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As part of my role in Unilever, I get to connect with college students all over Indonesia. Of which, one of the most common questions (or I should say fear) that students asked me a lot was how can they prepare themselves to be global leaders in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) ? There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, thus lack of context of why we should go global from (the future) young leaders of Indonesia.

Let me try to shed some lights by stating some of the intriguing facts about Indonesia :

ASEAN (of which Indonesia consists most of the populations) had a very good run over the last 15 yrs enjoying >5% real GDP growth vs. our fellow European countries that have almost gone flat in GDP growth.

Indonesia is 4th most populous country with approx. 235 mn population and majority is young population, with 56% is less than 30 years old. Our (Indonesia) GDP globally has gone from rank 16 in 2009 and expected to jump to rank 8 in 2050 based on World Bank estimates.

Simply put, the above statistics will attract a lot of direct foreign investment to tap into the country's potential. And, along with investment - thus human resources will also be tremendously required to support the business.

Logically speaking, the best leaders would be the leaders that understand the country. This means that the best leaders would be local leaders. Believe me, I am sure the company will opt for locals rather than expats if at all is possible. But, what type of local leaders are required to run the corporations? More exactly, what type of global leaders characteristics that we need to hone for Indonesian young leaders these days?

It's not that easy to look for the best leaders characteristics in Indonesia. Especially with Indonesian Global Talent Index score (#56) that put us in the same league with Iran (#57), Pakistan (#54) and Sri Lanka (#57). Our closest Vietnam friend ranked #53, let alone Thailand (#45) or Malaysia (#39) have better ranks out of a total of 60 countries for 2015.

But I have hopes that Indonesia actually has a lot of diamonds in the rough. As a talent spotter for Unilever, I come across mind-blowing leaders that are hidden in lots of Universities - and once I see them go through the right environment - overtime, they prove to be best global leaders that are capable of leading this country for the better. In my role, I've seen people grow tremendously given the right stimulus & environment.

Thus, here are my tips for all of the Indonesian young leaders out there on how to shape up your skills to be the next Indonesian Global Leaders

Have a big vision and don't be afraid to change the world, but keep yourself grounded and open for shifts in plans. It is OK to make adjustments in your life. Life is not always perfect.

Go global, go early. It's less daunting when you face it as early as possible in your life.

Take risks - or go with a company that provides you with an opportunity to take big risks for e.g ship you somewhere remote (hey, life is not always fancy), or throw you to different assignments where you have no clue how to start.

Build credibility - because that's how people will take bets on you. You have to tell people what you're doing. It's OK to have a little pride (and say it out loud about it).

At the end.. we don't know it all - we're being taught that if we don't know it, we should never speak up. But it's actually the other way around. There's NO WAY that we can know it all. But humility is the key and mistakes are acceptable.

So go ahead, take a bet on yourself and be the next Indonesian global leaders. We're waiting for you to create a better step at a time.

Published on March 8, 2016 -

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