How enterprise leaders are leading fearlessly in 2022

Lunar New Year, celebrated by over a billion people from many cultures and countries, is typically a time of family celebration — large gatherings for festive meals and lots of time in the kitchen preparing traditional delicacies like dumplings, fish, rice cakes, spring rolls, and sweets. Unfortunately, it’s been several years since most of us have been able to celebrate in this way.

As we enter the new year, I’m hopeful we are coming closer to ending the global pandemic. I’m also very aware of the personal and professional challenges presented as we continue to work remotely and navigate the new normal. In saying this, I’ve been incredibly proud to see Adobe accommodate what our employees have needed during this time, demonstrating a people-first strategy from the top down. And overall, I’m amazed by the level of engagement we’ve been able to maintain.

This year, represented by the Tiger — a legendary figure of vitality, bravery, and strength — is one that is both daunting and exciting. To activate employees, leaders, customers and creatives, Adobe launched the #SpringIntoFearless campaign — challenging us all to embrace bold and brave leadership and step into the new year with confidence and courage.

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A sense of fear is what elicits bravery in all of us. And over the last few years, I have seen incredible acts of bravery, strength, service, community, parenthood, and personhood in the face of enormous fear and uncertainty. It’s through this uncertainty that I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to lead in a new way, to parent differently, and to work distinctly toward success.

Being fearless can mean standing up for what you know is right, even if others disagree. Being brave can mean exploring different ways of working or raising your hand for a stretch assignment out of your comfort zone. Being bold, strong, and courageous means different things to different people and recognizing how we each uniquely embrace these challenges strengthens our community and gives us the chance to support each other. At Adobe, we encourage everyone to let go of their inhibitions, unleash their creativity, and #SpringIntoFearless — whatever fearless means to you.

We asked Global Adobe leaders to share their perspectives about celebrating Lunar New Year and how they are embracing the Year of the Tiger.

Leadership challenges for 2022

While there is still so much uncertainty around the pandemic and future ways of working, Adobe leaders say that staying agile and responding to rapid change will be some of the biggest challenges for the new year.

“Leaders are going to have to remain agile even more this year, because we are balancing confidence in the recovery, which hopefully is truly coming this time, along with still paying attention to the risks that are out there.”

Simon Dale

Managing Director, SEA

“2022 will be the start of the 3rd year of living with COVID. There are still many uncertainties brought on by Omicron — increasing cases, lockdowns returning, travel restrictions — around the world. However, the Tiger is both bold, and fearless. In the year of the Tiger, business leaders should be equally as courageous and daring in their decision making, creative and quick to pounce on new opportunities, and open to change with the fast-evolving environment. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!”

Yew Hwee Ng

Managing Director, Digital Media Asia

Leadership opportunities for 2022

Despite the uncertainties, our executive leaders are also optimistic about the opportunities that the new year will bring, including new digital opportunities for business growth, advancing people-centric culture and new possibilities for greater collaboration.

“Growing up, my family observed many traditions for Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year), including cleaning our home in the spirit of sweeping away bad luck and gathering for a family feast to welcome a fresh start. As we enter the Year of the Tiger, I’m thinking about what it means to be courageous and fearless. This year, we are celebrating Adobe’s 40th anniversary, and I believe it is going to be a turning point year for the company. We have an amazing mission of changing the world through digital experiences, and this means we have a tremendous growth opportunity as Adobe carves out new markets and builds new capabilities. I’m excited to build on our great foundation of people-centric culture and values and apply it to new ways moving forward as we set our company up for success for the next 20 years.”

Gloria Chen

Chief People Officer and EVP

“For teams, it is about adapting to new collaborative engagements with customers, partners, and colleagues, as well as empathy and professionalism towards other members. For individuals, adapt to the future of work and continue to enrich one’s hearts and mind for wellness and professional development and true work-life integration.”

Tony Ng

Managing Director, Greater China

Skills for modern leaders in 2022

With these new opportunities, it is important for modern leaders to nurture and build the necessary skills that will support their teams and business. Flexibility, diversity and inclusion, and team collaboration are some of the key skills identified by our executive leaders that will help businesses enter the new year fearlessly.

“As we enter 2022 and beyond, talent is by far the most critical priority for leaders. To me, people culture is probably even more relevant working in the digital age, and virtual age to come. Wellbeing and professional development of our people is at our core. We need to develop our people and our businesses at the same time. Remaining agile and adaptable to the market conditions, and growing our addressable market portfolios to give our people the best opportunity for success.”

Janie Lim

Senior Director, Digital Media Marketing APAC

“Flexibility. Resiliency. Stability. Today, as we embark on year three of a pandemic, success requires leaders who can adapt to changing circumstances, optimize and make the most of those circumstances, and stay true to the vision and values that make them who they are. Effective leaders will not only serve as an anchor for their teams and organizations through tumultuous times, but will help them flourish and grow. The backbone of all of these skills is good communication: Leaders need to be able to effectively manage, communicate, and inspire in remote, in-person, and hybrid settings, which is one of the most difficult challenges we have all faced. But if we unify on a vision of strategy and execution, organizations can adapt and thrive (and still have some fun in the process).”

Dana Rao

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

“The key skill that leaders need to acquire and maintain through 2022 is that healthy balance — that mid-point if you like — of, on one side of the spectrum, having a purely performance management culture and, on the other, having a purely human-centric culture. Obviously now three years into the pandemic we culturally as an organization need to be somewhere in the middle. We need to be driving performance and accountability of our people, for the benefit of our customers obviously, but we also need to be providing a fantastic environment; a psychologically safe environment, a place where people want to come and want to be a part of, and want to turn up as the very best version of themselves.”

Simon Tate

President, Adobe Asia Pacific

The Year of the Tiger is a time to step fearlessly towards new opportunities, relationships, and growth. We hope our global leaders have inspired you to #SpringIntoFearless.