The work that I do over here— primarily when it comes to leadership—is split up into two components: One is that the leaders need to have a certain level of understanding of the competency when they need to perform as a leader. On the other hand, it’s about building trust when working amongst themselves and while working with a CEO’s whole team as well. So this is the centerpiece of the leadership program that we are trying to build up in our organization. Along with this, we are also integrating what we call a cultural fit into this corporate organizational culture. In general, how can we make all this work together so that people appreciate how this organization works and how we work as a team together. So those are the areas mainly related to leadership that are happening currently at East West Bank.
What do leaders need to understand about diversity in the workplace?
Many organizations do not spend enough time to communicate; instead, they spend time focusing on their vision and mission and talk about their corporate values. How they use this value is how the organization typically functions. But those values are often vague to a certain point, such that a lot of employees have their interpretation when coming to the organization. An example would be integrity; many companies would talk about integrity, but only some articulate as to what they mean by that. Let’s say you have a thousand employees and all of them come into one company and they’ll all work together. You have a thousand household cultures coming to one organization with multiple ways in which they work and communicate within the organization. Now a lot of times, organizations don’t consider ‘not communicating’ becoming an issue, because of how it could lead to uncertainty in how organizations need to operate. This becomes a problem and gives rise to a lot of internal conflict politics. So those are the things that most organizations don’t pay attention to until it is too late. This, organizations need to spend enough time to communicate about the culture. So at East West Bank, we articulate as to what you mean by driving results. For instance, we tell people about our customer relationship and give people an example of what do we mean by that. So for a lot of the new employees coming to the organization, they will understand how this organization works and how people started to adapt to this environmentalong the way.
Technology helps everyone become more productive and comfortable for interaction, but it also brings up a lot of potential issues to be addressed
How has technology played an essential role in the evolution of the role of leadership?
Technology is an interesting topic related to people. More people move towards technology sites that use social media such as technology-related areas. On the other hand, when we talk about people, it is still a social setting that allow people to interact and communicate with one another.
It’s also important that when we talk about this technology, the overall technology industry, or the technology influencing organizations’ leaders, we must discuss how they function regularly. So technology helps everyone become more productive and convenient for interaction but also brings up a lot of potential issues with it. For example, a lot of people spend less time communicating with one another. It’s easy to pick up the phone rather than to go to the other person’s office to communicate. Soon, everyone’s exchanged e-mails, and they don’t have to talk too much about other stuff. And as an organization, when we look at it, we continue to leverage technology because it is a change that we know we should be. But on the other hand, we continue to enhance and encourage human interaction by building trust. But unfortunately, that would take years to have everyone work together. This is a critical thing, as is trusting people that you only met recently. So how do we create this trust quickly as a community, so that everyone can do something for others without worrying about the trust issues? Technology helps a lot sometimes, but also discourages this trust issue. And so that’s where I spend a lot of time focused on building trust among the leaders.
What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field?
To embrace technology is the key thing that all leaders must do. And then to anticipate that the technology is already changing our lives today and to understand industry and customer’s needs as well. Thus, most of the employees work for those leaders and probably also get impacted by all the technology. So for CEOs, to drive revenue growth and innovation, they need to understand the technology change today and then go forward. So we are into this five-generation workforce today. You may have the older generation that may not be as familiar with the technology today, but the rest of the four generations are well accustomed to these new technologies. So how would people interact, use, and understand technology could become a critical issue. For instance, when your team member sends you an attachment of the files that they prepare, then you need to learn how to open it and when you open it; you need to know how to read it. Then after you read it, you need to make recommendations. The question is, do we know how to use it. So a lot of times, these small things impact a lot. So the leader has to understand the market condition today and the total workforce.