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Jakarta Post

Dian Siswarini: Leveraging a solid team to build the future

  • Astrid Amalia

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, September 7, 2015   /  08:36 am
Dian Siswarini: Leveraging a solid team to build the future

JP/Arief Suhardiman

Dian Siswarini is at the top of the ladder building stronger human resources to boost business performance.

The nitty-gritty of creating solid synergy lies in the ability to utilize the best skills from team members, said Dian Siswarini, the newly appointed CEO of PT XL Axiata. '€œThis way we all can walk together in the same direction.'€

She believes that solid synergy builds a great team, which in turn can contribute to the advancement of the company. So, as she added, a highly functioning team is what she needed to achieve such a goal.

'€œI'€™m convinced that the goal of building a strong team in any company is achievable, so long as the leader keeps having a positive impact on each of the members in my team. It is also important to note that a leader should have open hands to help them produce optimum results. By nature, good leaders should do their best to work efficiently, guide their subordinates to priority tasks and create a sense of happiness when tasks are completed. Only happy employees will do more work and serve happy customers,'€ she explained.

Many will see the difficulty of Dian'€™s leadership at an IT-related company in a highly male-dominated sector. Some consider the IT industry a female-unfriendly environment. Despite all the stereotypes one she could be labelled with, Dian has proven otherwise.

She disagrees that technology and telecommunications are a man'€™s world. She strongly commented that it is for both sides. '€œIn a job, there is no separation between the job for men and the job for women. Everyone is treated equally. The fact is that many of the competent people who have graduated from our training are women. In general, women are more cautious. One example is when climbing a telecommunication tower, most women will pay more attention to detail when it comes to the use of a safety belt, complete tools, and so on, as we know this activity is dangerous; while many men may not take it as seriously.'€

To cut it short, both genders have advantages and disadvantages. However, Dian said that one of the advantages of being a female leader is that she gets used to multi-tasking. '€œThere are many career women who have to do regular domestic tasks, such as preparing breakfast for their family before getting ready to work. For a woman, this multi-tasking ability has the potential to enhance her skills in handling people'€™s problems. That'€™s the kind of skill needed to lead a team.'€

Dian remarks that there is a very small number of women at the helm of companies, especially big corporations. She said that this is due to the fact that they often feel that being a leader is not their priority. '€œSome of them also have a lack of confidence to demand what they want in a job offer; this includes the willingness to achieve a higher position. They are often portrayed as having less bargaining power compared to their male counterparts.'€

Winning strategy

According to Dian there are challenges that need to be resolved in the telecommunications sector. '€œAnd XL is no exception. We are more product driven rather than market driven. Winning the customers'€™ hearts is one big challenge. So, it'€™s important to know what the customers want, the problems they face and the complaints they have. Next is to try to find the right solutions in a win-win situation.'€

Currently, XL'€™s revenue market share is at around 19-20 percent. '€œWe are now in the middle of doing a comprehensive business transformation to boost the company'€™s profitability. And my focus as the CEO is to ensure our business transformation agenda runs as planned.'€

Dian sees the role of human resources as crucial to ensure the company'€™s business transformation. '€œAs the customers and market are quickly adapting the new technology, it'€™s now time to adopt to the changes in the customer behavior and market. You have to adopt new things, and this can only be achieved if you have learning agility.'€

Under her leadership, XL puts emphasis honing its human resources skills through a special assessment that measures their learning agility. She said that learning agility had been an important part of the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that they must achieve. '€œThe employees who can show a larger value of learning agility get more chances to receive more training and are appreciated with higher values and better promotions.'€

She also stresses the importance of creating a homey working environment. She encourages everyone in the company to strengthen each other'€™s formal relationship in the workplace and an informal relationship outside work. '€œThis is a potential for everyone to win everyone'€™s heart. Understanding each other'€™s character and background can lead to a more efficient working relationship. And that will pave the way for building a solid team!'€


Majalengka, West Java, May 5, 1968

Career Highlights

Chief executive officer of PT XL Axiata (April 2015'€“present); previously was the company'€™s deputy chief executive officer (January'€“March 2015); group chief of marketing & operations at Axiata Group, Malaysia ( 2014 ); chief of digital services officer ( 2013 ), director network services (2007-2013) and VP network (2005-2007) at PT XL Axiata.


Undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology ( 1988 ); Harvard Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School, US ( 2013 ).

At Ease

Family activities

Having a quality family time is what I treasure the most when I'€™m away from work. I like to spend moments with my husband and our three children watching movies, traveling and doing sports. These activities can bring us closer together, and I'€™m so proud that I finally can influence the kids to play golf too.


My family and I spent our last holiday hiking at Rinjani Mountain. We put Japan at the top of our list of overseas travel destinations. I like Japan very much for the country'€™s rich culture, tradition and safety. In Indonesia, Bali is thus far still the best holiday destination.

Staying fit

To keep my body fit and healthy, I exercise at the gym three times a week and participate in the 5K running competition. I want to restart the health program again after being off for some time. Doing sports is not only beneficial for health, but in some cases, especially when playing golf, it has networking potential to add value to the business.

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