Rick Yvanovich, founder and chief executive officer of Profiles International Vietnam that provides people assessment solutions, stressed people can become great leaders if they get right education and training. Yvanovich clarified his point in an interview with the Daily after a “DNA Leadership” workshop the company held in HCMC last week. Excerpts:
Corporate leaders can be coached to greatness
Rick Yvanovich Rick Yvanovich, founder and chief executive officer of Profiles International Vietnam that provides people assessment solutions, stressed people can become great leaders if they get right education and training. Yvanovich clarified his point in an interview with the Daily after a “DNA Leadership” workshop the company held in HCMC last week. Excerpts:
The Saigon Times Daily: How could you say anyone can become a great leader, and what are the requirements for them?
- Rick Yvanovich: Extensive research of more than 500,000 leaders over a period of nearly 20 years has shown that there are certain behavioral characteristics that great managers/leaders have. The research has identified eight universal management competencies linked to 18 sub-skills. The competencies are communication, leadership, adaptability, relationship, task management, production, development of others and one of the most important ones, personal development. Since these are behavioral characteristics they can be taught and learnt, and thus managers and leaders can be coached to greatness. Great managers and leaders are those people who are able to execute them constantly and consistently.
What are the competencies you think Vietnamese corporate leaders lack, and what are their weakest and strongest points?
- We have noticed that a lot of Vietnamese managers and leaders when asked come up with a lot of task orientated things as opposed to the behavioral characteristics that are needed. It’s not necessarily a lack of skills rather than a lack of the correct education and coaching. As we keep on saying that managers and leaders can be built, we just need to know what the characteristics needed are and then train on them, but if you do not know what they are in the first place then that’s a big obstacle to overcome. The strongest points: I’d say building personal relationships, seeking personal improvement and displaying commitment. The weakest: I’d say working efficiently, taking action and thinking creatively.
Many young people in Vietnam have set up their own businesses in recent years. Were they born with the gene to become corporate leaders?
- We do not believe that people are born with a ‘leadership gene’, but it’s a matter of nurture rather than nature. Thus the good news for everyone is that leaders can be made. However, examining the leadership characteristics we have identified some could argue that possibly some people have a greater or lesser natural ability in a few of them.
You must have heard that many young Vietnamese people become leaders of the businesses established by their parents. Were they born to be business leaders?
- One would say that these people are born to take over the businesses their parents and relations have established so in that respect if the business is to remain family owned and run, they are born to be the corporate leader of those companies.
Is there any chance for such business leaders to get success and be able to compete on par with other leaders who have much business experience and expertise?
- One needs to be very careful not to pre-classify or pre-judge people with any prejudice. Just because the leader of a family-run business is a relative of the founder does not mean they are a good or bad leader. Since great managers and leaders can be built they have as much ability to achieve greatness as anyone else.
In his best seller book ‘The 8th Habit,” Steven R. Covey said: “Inspirational leaders choose to be inspirational leaders - they make the choices that enable them to become inspirational leaders.” In our DNA Leadership workshop we very much highlighted that people can be armed with the knowledge of what makes a great leader.
But it is their choice whether they choose to execute and display these leadership characteristics on a constant and consistent basis that will result in being perceived as great or not.
You say personal development is one of the most important universal management competencies. So, what should Vietnamese corporate leaders do to enhance this?
- Anyone who has ever tried to play a sport or watches athletes knows that you do not become good or great at a sport or as an athlete without training. Even the world’s best at something today will wake up tomorrow and continue training. We refer to this as “raising the bar”, and athletes know that they need to always improve on their best. Managers and leaders also know that to achieve greatness they have to train hard and hone their skills, just like the athlete. They also know it’s a lifelong journey. Thus personal development is one of the universal management competencies.
Reported by Mong Binh