Intuitively creative

ASEAN country business leaders are more creative and intuitive than their Kiwi counterparts, also according to Thornton’s IBR International survey.

The survey of 3400 business leaders from 45 countries asked how important they thought certain personal attributes are to good leadership. They almost all agreed on the importance of integrity, communication and having a positive attitude. Confidence and the ability to inspire also ranked high.

However, cultural differences seemingly impact leadership styles and not everyone is aligned on the importance of creativity and intuition. According to Thornton, nine in 10 ASEAN leaders think creativity is important while just 62 percent of responding New Zealander leaders felt similarly.

Intuition is considered an important leadership attribute by 85 percent of Asian leaders compared to only 66 percent of Kiwi counterparts. The survey suggests that Asian leaders are more “modernist” while New Zealand leaders are more “traditionalist”.

There’s some dispute over whether leaders in developing Asian markets will become more European-like as professional services become more important to them or, whether our managers will become more creative and intuitive in order to emulate Asia’s superior growth rates.

A separate Grant Thornton study on Chinese Leadership ( finds that chairmen of Chinese companies are deliberately blending imported and home-grown management techniques and approaches to create a new “Chinese Way” of leading, rather than merely copying Western styles.

“Decision-making based on analytics is in vogue now, and certainly represents progress in many areas where managerial decisions have tended to be made in the past on ‘gut feel’. But there are still many decisions in business that, either because they relate to future possibilities or because they involve trade-offs of competing value-based alternatives, can’t be reduced to data and calculations,” says Tim Downes, national managing partner at Grant Thornton New Zealand.

“One could argue that those are the very decisions – the ones requiring creativity and intuition – where leadership is most called for when seeking a competitive edge. In a fast-moving, digitally-powered world, creativity and intuition could be the difference between gaining ground as an innovator and getting left behind.”

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