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Monday, January 22, 2018

Breaking into the Global C-Suite: Advice for Asian Executives from Medtronic’s Chris Lee

January 12, 2018. Shanghai – As multinational companies become more diverse, there are more opportunities than ever before for Asian talents to have a seat on the global management team at multinational companies. Chris Lee, Senior Vice President and President of Asia Pacific for Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company, shared his advice with local managers on how to better prepare themselves to grab these leadership opportunities.

Using examples from his own experiences in climbing the corporate ladder — Lee is the only Asian member of his company’s senior global leadership team — he offered steps that both established professionals and students can take to begin thinking and acting like a leader in order to prepare a path for being able to take on this kind of role. His thought-provoking talk attracted an attentive audience of over 400persons.   

Lee described the characteristics of a global leader, and noted that while talent certainly contributes to success, it isn’t the only factor. Education and experience are also essential. Besides knowledge and skills, global leaders must also be trustworthy, caring, and open-minded and respectful of unfamiliar cultures, while also maintaining their own cultural identity and appreciating its advantages.

He also discussed why there are relatively fewer Chinese leaders at world-renowned multinationals compared to those from other Asian countries such as India. Lee emphasized the necessity for China to cultivate more global leadership talents, and encouraged the audience to reflect on what the possible hindrances may be. China is one of the hottest markets in the world, and holds enormous potential and opportunity for ambitious executives. However, Lee said that successful business executives in China must consider the question of global leadership and make a concerted effort to increase the number of Chinese in the upper management ranks of global companies.

Quella Fang
Janine M. Coughlin