Emirsyah Satar, Garuda Indonesia

Willie Walsh

One team, one spirit, one goal

Down the corridor from Emirsyah Satar’s office at the airline’s Jakarta headquarters is the “war room”, essentially a board room, where the Garuda chief executive holds his management meetings.

On a wall are three plasma television sets hooked up to a computer showing every statistic about Garuda’s daily and past performance, and charts about its competition within Indonesia and in the region as a whole.

Free and frank discussions take place in the “war room”, where the aim is to create a “burning platform”, says Satar, using the business lexicon that says that radical change comes only when survival instincts trump the comfort zone.

“Running a company and competition is like war,” explains Satar. “You must understand what your competitors are doing. You must be constantly aware of what you are doing. The danger is getting into a comfort zone, thinking you are succeeding and doing business as usual. I don’t want any complacency. Everything is there – our performance, that of our subsidiaries, our competition. We can see what is good or what is bad.”

His leadership style, says Satar, is to not be too populist. “That hurts the company and creates a time bomb for the next guy. I don’t want that. I tell my management, you have to be leaders too.

“We are one team, one spirit, one goal. In an airline, everyone depends on everyone else. Or else, you fail,” he says.

In Pictures: Garuda Indonesia