Twice a month, NewCampus has been hosting roundtables for regional business leaders across a range of fast-growing industries.
Last month, we had the honour of hearing from contributors at the helm of hypergrowth companies across Southeast Asia. With diverse perspectives from healthtech, eSports, F&B, finance to HR tech - this intimate group shared personal experiences and offered insight on helping first-time managers in scale up in their respective domains.
We presented them with the challenge, “How might we design an accessible leadership programme for hypergrowth companies in Asia?”
Here is a summary of what was discussed:
1. Traditional management programmes don’t fit hypergrowth
Companies in a hypergrowth phase are in the process of scaling rapidly, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over 40%. In the real world, figures can be 10x that. Based on the Financial Times’ 2021 list of High Growth Companies in Asia Pacific, businesses that crack the top 10 posted CAGRs within the range of 237 to 422%.
Traditional management programmes leave much to be desired in the way of growing organisations at this pace. The exclusivity of institutions, cost and time commitments involved in pursuing formal qualifications can be barriers to learning.
Contributors also discussed how courses often fail to address the nuances of hypergrowth in South East Asia. Industry focus tends to be different in the Asia Pacific region where most growth leaders are in technology, while globally the financial sector is at the forefront. Culture is also a matter of particular significance in the context of startups and the region's diversity.
Key Takeaway: Design management training from the ground up to maximise relevance to our region’s cultural context and diversity
2. High growth requires leaders with even deeper human competencies
Discussing the scope of the ideal training programme for leaders in the thick of a rapidly scaling phase, it was apparent that management fundamentals are important but must be supplemented by very specific skill sets for best results.
Essentials involve building structures for recruitment, performance management, career development, virtual team management, resource management and wellbeing.
Three areas for advanced scaling competencies are:
- Self-development: Learning through self-reflection, seeking mentorship, developing confidence
- Communication: Aligning with organisational goals, managing up and down, asking the right questions
- Culture-building: Creating environment of psychological safety, building inclusion beyond teams, cultivating growth mindsets, embracing change, managing mental health proactively
Key Takeaway: Focus on scaling competencies in self-development, communication and culture-building
3. Learning is accelerated by practical, real-world application
The value of theory and frameworks are widely acknowledged. However, they are most impactful when applied to real-world scenarios. Beyond case studies, participants find collaboration with peers extremely educational. Alumni groups and discussion forums create avenues for leaders to gain wisdom from the experience of others and see how frameworks are adapted to different situations.
Engaging in these conversations also prompts learners to reflect on their own experiences and articulate their challenges and successes in the process.
Key Takeaway: Create opportunities for first-time managers to put theory and tactics into practice, such as temporary assignments, projects or initiative.
4. Sustaining momentum maximises gains
The roundtable participants envisioned training programmes to run in sprints between 2 and 6 month periods. This could be deployed through a variety of methods, including videos, training sessions and peer to peer interactions.
Most notably, regular coaching sessions or check-ins occurring weekly or fortnightly were deemed essential. These can sustain momentum while establishing habits of reflection and accountability for long term development.
Key takeaways when upskilling leaders for hypergrowth
- Create 2 to 6 month programmes
- Set regular coaching sessions with space for reflection and application
- Cover management fundamentals and embed advanced scaling competencies
- Encourage leaders to connect with peers for learning continuing across careers
- Enlist for roles or opportunities to hone scaling competencies
- Maxime Chaury - Managing Director Indonesia for Flash Coffee
- Jane Guo - Senior Director - Head of Analytics & Insights for ONE Championship
- Adrian Chew - Global Expansion Senior Manager for Homage
- Ryan Dwana - Head of Product Marketing for Stockbit & Bibit.id
- Alka Gupta - Director for Data & People & Found Team Member at BukuWarung
- Christoph Jourdan - Area Vice President (APAC Solutions Consulting) for Sprinklr
- Kong Lee - Head of Operations at Novelship
- Shang Trinidad - People Experience & Operations Lead (APAC) at Intellect (YC S21)