When will Vietnamese entrepreneurs go global?

March 13, 2017 - 17:00

It will take another five to 15 years for Vietnamese entrepreneurs can become global business leaders, according to a study by the Human Capital Leadership Institute.

Vietnamese and foreign executives chat on the sidelines of a panel discussion on business leadership in HCM City last week. — VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — It will take another five to 15 years for Vietnamese entrepreneurs can become global business leaders, according to a study by the Human Capital Leadership Institute.

The study, “Leadership Mosaics across Asia,” sought to discover the different ways of leadership in Asia based on the in-depth conversational interviews with 165 top executives in nine countries -- China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Việt Nam.

It found that while Việt Nam’s business leaders are able and adept at dealing with situations of volatility, their general lack of exposure to other cultures and approaches hampers their potential for global leadership.

Speaking at a panel discussion in HCM City last week, Su-Yen Wong, HCLI’s CEO, said there are four very important factors in assessing the readiness of emerging Vietnamese leaders to become global leaders.

The first is being able to deal with complexity because regional and global roles are much more complex and ambiguous.

The second factor is the ability to build relationships across external and internal organisational boundaries.

The third factor is the ability to adapt.

“When you take on a regional or global role, regardless of where you are, you need to work with different types of people, with different styles, different assumptions, different histories; so you need to be able to adapt cross-culturally.”

The fourth factor in becoming a regional and global leader is the personal aspiration to move across borders.

Talking of the advantages Vietnamese business leaders possess, she said “One of the aspects that Vietnamese leaders do very well based on our research is the ability to drive complexity. This is something that Vietnamese leaders should focus on leveraging as they go into other markets to expand their businesses.”

Tiêu Yến Trinh, CEO of Talentnet, said there has been a good evolution of high-level human resources in the past five years, with an increase in the number of Vietnamese taking up high positions in large foreign companies in Việt Nam.

But Vietnamese need some more time to accumulate experience to take on regional and global roles, she said.

To become global business leaders, the first step is recognising the importance of being global, having global experience and developing a global mindset, Su-Yen said.

The second is being open to various kinds of experiences, which could be relocation or working on regional projects, and this can help learn how to become adaptable, she said.

Phạm Hồng Hải, CEO of HSBC Việt Nam, saying leaders need to be positive and persistent with their vision and purpose, called on Vietnamese to connect and support each other to go global.

Attendees said as Việt Nam continues to integrate globally, it is imperative that its senior business leaders prioritise corporate governance, professional management, employee up-skilling and scaling up their business effectively.

Praneeth Yendamuri, managing director of Kimberly-Clark Vietnam and Indochina, said while it may be some time before Vietnamese global leaders emerge and achieve critical mass, senior executives should focus on leadership development and take accountability for building the next level of leaders.

Trinh said Vietnamese are very talented, intelligent, hardworking and willing to learn.

Young Vietnamese leaders should strengthen their regional and global networks and visit other countries to be more confident about connecting with the world, she said. — VNS