a few approaches that difficulties at this stage is manageable, as they still haveorganisations can take in order to develop local talent. the social support of their family and friends. It is also recommended that Indonesian talent embark on this stage as early as possible in their career. The experi-E X PAT R I AT E M A N A G E R S H AV E A R O L E ence and mentorship from their foreign bosses willMany progressive companies in Indonesia are keen prove instrumental in developing their communicationto reduce their dependence on expatriate managers. skills and working styles.While this is generally helpful in empowering localleaders, companies should not go too far. Successful Stage 2: Take part in international assignmentsIndonesian leaders consistently attributed their devel- This takes Indonesians beyond the comfort of theiropment to foreign mentors. home to international regions. It could be either a short Some critical roles that expatriate managers play in assignment of up to six months, or managing projectsdeveloping Indonesian talent are: and virtual teams that span multiple countries. Such an approach allows Indonesians to gradually improve their cross-border management and leadership skills.thinking, data-driven decision-making and impactfulcommunication skills; Stage 3: Become global leaders This is the stage where Indonesians take up the chal-‘stretch assignments’ to develop them; lenge of leading in another country for an extended period of time (at least three years). Once successful,in an international environment; they will become role models who will inspire the next wave of Indonesian leaders. At this stage, it is impor-visible in organisations’ global networks. tant to deﬁne clear development competencies and goals, which the assignees will need to achieve at the Recognising the important roles that foreign end of their assignment.expatriates play calls for a change in the way multi-national organisations structure their international In 2009, the World Bank predicted that Indonesiaassignments. Often, such assignments are designed would add two million new workers into the economyas a means of personal development for expatriates, every year over the next 10 years. Imagine if the nationor for the setting up of new functions in local offices. could build just 1% of these workers into true globalWhile these goals are still important and necessary, it leaders – that would be a good start in not just alleviatingis equally critical to endorse clear objectives, such as leadership shortfalls in Indonesia, but elsewhere in Asia.developing local talent for global roles. Simultaneously, this understanding should alsochange the selection criteria for foreign expatriates Mano Ramakrishnan is the Head of Research at HCLI.44 H Q A S I A I S S U E 5 / 2013