Jack Yan
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Speaking at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications, Pune.


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What I believe: being a leader isn’t about isolating people, it’s about engaging.

It’s about having sufficient context from your experiences to understand what causes things to go wrong, and what ingredients create success.

It’s also about living as a global citizen, to treat everyone, regardless of where they are from or what their belief systems are, equally and fairly. Venturing to a foreign land on a holiday does not make you a global citizen. Adapting to and learning from others does.

Leadership, too, comes from having that international edge: if you have an understanding across cultures, you are more open to best practices from all sources, rather than relying on insular thinking. Too many slip on this front: they see their main competitor as the next biggest city in their own country, for instance, when there’s not much excuse, in an interconnected world, to not set (or exceed) a benchmark with the best in the world.

It is having a mind that is critical enough not to accept things that are taught to you at university wholesale. A technocratic viewpoint is not the only viewpoint for the 21st century. In fact, we are moving to a collaborative era, one where citizens are more mobilized—and need to be heard. This requires a leader who understands not only business, but has an ability to understand the technological implications, bridge our many communities, and, importantly, engage our youth.


‘Jack Yan puts Antipodean success down to a “genuine, value-based, and slightly anti-establishment approach … Given that it’s that much harder to start a presence in other nations … you have to outthink those with money,” says Yan. This entrepreneurial spirit is matched with a positive outlook and reflected in how SMEs are managed. Fluid and fast-moving, the companies mirror the constantly changing nature of the web. “I like organic,” says Yan, “with no fixed hierarchical structure.”’

Claire Scobie: ‘On top of the e-world’, Professional Manager, January 2003