BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL held a ‘CEO Speaks on Leadership’ on April 22 at the Joseph Wibowo Center, showcasing the career of Indonesian airline industry star Emirsyah Satar.
Emir is well-known for his success in making Garuda Indonesia one of the most well-respected airlines in the world. He shared his success stories and tips for leading a company to the audience. Around 100 people were in attendance, a mixture of students and members of the public.
Emir started his story by describing his professional journey. Graduating from an accounting program, he worked in several big companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Citibank and Bank Danamon. He has been an accountant, auditor, and financial director.
Having worked in the banking and finance industries, Emir joined the airline industry, accepting the post of Financial Director in Garuda Indonesia. The condition of the company was not good at that time. Emir needed to work hard and he faced problems in almost every sector. The biggest problem was in the finance department, but Emir was an expert in that field. He could solve the problems, and gradually the condition got better. Ultimately, Emir was appointed Chief Executive Officer and President of Garuda Indonesia.
Under his leadership, Garuda Indonesia soared. He not only succeeded in solving the problems of the company, but Emir also raised Garuda Indonesia’s status to one of the most respected airlines in the world. Garuda received many awards and personally, Emir also had many awards, like Best CEO 2013, the Best Innovative CEO BUMN 2012, Indonesia’s Most Admired CEO 2013, and CEO Innovative to the Country. At the international level, he has been awarded the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2014 in the ‘Outstanding Entrepreneurship’ category.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Many people argued that his success in raising the company was not because of his professional experiences. It was his leadership that made him successfully resuscitate the company from its slump. Managing a company which experienced a transformation process, was one of his best experiences. “A leader is not only a person who sits on the top level. At any level, we are leaders, of our team as well as of ourselves,” Emir explained..
Being a leader is not easy. Emir said that to be a good leader, someone should be able to identify every problem well and simplify the problem. Simplifying does not mean that the leader should neglect the process, but the problem should be analyzed so later it resulted in a strategy which could then be executed.
According to Emir, a good leader should be able to give positive factors to the organization he/she leads. Optimism for the company’s future also should be planted in the leader’s mind. The keys are communication and trust. “If the trust in an organization is gone, then the organization will fall,” said Emir quoting Stephen Covey in his book ‘The Speed of Trust’.
To grow and keep that trust, Emir is always trying to maintain the biggest asset in a company – human resources. Humans are the main factor, and the next two are ‘process’ and ‘technology’ in transforming a company. Realizing that, Emir always keeps strong relationships with his partners, by building good communication with his colleagues or his employees.
“Communicate, communicate, communicate and no blaming. If you start blaming, there will be no solutions,” Emir advised. He said he has no time to blame his employees; instead, he always tries to find a way out to solve a problem. With good communication, a systematic approach and consistency, Emir shows to others that he has the spirit of a good leader.
“Leadership separates the men from the boys,” Emir said.
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