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APAC Leaders are Not Ready for the Digital Age, According to New Korn Ferry Research

April 11, 2018 Business News No Comments Email Email

Korn Ferry today announced findings from an in-depth research, which finds that leaders across APAC are not yet digital-ready and risk derailing digital sustainability initiatives by perpetuating legacy ways of working.

The report, titled “Digital Leadership in Asia Pacific”, analyzed the leadership profiles of more than 9,000 leaders from eight APAC countries and territories and compared these profiles against the traits, competencies and drivers of great digital leaders[1]. The countries and territories involved in the study include: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea.

“With disruption now the norm, future success depends on the ability to continuously adapt and change: not just with the business model but a culture change on a grand scale,” said Michael Distefano, Chief Operating Officer, Korn Ferry Asia Pacific. “The role of leaders in activating people to support change is therefore of utmost importance. But first, leaders must personally transform to inspire and engage their people and create a more open, agile and networked culture to power performance,” he continued.

Across the region, a few bright stars such as Australia and India, fare relatively well against the profile of a great digital leader. However, much of APAC, is struggling with the scale of change required and looking for a way through the complexity.

Snapshot of digital leadership in Hong Kong: Well positioned to engage and inspire people but stifling the spirit of entrepreneurial thinking 

Business leaders in Hong Kong see the great market opportunities that flow from digital sustainability yet many continue to struggle with what “digital” looks like for their organizations.

Hong Kong leaders show great strength in their capacity to engage and inspire. They are well positioned to motivate their people to achieve success in a digital future. However, there are significant gaps in other dimensions between when Hong Kong leaders currently are and where they need to be to make the most of their ability to engage their people.

However, Hong Kong leaders have a strong preference to operate in a very structured environment, currently hindering leaders’ ability to provide inspiration and cultivate innovative thinking. Hong Kong leaders show a high level of discomfort with ambiguity which limits their capacity to manage and adapt to changing conditions. Increasing their comfort level here will be essential for leading in the digital age and will also help them to develop a strong vision for the digital future of the enterprise.

May Knight, Managing Director, Korn Ferry Hong Kong, said: “Organizations in Hong Kong understand the importance of digital sustainability and are willing to invest significant fund. However a lot of leaders are still struggling to understand what they can and cannot do. Creating alignment at the organization, prioritizing leadership and investing in the next generation are three key ways to kickstart the shift to a digital mindset. I believe businesses in Hong Kong have a great opportunity to get this right from the start.”

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