[Test] The Importance of Collective Leadership
Sayf Ismail | Associate Director Corporate Development | Corporate Engagement
One of the biggest learnings of the ongoing COVID-19 saga is the importance of leadership. In particular, the crisis has exposed glaring leadership gaps.
In global crises, we seek leadership at the global, national, state, corporate, and community levels, and even within our own families. ‘Corona Times’ has thrust the role of leadership into the spotlight and shown the consequences of its lack.
On a national level, we see how crucial leadership is, as different leaders manage the same problem with vastly different results.
In business, we are starting to see the effects of lockdowns on enterprises and how they are coping with the new environment. Much is dependent on a company’s industry and financial standing. Those with larger reserves and longer cash runways will have a better chance of weathering the storm and coming out of this crisis intact.
As lockdowns in most countries have gone into month two and beyond, some businesses have closed, some have downsized, and others are in survival mode, but a few have pivoted, reinvented, and seem to be coming out stronger.
In the coming years, case studies of companies that came out stronger post COVID-19 will emerge. When analyzed, one of the common denominators between these companies will be the strength of their collective leadership.
Leaders (CEOs and senior managers) are chosen from a curated pool of world-class, highly capable, and experienced candidates. If this is the case, why can’t more companies with highly capable and talented CEOs and senior leaders weather the storm, pivot, reinvent and find their way through this COVID-induced crisis?
All Hands on Deck!
Senior leadership alone is not enough to pull a company through an economic crisis such as the one we are facing now. One man or even “a few good men” cannot steer a ship in this “perfect storm.” It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation, which requires the best crew with leaders in each and every department operating at near to maximum capacity to weather this storm.
To pull through, corporations need to have leaders leading and operating at each and every level of the organization. Collective leadership from top to bottom is what is required, not just inspiration from a CEO and the senior team.
The more leaders an organization has within its ranks, the higher its chance of survival, as it will be able to adapt, pivot, and implement faster than others. How many leaders an organization has at all levels is a vital determinant of whether a company can not only come out of this crisis, but come out stronger than before.
So, given that companies need to have more leaders within their ranks, how do you fill that gap in the face of a crisis?
Enter The Business School
Business schools were created to fill the leadership gap. They develop and nurture top talent into the leaders of the corporate world.
The top American Business Schools have been the breeding ground of business leadership talent that has seen American corporations lead global business and commerce since the turn of the 20th century. The graduates of these schools power the majority of today’s Global Fortune 500 companies.
In Southeast Asia, there are only a handful of institutions that are built on the proven principles of the American Business School model.
Asia School of Business (ASB) is one of the few, founded in 2015 as a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the globally renowned MIT Sloan School of Management and the Central Bank of Malaysia.
The vision is simple: to be a regional platform and hub that creates highly knowledgeable, principled, transformative, and market-ready leaders for corporations in Asia.
Creating Leaders on the Go!
ASB offers two routes to nurturing leaders for corporations in Malaysia and the region.
The first is the ASB MBA, an award-winning innovation adapted from the MIT Sloan MBA. Developed and delivered in Asia, this MBA takes Asian business practices, perspectives, and culture into account. It blends theory with practice, leveraging companies within the region as knowledge partners and “classrooms.”
The second is the MBA for Working Professionals (MBA-WP), which allows corporations to develop their top talent while retaining them in full-time roles. It is an integrated journey where candidates immediately implement MBA learnings within their organization while they are studying.
The signature “Action Learning” curriculum, which is inherited from MIT, requires a student to complete four specially defined projects in their own company within the 22-month duration of the course. The candidates spend roughly 25% of their time studying and the remaining 75% at work, applying their learnings.
These projects are defined and delivered using the MIT Action Learning framework and are facilitated by a dedicated ASB faculty member and business coach (seasoned ex-management consultant).
Major corporations like AirAsia (Malaysia), Sapura Energy (Malaysia), Phu Hung Securities (Vietnam), and Daiwa Steel Tubes (Japan) have sponsored their high-potential employees for an ASB MBA-WP in its inaugural cohort.
They are reaping the benefits as the program makes their employees consultants-in-training. Candidates immediately apply their learnings and work on delivering solutions within their companies as soon as they step out of each class.
Group Learning & Development
What if your organization needs to develop more than a few select leaders and requires an aggregated shift in mindset and capability? The answer would be to get in touch with the Executive Education arm of ASB.
On the 1st of Jan 2020, the Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre was integrated into ASB and is now known as the Iclif Executive Education Center.The Center offers a complete suite of leadership, management, and governance courses in open enrollment or custom-built formats. Courses can be as short as one day or could comprise a series of modules that build to an advanced certificate in management.
For larger groups, the Center can develop a customized L&D curriculum to achieve the strategic objectives of a company.
Plugging the Collective Leadership Gap
COVID-19 is here to stay until a vaccine is developed and deployed to the global population. The new normal is unpredictable, but what is certain is that the “old normal” no longer applies.
To remain competitive, organizations should adopt a strategy to fill their ranks with capable leaders at all levels. Asia School of Business was founded to support corporations to achieve this mission.