Wednesday, November 11, 2009

People Are The Same Everywhere

"People are the same everywhere," was the conclusion of Marc Ketzel, VP for Human Resources in Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets for Yahoo! and recent guest speaker in my HKUST leadership course. With responsibilities for over 2,500 people across 12 countries, he told us that leading people is more similar than different across countries and cultures such that global leadership is understanding some “universal” truths more than worrying about particular differences. He went on to point out that it was always better to offer people choices and alternatives (especially when working upwards) so that a collaborative solution could be achieved.

Marc indicated that it was important for an organization to define what leadership means. This allows organizations to (1) communicate what great management and leadership looks like when leaders at any level are at their best; (2) set clear expectations on the role of managers and leaders; and (3) use (at every level ) to qualify and select leaders, recognize and reward them, assess and calibrate leadership talent, build/buy training and development programs; and create individual development plans to strengthen leadership capabilities.

He also explained that individual’s also needed to be aware of their personal leadership brand or what they stand for. In his own case, Marc talked about operating at three levels: business strategy, human resource strategy, and the tactical execution of strategy. Key values for him were having a global perspective, emphasizing communications and building and sustaining trust by making sure that there were “no surprises.”

All the best,


1 comment:

  1. I'm curious, in your time in Asia and elsewhere working with the LPI, have you noticed any cultural differences in frequencies of leadership practices?

    In particular, it seems to me that in certain cultures, particularly in parts of Asia or anyplace high on Hofstede's "power distance" that Challenging the Process would be less frequent and perhaps less valued (or even seen as a negative, especially if upward).

    In coaching three participants this week from Japan on their LPI's, that seems plausible (though it's small sample size, of course!).