The Challenges & Opportunities in Asia Pacific

Mark Powell
2 min readFeb 24, 2020

We regularly reach out to our client base to get their views on a number of important issues affecting their leadership. Recently we spoke to Asia Pac leaders about some of the “regional” challenges they face leading across Asia.

Performance happens in “context” and we believe the themes below are of significant importance when advising and selecting leaders for regional Asia Pacific roles:

Key regional themes:

Complexity. A regional leader and business in AsiaPac face a number of complexities including multiple languages; different cultural nuances; regulatory uncertainty; large GDP growth variations, large variations in population trends — as some countries get younger and others older; and significant variations in talent pools.

Execution Intense. The higher growth rates across Asia encourage a transaction mentality ( to best seize the opportunities), and this results in senior leaders getting caught up in far more execution than perhaps they would elsewhere.

International “local” Talent is still a scarce resource. These are younger leaders and middle managers with an international mindset and experience. Given the scarcity of this “ type” of talent, talent movement can be disruptive for business strategy as International “local” Talent are often headhunted and shift frequently.

Pressure in Big Markets. There are significant expectations regarding revenue and growth in the big markets across Asia. This includes China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam.

Innovation & Disruption. International leaders are facing a shift in their own “sense-making” in moving efficiency frameworks to innovation frameworks, accommodating company-wide technology change, whilst also sourcing for new growth horizons and acquisitions.

Head Office Disconnectwith the reality of AsiaPac. It is not uncommon for the head office to see the GDP growth numbers in Asia and miss the challenges that come with operating an international business across Asian countries.

Relational distance. There is also often a greater “relational” distance between the regional leader in Asia and their head office line managers who may be deeply focused on traditional developed markets of Europe, the US, and the UK. We often work with leaders on how they can get a closer relationship with the line manager sitting in different time zones and with different perspectives.

We would be interested to hear back from our readers — what are you finding as significant and unique themes when leading across Asia?

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Mark Powell | XDirections

Copyright © 2020 Executive Directions Consultancy Pte Ltd

Originally published at on February 24, 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.