On the 27th-29th August 2019, BINUS University faculty members had the opportunity to partake in the Jakarta module of leadership development organisation Common Purpose’ Indo-Pacific program. Meeting with their peers from various countries and being tasked with a range of challenges provided BINUS faculty members with a unique opportunity to explore their leadership capabilities. Following on from this opportunity, we have spoken to two of the participants to find out what impact the program has had on their professional outlook and on BINUS University itself.
Theodora Subyantoro, BINUS Collaboration Center Manager and Hanny Wijaya, Head of Internationalization and Partnership at School of Design were two of the participants from BINUS University’s faculty. Ms. Theodora has obtained extensive experience in facilitating complex international collaborations through her engagement with the United Nations agencies including UNDP and UNFPA and other international NGOs. She has served as a psychologist in the Crisis Centre of RSCM, Jakarta as well as undertaken research projects with various organisations in conflict affected regions. Ms Hanny is actively involved in many art and design projects as both an academician and professional. Holding an MA in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture from the University of Westminster, she works on many projects that intertwined with contemporary art, design, and culture.
Taking time for reflection was a key part of the Common Purpose leadership training method. After every project or visit to an industry or NGO, participants were encouraged to reflect on what they had experienced through group discussions. Operating under the mantra of “Before conquering your challenges, you have to know your own challenges”, Ms Theodora in particular noted that this approach enabled her to identify obstacles that she had experienced or identified at other organisations so as to formulate strategies for handling similar challenges and situations in the future.
Common Purpose approaches the concept of leadership in new and unconventional ways, particularly with regards to the idea of ‘Leadership Beyond Authority’; showing leadership regardless of hierarchy and status with the goal of achieving an objective. Ms Hanny remarked that this had a significant impact on what she took away from the training session “Ultimately, I learned that leadership is not just about having an idea, but also how to achieve that idea and implement it. A good leader is able to make an idea into a reality and think long term.”
Getting real life insights into the challenges faced by organisations such as NGOs, exposed participants to facets of leadership that they may not have otherwise encountered. For Ms Hanny in particular, this had a profound impact: “visiting the NGOs was a highlight for me as we were also introduced to the transgender community in Indonesia, discussed prejudices and what kind of difficulties they are facing.” Getting an insight into other organisations operating in the country also provided a platform for building new connections and relationships with similarly minded institutions to have a lasting and mutually beneficial impact. Ms Hanny took the opportunity to understand the work of the Asia Foundation which had led to new collaborations “BINUS University is in the midst of finalising a collaboration project with them. The project will focus on the China-Menteng minority community in Jakarta as a community that is subjected to racism.”
BINUS University is an internationally minded institution, being partnered with leading universities around the world for student exchanges, joint degree programs and study abroad exchanges. Hosting international students from across the globe means that ‘cultural intelligence’ is vital to ensuring that students obtain the maximum benefit from the international opportunities afforded to them to succeed as part of an international team in the future. Ms Theodora added that “it’s also about how we open ourselves, how to be more empathetic and positive when dealing with people from other cultures”. Participants in the program had the unique opportunity to work with leaders from other cultures and ethnicities and thus understand what is demanded from a leader in varied cultural contexts as well as understand issues from other people’s points of view. This is a crucial pillar of BINUS University’s vision and mission thus enhanced understanding of this concept will help equip its faculty and students with the tools to succeed on the global stage.
Check back in the near future when we will assess the lasting impact that the Common Purpose training has had on the participants and BINUS University as an institution.