By Lisa Halim, Published on August 5, 2014 - posted in the SAP Business Innovation Blog


In the past couple of years, Big Data and mobile technology that powers social and business network have pretty much changed what we all once called ‘normal’, into one unprecedented and complex socio-economic landscape. With a region such as Asia Pacific, which has 86% mobile penetration rate, we are presented with opportunities to reinvent ourselves fast or become irrelevant. The keyword such as ‘transformation’ seems to be trending high not just on Twitter feed but in many industries agendas.

To sustain or support business growth, the transformational agenda needs to be fundamentally supported by the right organizational plan. Many companies are dealing with a key challenge such as transformation on their leadership structure (it’s not the same as management structure). The mission to build transformational leadership is not an easy one, as it’s not simply — structural. Most companies make a mistake by delegating this task to each team or let the management plan in silos without a clear direction.


Transformational leadership requires an aggregated plan, starting with people who possess the leadership style and ability to identify the needed change. A group of these change agents will drive the vision and guide the change through inspiration with a full commitment of the team members. This level of leadership will propel goals that most organizations aspired to achieve, versus what we have seen today, mostly a group of transactional managers who are merely looking at changes for tactical & short term goals.


I extracted the following four key elements of transformation leadership that will remind us that transformational journey can start with something really simple:

Celebrate individual – Acts as a mentor or coach to the members of the team, listens and gives empathy and support. This also encompasses the need for respect and celebrates the individual contribution that each team member can make to the team.

Intellectual stimulation – encourage your team to be innovative and creative. The leaders focus on the “what” in problems and do not focus on the “who” to blame.


Inspirational motivation – Leaders with inspirational motivation challenge followers to leave their comfort zones, communicate optimism about future goals, and provide meaning for the task at hand.


Idealized influence –Transformational leaders must embody the values that the followers should be learning and passing on to others. If the leader gives respect and encourages others to be better, those influenced will then go to others and repeat the positive behavior, passing on the leadership qualities for other followers to learn.


I think we don’t have to look far to ignite these leadership elements, look around us and start bringing forward the change that will drive us to our goals.