Under the theme "CEO Challenges in 2012", a panel of Hong Kong-based business leaders featuring Travelport's Asia Pacific president and managing director Simon Nowroz, CLP Power Hong Kong managing director Richard Lancaster, and JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong general manager Mark Conklin provided insights and perspectives across different business sectors.
The presenters unanimously agreed that chief executive officers should be highly principled, uphold the core values of the companies they lead and be responsive to advice from others. They should also be good listeners, committed to company and self improvement and foster employee engagement while ensuring the company behaves responsibly.
According to Conklin, for companies to retain and motivate talent, CEOs need to encourage a culture of trust, influence and integrity. "The goal of a leader should be to bring out the best in people, inspire a shared vision and enable others to act," said Conklin, who has been with Marriott Hotels for 30 years.
He said Marriott Hotels' strategy of referring to staff as "associates" generates a sense of partnership. He cited feedback from the Hong Kong Marriott Hotel Associate Survey, with 94 per cent of replies indicating high levels of engagement. "Associate satisfaction translates into guest satisfaction," Conklin said.
Nowroz said the challenges CEOs had experienced over the past two years are a warm-up for challenges ahead. "The ability for CEOs to adapt to unleash growth and reinvent the economy is more important than ever," said Nowroz.
"Incremental steps are not working. We need risk to come back into our businesses to inspire customers and companies," he said.
To engage and offer career growth for staff at every level, Nowroz believes companies need to trim bureaucracy. He told the audience of CEOs and human resources professionals that one of the most important developments needed in the workplace over the next decade is for companies to understand how people think to drive creativity and innovation. "We are taught to think, but not how to think," said Nowroz.
He said it is vital for CEOs to create an environment