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Leadership & Talent in Asia : How the Best Employers Deliver Extraordinary Performance





Book: 'Leadership & Talent in Asia: How the Best Employers Deliver Extraordinary Performance'

Author: Mick Bennett and Andrew Bell

Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, 2004


Leader Values

This compact book holds a number of surprises. Its content is based on the “Best Employers in Asia” surveys, which were carried out by Hewitt Associates in 2001 and 2003 across ten Asian countries. So the leadership approach championed by Bennet and Bell is not just based on their own experience and opinions. It comes from the analysis of hundreds of thousands of questionnaires completed by employees and managers of hundreds of companies across Asia. Very few leadership books - or even Ph.D. theses - are based on this quantity of data.

The results of the surveys show that the Best Employers excel in providing focus and clarity of goals, developing the best talent, having a passion for outstanding achievement, creating a performance culture, and holding their people accountable for results. Of course, these findings are not surprising - they confirm what we already knew intuitively about the key elements of leadership.

But Leadership & Talent in Asia contains some unexpected information as well. The data analysis included objective business performance measures, so the authors were able to determine how big the penalty is when organizations fall short of their full potential. And as they state bluntly, “More organizations get it wrong than right - many more”. So we shouldn’t be too quick to assume that our own company is a Best Employer.

One reassuring finding is the fact that the Best Employers don’t just have happier employees; they also achieve better business results. The Best Employers achieve about 50% higher average annual growth rates than other companies. The strong correlation between being Best and achieving better business results is reflected in both revenue growth and profit growth. The message is clear; being Best isn’t just nice - it’s essential for achieving outstanding business success.

The main thrust of the discussion in Leadership & Talent in Asia is illustrated with many specific examples and case studies from relevant companies. Many of the examples are taken from surprisingly every-day type situations and leadership practices. We all do most of these things at least some of the time. But the Best do it consistently at all levels of the organisation. The goal is to achieve an organisational climate in which “values are more important than rules, where leadership isn’t about power, and where transparency rules over obfuscation”.

Detailed appendixes list the Top Twenty Best Employers in Asia overall, and the Top Ten Employers for each individual country. It is interesting to note how often China appears in the Asian Top Twenty list, and that the best employers include both local and international companies. Thought-provoking reading, based on hard data and interpreted with a good dose of common sense.

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