Written by Cynthia Subroto, YP MBA Batch 58

SBM ITB is lucky to have the opportunity to bring a former minister as a guest lecturer in MBA ITB, Mr. Arief Yahya who is the former Minister of Tourism and former CEO of Telkom Indonesia, on Monday, 11 November 2019. Also, there are Mr. Priyantono Rudito former Human Capital Director of Telkomsel and Mr. Honesti Basyir, CEO of Biofarma. They had worked together in Telkom when Mr. Arief became the CEO, Mr. Honesti was the CFO, and Mr. Priyantono was the Director of Human Capital Management.

They share about business leadership according to their experience in Telkom. Such a sharing of experiences from great leaders will not be found in textbooks. The explanation would be represented by Mr. Arief Yahya. Mr. Arief said, “Exceptional results can be achieved by unusual ways” or in Bahasa Indonesia “Hasil yang luar biasa dapat diraih dengan cara yang tidak biasa”. He explained his unusual ways through Great Spirit Grand Strategy: The Unusual Way to Win. Every company must have three strategies that are corporate philosophy: always be the best, leadership architecture: lead by heart and manage by head, and great spirit, solid, speed, smart.

As explained by Mr. Arief, it is very important to invest in human resources. “Many companies’ leaders would cut investment in human resources because they considered it as a cost and would give benefit only for a long term, while actually it was all wrong. Investment in human resources could also give a short-term benefit and it was not a cost,” told Mr. Arief. He added that great leaders are the ones who can create their successors. When he became the CEO of Telkom, the company invested a huge amount of money in human resources which made Telkom’s valuation doubled in just two years. It was the highest valuation that Telkom could achieve. The company also received many awards such as Best BUMN on Marketing BMA 2013, Best Managed Company, Best CEO and CFO on Finance Asia Best Companies Award 2013.

There are three strategy formulations which are corporate strategy, business division strategy, and functional strategy. “As an MBA student, you must know which strategy level is being discussed when discussing strategy in a corporation,” said Mr. Arief. He also advised that to be great leaders, we must have strong concepts, use best practices and frameworks, allocate money for winning resources, allocate time to achieve the goals, and make quick wins to gain others’ trust by finding the easiest, most visible, and highest likelihood goals to be achieved. “Vision without action is only fantasy, and action without vision is only sensation” said Mr. Arief as the closing of the lecture.