SY Lau, Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent and President of its Online Media Group (OMG), delivered a speech and facilitated discussions at the Singapore Business Leaders Program (SBLP), under the topic of "Leadership in the Era of the Digital Economy."

Powered by more quantum leap innovations, the algorithm economy will ultimately further unleash the power of the digital economy, he said, pointing out the impact of disruptive technology on business and emphasizing that developing the right leadership is critical for businesses to succeed in Asia.

"Today, speed is everything. Speed-to-market has become a mantra of the new technology companies. Playing the waiting game with disruptors is risky. Great companies always have a way to know in advance if their business model and product ideas are at risk of being disrupted. Data analytics are important to track business health and consumer behavior metrics. At Tencent, we look at our product performance metric every day, not quarterly, not annually," said SY Lau.

Organized by the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI), Singapore's leadership think tank, SBLP is an exclusive program for a select class of business leaders from all over the world. The program is dedicated to deepening the understanding of leadership and human capital issues for a new and globalizing Asia.

In SY Lau's view, the knowledge-based, Internet-powered digital economy is always transformative, and sometimes disruptive. He believes that the leadership experience and knowledge that he has accumulated can provide business leaders with valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities they face, elaborating on three areas in particular: how disruptions are attacking, why customer centricity fuels innovation and how resilient leadership can help businesses adapt, and transform in the face of disruption.

"To defeat the disrupter, the best strategy is to concentrate on customer experience and value," said SY Lau. A McKinsey report on what Asian consumers want in a banking service indicates they expect more value, more control and more choice. This is especially true for generation Z (those born post -90s). The desire of these young people for immediacy and innovation allows for zero tolerance of any product or service that does not recognize their needs first and foremost. Simply put, business leaders must create a culture that is forward looking, that responds to customer demands quickly, and that can rapidly adopt new technologies as they evolve.

SY Lau suggested that business leaders take the following steps to ensure resiliency and to better navigate the organization through a dynamic and complex business environment:

  • Always create customer value. Only when you put the value to the customer first will commercial value be amplified.
  • Adopt a mindset that blends technology and economics. Use technology as a solution to eliminate redundant processes and intermediaries, directly linking supply to demand, and vice versa.
  • Always be open to change and competition. Focus on what your own company does best and gain access to innovation that can support or expand your organization's core market by establishing partnerships.

In closing, SY Lau emphasized: "Don't fear disruption - it is here to stay." The leadership, at the top, he said, must embrace and drive change, and get the organization to adapt rapidly enough, framing change positively, and painting a picture of the future.

By Tencent