Transforming Asia’s Businesses: Redefining Leadership in the War for Talent

Asia Pacific is a diverse region with a unique mix of economies, all at different stages of maturity and growth. Mega trends such as the rising middle class, rapid urbanization and the growing population within the economically productive age bracket are tilting the global economic center of gravity toward Asia Pacific.

Yet, such growth may be inhibited by the relentless war for talent that is occurring within the region. According to the Manpower Group’s annual Talent Shortage Survey, 51% of Asia Pacific employers had difficulty filling job vacancies, consequently costing companies more and more, creating an urgent need to find other ways to attract, motivate and retain talent.

I recently attended a talk and presentation by Dan Pink at the EMC Global Leadership Summit. He suggests the best motivators for employees are autonomy, mastery and purpose and I fully agree. I believe we need to redefine the way we lead and manage our people given that to win the war for talent we will need to be able to attract, retain and develop our people. This will strongly depend upon our ability to provide values-based leadership. The future leadership model will be people-centric. It will be about influencing and supporting people to achieve great results rather than the old model of directing with command and control.

Nowhere in the world is this shift in leadership required more than in Asia Pacific. With Asia Pacific’s diversity in geography, market maturity and scale, there is no one leadership model that fits all countries within the region. Leaders will need to find and embrace new ways of influencing and engaging their people.

No matter which industry or what size of company, I believe that the number one priority for any organization is not the hardware or the software, but what I call the “wetware” (because people are made up of 90% water). By placing people at the center of your business, empowering them with great leadership examples combined with great processes and technology, we can attract and retain great talent and in turn build a high performing organization.

At EMC, our people are known for their passion in learning, innovating, helping our customers/partners and achieving great results.  In the diverse Asia Pacific region, I believe that we can set the benchmark as a great employer by continuing to redefine our EMC leadership model so that we can win the war for talent and help companies take advantage of both the 2nd and the 3rd platform of IT.

In Asia Pacific and across the world winning the war for talent will be crucial for our ongoing success. To achieve this, our leaders should work on redefining their leadership model by leading with balance.  By balance I mean, when leading and managing people, balance the use of your Head (thinking) and your Heart (feeling), and always be prepared to make the tough/right decisions.

As Pink so clearly described, having our employees be highly successful and engaged with EMC comes down to us creating the leadership example that supports our people achieving autonomy, mastery and purpose in their roles.

I believe that by Leading with our Heads AND our Hearts and by having the Guts to make tough decisions, we can create the right environment for success.

Lead with your Head, Heart and Guts.

About the Author: David Webster