Catherine Zhu, Managing Partner of Egon Zehnder in Hong Kong, writes a monthly column in the careers section of the South China Morning Post, the city’s leading newspaper. Aimed at current and aspiring leaders, the columns share Catherine’s perspectives and experiences on everything from embracing social media, to preparing for senior management interviews, to cultivating leadership qualities such as courage and resilience.
The following articles were originally published in the Classified Post’s Career Doctors section and are presented here with its permission.
In recent weeks I met with business leaders of contrasting backgrounds who are grappling with different challenges, and I came away convinced that large and small firms can and must learn from one another.
More and more people are working extreme hours, especially in Hong Kong. So it was refreshing to meet a senior executive who is reversing this trend – and achieving greater performance as a result.
Big innovators like Alibaba and Airbnb get a lot of attention, but the truth is that most companies struggle to innovate at the pace and scale needed to keep ahead of disruptive technologies and rapidly changing customer expectations.
Women occupy less than one-tenth of all corporate board directorships in China. According to Egon Zehnder’s global board diversity analysis, that puts China behind most other major economies. We also find that less than 5 per cent of companies in China have female CEOs, slightly above the global average, but still a mountain to climb for women who aspire to lead.
Forecasters expect economic growth to remain stagnant in 2017, both in China and globally – and a new threat of protectionism around the world could stifle development for years to come. But don’t let that depress your career. Now more than ever, it’s time to adopt a growth mindset.
Alibaba yet again smashed its Singles’ Day shopping record last month, posting sales totalling US$17.8 billion in just 24 hours. The items sold included 100,000 cars – not something people usually buy online.
Women are woefully under-represented on Hong Kong’s corporate boards: only 11.6 per cent of board directors from companies on the Hang Seng Index are female.
Arecent trip to Shenzhen opened my eyes to the new leadership challenges that China’s globalising companies are facing – and the new opportunities they present to Hong Kong-based professionals.
I’ve recently been working to identify a CEO for a global internet company and have also spoken to two Hong Kong parents about their teenage children’s career prospects. Both conversations reminded me that we should look at a broader set of experiences when we seek tomorrow’s leaders.
From the Brexit vote in the UK to the rise of isolationist and nationalist movements in many other countries, recent years have seen an unmistakable backlash against globalisation.
Digital is fast transforming the way we interact, shop, work and experience the world. And it is disrupting business – unleashing huge growth and value for some companies and industries, and threatening others with extinction.
Chinese companies are going global–fast. In the first quarter of 2016, Chinese buyers were responsible for foreign acquisitions almost equal to the entire value for 2015.
Recently, a successful entrepreneur approached me for advice about his daughters, who are both in their 20s.
These are testing times for Hong Kong’s economy. The Hang Seng Index closed below 20,000 recently – a three-year low.
Individuals seeking to make an impact on the world need to think big, says Egon Zehnder consultant Catherine Zhu in a blog posting for cpjobs.com.
In its 50 years of statehood, Singapore has dreamed big and achieved remarkable success, says Catherine Zhu, Managing Partner of Egon Zehnder in Hong Kong.
Family businesses are the bedrock of the economy in China, says Catherine Zhu, Managing Partner of Egon Zehnder in Hong Kong.
In what could be a watershed moment for Hong Kong, major companies are looking to hire young, inspirational, tech-savvy candidates for their most senior roles.
Relentless focus on quarterly results means many leaders struggle to reflect on long-term strategy.
Few family businesses outlive their founders. Those that do cultivate “family gravity” – an ethos, long-term roadmap and talent plan that embrace the next generation.
What characterizes outstanding leaders? Courage, determination and resilience, writes Egon Zehnder consultant Cathering Zhu in a blog that relates her encounter with one of Japan’s few female CEOs.
It’s no secret: today’s business environment is characterized by greater uncertainty and faster change. But how are Chinese companies responding when it comes to choosing their leaders?
Why do many companies encourage executives to focus on their weaknesses, when building their strengths is what makes a difference to the bottom line? "Leaders with extraordinary “spikes” in one or two areas can generate huge value – even if they are average at other skills", writes Catherine Zhu, a consultant at Egon Zehnder, in SCMP.
Social Media engagement of executives, digital, transformational leadership.
Engage to succeed
Mutual dialogue with customers and stakeholders is necessary today – and a recipe for success.
Women: it’s your choice to lead
Women are in demand and can lead if they are able and willing, but this “is a delibaret choice – and entails sacrifice” - featuring Board Diversity Results in Hongkong from an EZ study.
Show you can lead
The importance of developing a vision and show deep curiosity for new challenges.
Keeping it fresh
The benefit of cross-industry hires (with respect to digital developments e.g.)