Leadership Tips from Asia

Practical career advice can be some of the most important and valuable lessons for anyone yearning to progress and move ahead in their job. Recently, we spoke to our leaders during a careers fair in Singapore and asked them for their honest tips on how to turn a job into a success full career.

On 14th September, in the build up to the Singapore Grand Prix Night Race, the Singapore regional office turned into a Formula 1 themed career fair. The objective was simple: to create an inspirational roadway for developing one’s career in GSK. Everyone who attended, whether a leader or not, came away with inspiring learnings to take with them as they think about their longer-term career.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward

Jo LeCouilliard, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Pharmaceuticals, Asia Pacific

Jo opened the career fair by sharing her long history with GSK, and how she used focus and determination to achieve her goals. Her advice was unconventional, passionate and inspiring. Other gems that she shared included:

  • The importance of simple communication. Being able to be understood and understand the people around you is key to building a successful career.
  • A career path is not always straight up. Think laterally, broaden your experience and sometimes you need to take a step back and regroup to get ahead.
  • Hold a mirror to yourself at every step of your career. Make sure you like what you see. If you don’t, change it.
  • Be ruthless about time management. There are only so many hours in a day for work and personal time. Make sure you use both to the maximum.

The best aptitude is a hunger to learn

Debjit Rudra, Area General Manager, Consumer Healthcare, South East Asia

He also shared two more valuable lessons which he said helped to shape his career

  • No matter what role you hold, there is always something to learn from it 
  • Be flexible and open to different opportunities – they won’t always come as you may expect

Paul Rogers, Head of Worldwide Real Estate and Facilties, Asia, echoed Jo’s tips on the important of unconventional moves in one’s career.

  • Lateral moves can be very valuable – keep an open mind and be open to opportunities that don’t involve a grade change to broaden your skills and experience.
  • GSK is great at providing opportunities, but GSK does not owe you a career – it’s up to every one of us to own our own career

If you can, move to a new country to work. The experience is invaluable.

Hanief Ardiasyah, Finance Director, Pharmaceuticals, Asia-Pacific

shared his many career postings in various countries, including the UK and Indonesia, and stressed the importance of exposing yourself to new working environments, cultures and colleagues.

  • Accelerate your learning by talking to experts and learn voraciously from them”
  • A leap of faith is needed when changing roles 
  • Consider what you enjoy and choose the roles accordingly.
  • You can't plan for everything; things can go wrong but don't give up.

These were the invaluable lessons and tips shared by the many leaders in Asia, and while there was much more said on how best to navigate careers and take advantage of one’s talent, the most important part of this session was dialogue -  a free flow of ideas and experiences creating a shared learning experience that was valuable not only to the leaders but to those seeking their advice. 

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