Zul Othman

As one of the first books to collectively address the challenges faced by many multinational companies in their Asia-Pacific operations, Redefining Leadership is - in a word - insightful.

There is no greater risk or reward than leading a team across borders to do business. Authors Gerry Davis and Stephen Langton - seasoned business consultants - are well aware of this.

They say there is no magic formula for success in the fast-changing Asia-Pacific region. But to thrive, firms have to be culturally sensitive while working with the same multinational mindset of their executives. This is increasingly important, the writers argue, as international barriers to workforce mobility decline and the net to catch outstanding employees is spread across national borders.

One way to increase productivity is through constant dialogue. Reviews of executive practices need to be done regularly to stay competitive.

And bosses should not be tyrants in the process. "Keep your mind clearly focused on the future for your people," say the authors. "Offer them the opportunity to clean up for themselves. Forgive those who falter initially. They are probably doing the best they can". The same also applies when companies hand out promotions.

It is an often repeated mantra but the writers note that a happy worker is a productive one.

Messrs Davis and Langton write: "Ensure open communication. Honestly address concerns. Being open and transparent will go a long way toward bringing issues into the open and retaining people".

Also included in the book are insights into regional markets - such as the growing domestic and international economic might of China and India.

"Asian business is coming of age at a time when technology and globalisation are rewriting the rules for 21st century businesses," say Davis and Langton.

From TODAY, Business –Monday, 15-Jun-2009

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