New Report from CCL Pinpoints Roadblocks in Developing Future-Fluent Asian Leaders


The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)® in partnership with ADP, a leading global technology company providing human capital management (HCM) solutions, conducted for the second year in a row a report, Developing Future-Fluent Asian Leaders: Myths We Must Debunk. Surveying 248 Human Resource (HR) leaders across Asia, the research uncovered the critical challenges and 7 false beliefs dominating the leadership development world that HR leaders must rectify in order to develop future-fluent Asian leaders.

The ever-changing context of our world has only shed light on the widening gap between the current leadership development practices, and the skills our pipeline of Asian leaders need to navigate the challenges of the future. The need for refreshed leadership development is more pronounced than ever before.

“We may be facing the greatest disruption of our lifetime, but it also serves as an opportunity for the human resource function to review current leadership development practices with an objective lens,” said Elisa Mallis, CCL Managing Director and Vice President, Asia-Pacific. “It is time to renew the function, to prepare the next generation of Asian leaders to step up for the upcoming challenges and new reality.”

“During these times leaders across the Asia Pacific region are critical in their businesses,” said Peter Hadley, President, Asia Pacific, ADP.  “It is easy to focus on immediate challenges. It is equally as important for leaders, while managing the many near-term issues, to ensure you maintain your focus on building for your organization’s future success – developing talent pipelines, leveraging employee strengths, continuing to deliver on diversity and inclusion, and building leadership capability at all levels in the organization.”

Challenges in Developing Future-Fluent Leaders in Asia

As Asia’s GDP is set to grow and contribute to about 60% of global economic growth by 2030, HR functions in organizations will have to develop leaders that can not only deal with the here-and-now challenges, but also proactively prepare organizations for the recovery quickly.

The biggest challenges respondents identified were linking leadership development initiatives directly with business (48%) and ensuring the longevity of behavioral shifts beyond the physical classroom programs (48%).

Leadership Development Myths

While addressing the challenges, HR leaders must also demystify the 7 commons myths that exist in the HR function, in order to develop leaders at the pace that is required to lead in this new world. The report also offers a guide to debunk the 7 myths, summarized here:

  1. Myth #1 – Asian leaders are harder to develop to take on senior global leadership roles: Organizations must curate compelling development plans to create a strong pipeline of global Asian leaders, as the problem is multifaceted.
  2. Myth #2 – Leadership development efforts should primarily focus on top-level executives: To maximize ROI on development initiatives, leadership development programs must happen across multiple levels in the organization.
  3. Myth #3 – Organizations can have one uniform approach to developing leaders across different regions, countries, contexts: For maximum impact, leadership approaches must be tweaked to suit an Asian context.
  4. Myth #4 – Attending [only] leadership courses will make you a better leader: For maximum impact, leadership development must happen outside of the classrooms as well.
  5. Myth #5 – HR can lead and execute a leadership development agenda without top leader team/board buy-in: HR must find sponsors in senior leadership in order to roll out effective leadership development plans.
  6. Myth #6 – Effective leadership development can happen irrespective of the organization’s culture: Focus on creating a leadership development culture.
  7. Myth #7 – Online/digital learning is less effective: Digital learning can be equally as impactful if designed well.

Access the full report, Developing Future-Fluent Asian Leaders – Myths We Must Debunk, and our webinar with ADP, Myths We Must Debunk About Leadership Development in Asia.

Research Methodology

A total of 248 senior HR leaders across Asia took part in the Learning and Development Status in Asia survey as part of this report. Quantitative data was supplemented by 28 detailed interviews of HR leaders working for Western and Asian multinational corporations (MNCs) and local enterprises in Asia.


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