Leaders should embody good digital thinking, integrate digital methods, and upskill their teams, says EY’s Jason Seng 2024.

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jan 31, 2024


In the contemporary business landscape, marked by its fast pace and ever-evolving challenges, the paradigm of leadership has undergone a significant transformation. Today, a more empathetic, adaptive, and people-centered approach is not just desirable but essential for success, especially within the dynamic arenas of Asian markets. Jason Seng, a seasoned People Consulting Partner at Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd., embodies this shift in leadership philosophy. Through his extensive experience and pivotal role, Seng offers deep insights into the evolving nature of business leadership in Asia, emphasizing the critical importance of strategic management and People Advisory Services for sustainable organizational growth.

Empowering Leadership in a Changing World

As a distinguished judge in the Asian Management Excellence Awards, Seng is in a unique position to observe and evaluate the shifting dynamics of business leadership across Asia. His insights are informed by a rich background in People Advisory Services and a broad international perspective, allowing him to provide valuable guidance to businesses navigating the complexities of today’s market.

The Pillars of Modern Business Leadership

Seng’s analysis delves into several key aspects of contemporary leadership, offering strategic insights and practical advice for organizations aiming to stay ahead. Among these, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) stand out as crucial organizational metrics. Seng advocates for a culture that genuinely embraces these values, suggesting actionable steps for companies to enhance their commitment to DEI:

  • Integration of DEI as an Organizational Metric: Promoting DEI beyond tokenism and embedding it deeply into organizational culture.
  • Conducting Meaningful DEI Training: Moving beyond basic online courses to implement training programs that foster a true mindset shift.
  • Facilitating a Mindset Shift: Utilizing DEI to strengthen both the workforce and the workplace, focusing on understanding rather than quota fulfillment.

Seng also highlights the importance of digital transformation, urging leaders to cultivate a digital-first culture and ensure their workforce is equipped with the necessary digital skills. This involves not only the adoption of digital tools but also the integration of digital practices into all aspects of organizational operations.

Strategies for Sustainable Success

In his role, Seng offers a roadmap for organizations seeking to future-proof their strategies in the face of digital transformation and global challenges. His approach to leadership and strategic management is multifaceted, focusing on areas critical for achieving sustainable success.

Key Leadership Qualities and Skills

Drawing from his extensive HR consulting experience, Seng identifies several essential skills and qualities for business leaders today:

  • Empathetic Leadership: Balancing organizational goals with the needs and well-being of employees.
  • Adaptability to Change: Exhibiting flexibility and resilience, especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Talent Development and Retention: Employing a people-oriented approach to nurture and retain key talent, enhancing organizational agility.

Seng emphasizes the necessity of creating a workplace culture that supports employee well-being, fosters growth, and contributes positively to society and the industry at large.

Enhancing Organizational Excellence: A Practical Guide

To provide a clearer understanding of the strategies Seng advocates, below is a table summarizing his approach to fostering organizational excellence:

Strategy ComponentKey ActionsExpected Outcome
DEI Integration– Report DEI as an organizational metric– Enhanced corporate culture and employee engagement
Meaningful DEI Training– Conduct in-depth training beyond basic webinars– True understanding and application of DEI principles
Digital Transformation– Adopt and integrate digital tools and practices– Improved operational efficiency and innovation
Workforce Upskilling– Focus on digital readiness and fluency– Future-proofed workforce
Empathetic Leadership– Prioritize employee well-being and development– Increased job satisfaction and retention
Adaptability and Resilience– Be flexible and responsive to change– Organizational agility and sustainability

Furthermore, to encapsulate Seng’s vision for leadership excellence, the following points highlight the core of his advice:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Must be deeply integrated into the organizational culture, not just as a metric but as a foundational pillar.
  • Digital Mindset: Leaders should not only adopt a digital-first approach but also ensure their team’s fluency in digital practices.
  • Continuous Learning and Development: Fostering an environment where continuous learning and upskilling are prioritized to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.
  • Empathy and Adaptability: Essential traits for leaders to connect with their teams and navigate through periods of uncertainty and change.
  • Talent Mobility: Encouraging the movement of talent across roles and functions to keep employees engaged and facilitate skill development.

Through his comprehensive analysis and actionable advice, Seng provides a blueprint for organizations aiming to navigate the complexities of the modern business environment. His insights underscore the importance of a leadership style that is adaptive, people-focused, and forward-thinking, highlighting the critical role of DEI and digital transformation in achieving sustainable success. As businesses continue to evolve in response to global challenges, the principles and strategies outlined by Seng offer valuable guidance for cultivating leadership excellence and organizational resilience.


Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.