5 Initiatives or Accelerated Performance

Mark Powell
3 min readJan 23, 2020

We regularly reach out to our client base to get their views on a number of important issues impacting leadership performance across Asia. Recently we talked to Asia Pac leaders about some of the “regional” initiatives that they are pursuing to unlock greater sustainable performance in their business.

The following emerged as key priorities:

Strategic Innovation

The role of technology is the key to this, however, so are changes in business structures and systems, both formal and informal. One key challenge is that innovation continues to bump into legacy business paradigms. Leaders that accelerate performance seem to be doing so by paralleling a transition to new platforms, with continuous improvement in legacy businesses.

Re-Thinking Client Engagement

Employee engagement is giving way to Client Engagement again. Client engagement “efficiency” is often the key driver to digital transformation. However, there are also broader engagement practices that link into the seamless use of multiple channels — old and new. At a more fundamental level, high performing businesses are engaging with communities through CSR initiatives, and this social engagement remains important in Asia.

The Capacity of Leadership Bench Strength

Over the next decade, leadership bench strength will become a foundation for genuine competitive advantage as demands on leadership will be much greater and more complicated. Change will accelerate, and the tension between human systems and machine systems will become a major leadership challenge as will generational difference. Smart international leaders are putting up their hands to acknowledge the need to change their mindset and approach. Development of future leadership capability is being accelerated through new forms of support (coaching, mentoring and counselling) as well as new forms of learning (gamification and online tutorials).

From Performance Management to Performance Coaching with Data

Our own “research” dialogues highlight that Leaders who use a coaching style, are well placed to accelerate a culture of high performance. However, many organizations are still stuck in the old groove of performance reviews which do little to shift sustainable performance. We are also witnessing the temptation to use data and or key metrics as the only basis for assessing performance. However, as the demands of future leadership will be nuanced, subtle, and often immeasurable, this approach could be limited. Many organizations have yet to think through the strategic connection of how a coaching culture can combine with the use of key data, to provide a jump in sustainable performance.


Performance leaps are already taking place through the purpose lead, empowered team, matched with a collaborative leadership style. Increasingly execution will happen through project and boundary-spanning teams with interdisciplinary capacity. These teams will be highly diverse and under pressure to deliver quick results. However, at best estimate by our interviewees, not more than 1 in 4 senior executives stand out as effective leaders of high-performance teams.

What Now?

In considering the above initiatives we offer these key steps that may help you kick start some performance shifts

  1. Which of the above has the most relevance to your current business context?
  2. Who would be well placed to provide further strategic input and advice on such initiatives?
  3. What would you need to do now to commit to explore at least one in more detail?

Mark Powell | XDirections

Copyright © 2020 Executive Directions Consultancy Pte Ltd

Originally published at https://xdirections.com on January 23, 2020.



Mark Powell

Mark founded XD to help senior executives and their teams to rise to the challenge and become the best they can be by through coaching experience.