Best Companies for Leadership | Asia
Asian companies lead the world in innovation but moving away from ‘directive’ leadership styles could unleash even more performance. Mohinish Sinha and Vanessa Cen
Regional directors, leadership and talent, Hay Group
Already expert innovators, Asia’s Best Companies for Leadership could become even stronger with an evolution in leadership styles.
Leading Asian companies are no strangers to innovation, the key theme of this year’s study. Top 10 companies Samsung and Tata, for example, are both notable for recent breakthrough products like the Galaxy Tab tablet computer and the Nano ultra low-cost family car.
So it’s no surprise that Asia’s Best Companies for Leadership are better at celebrating innovation and recognizing the discretionary effort that helps it to happen. At these companies, trying out new ideas and receiving credit for achievement is twice as likely to happen than at peer firms.
Strikingly, Asian Best Companies for Leadership are even more prepared than the global top 20 (71 percent vs 65 percent) to postpone short-term profits in order to invest in innovation.
This “willingness to improve” reinforces findings in Hay Group’s paper “Leading Asia: it’s time to change the rules”, which identified openness – to new ideas, cultures and practices – as a key competency of Asia’s best companies.
It’s an openness which means geography is no barrier to the best companies. This year’s survey revealed that in 84 percent of the Asian top 10, leaders are more productive when in different locations, something that happens in only 49 percent of peer organizations.
However our study also reveals that leadership could still be holding Asian companies back. Even in the top 10 Asian companies, you are five times more likely to need formal authority to lead than in a global top 20 company, where almost everyone is expected to lead. Moving away from ‘directive’ leadership to more delegated decision-making leads to better engagement and motivation, which in turn helps drive innovation.