Corporate Governance

Many Thai companies seek outside leadership help

18 August 2014

Edwin Sim looks at a growing corporate leadership phenomena.

In the past few years, many companies in Thailand have gone outside their organizations by hiring independent industry experts to help them achieve certain business objectives.

Routinely, they draw on timely assistance beyond their own boundaries to pursue innovation, solve business problems including expansion.

They are accessing this expertise primarily from a large pool of global-perspective, Thai-experienced senior executives, many of who had stellar careers with multinational corporations.

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog article “CEOs sometimes need outside help” and a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School article “Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Mine Rescue” that provided tremendous insights into why large companies seek independent advice on certain critical issues.

Businesses now more complex – must move quickly

In his HBR blog article, author Brooke Manville explained why many large company CEOs are looking outside for assistance.

“The reality today is that businesses, governments and non-profits are so complex and often must move so quickly that in many cases, finding answers to difficult questions requires tapping experts, service providers and innovators scattered all over the world.”

Manville said Bill Joy, founder of high-tech behemoth, Sun Microsystems pointed out years ago, “no matter who you are, most the smartest people don’t work for you.”

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and Chilean mine disaster

He said Malaysian authorities’ initial failure to track and recover Flight 370 clearly shows how a “lack of outside help” can impede solutions during a crisis.

“National and airline leaders weren’t able to adjust to the fluid and complex situation by engaging external resources in the critical first hours and days after the plane’s disappearance.”

Although collaboration and coordination eventually improved, he said it still faltered at times.

Manville contrasts Malaysian Airlines initial failure to appease stakeholders with the Chilean mine disaster’s successful resolution.

In their Wharton study, “Leading the rescue of the miners in Chile”, Faaiza Rashid, Amy C Edmondson and Herman Leonard said Chilean president Sebastian Pinera immediately and effectively mobilized not just the critical government ministries and industry executives but also many outside experts from across the globe.

“Together the officials and engineers overcame unprecedented technical challenges and brought about a rescue that most observers hardly thought possible.”

Companies always facing critical situations

At every turn today, Manville said organizations face similar critical situations, including dealing with threats to their prosperity and survival. “Risks are poorly understood and countermeasures are unclear.”

Moreover, in today’s fast-moving competitive globalized environments, more and more companies and their CEOs must command action so that they can execute efficiently and most importantly capitalize on “fleeting” opportunities.

Experienced senior advisors

Here in Thailand, many companies have taken on global-standard, Thai-experienced senior advisors to help them their organizations execute mission critical projects.

Accessible expertise

These senior advisors are able to infuse deep, pragmatic industry experience and knowledge into projects that help short-cut learning curves and build credibility with clients’ teams or customers, and improve your projects chances for success.


They can be deployed at any pace and intensity over time and are particularly appropriate for projects that are too small or too fast for major consulting firms. Since the companies have complete control, no time is wasted on anything other than the analyses they most need.

Interim Leadership services

Companies can insert C-level or GM-level managers directly into critical roles, to fill key vacancies or assume leadership during a period of rapid change.

Instant leadership

Companies can access top-tier executives, on the ground—immediately—to fill a critical gap or solve an urgent challenge.

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