The Leaderonomics Show with Azran Osman Rani

Jan 30, 2015 1 Min Read

The Leaderonomics Show met up with Azran Osman Rani in 2014.

Appointed CEO of AirAsia X in July 2007, Azran launched AirAsia X’s inaugural flight to the Gold Coast, Australia in November of the same year. He led the start-up team that developed the business plan, raised capital, secured relevant licenses and approvals, and acquired aircraft.

He spoke of his bias toward action, that was honed during his prior experience in multiple countries, building businesses from scratch – going from the shareholders agreement to having hundreds of people mobilised within 12 months.

On having a team that is flexible and adaptable, Azran said that one of the dangers of trying to have a long term plan is that you can develop a rigid mindset and start to believe your own assumptions about the world. This tunnel vision may result in you missing out on opportunities.

In an organisation, it is important to create a culture where information flows both ways – not necessarily just ideas top-down. Azran shared an example of how people on the ground were really able to escalate their ideas, issues and problems up quickly.

As leaders, you have to earn the credibility of your people – it is not automatically given. Engaging with your frontline teams, and the speed with which you start addressing problems help you earn that credibility. Even if you aren’t able to solve 100% of the problems – the next time around more will be willing to open up and engage, and starting raising more substantive issues.

Azran also shared how he balanced being CEO and maintaining his keen interest in sports, and how it has helped him as a leader. He learnt that

  • nothing is impossible
  • it is possible to do multiple things at once but you must have clear determination
  • you need to have a bias for action
  • discipline and tenacity is shaped, refined, sharpened because you are extremely persistent
  • you become a better time manager
  • you prioritise what you do and are very clear about what you don’t do – to be very intentional, deliberate

Ultimately you develop mental resilience and focus.

Like having to override the pain you feel in a triathlon – this is no different from the tenacity you need to face challenges at work.

“Just don’t give up”, says Azran.

Of all his role models and mentors, he shares how his parents really helped shape his character – even from the tender age of 4. They were very supportive – allowing him to explore and try different things.

He also spoke of the areas he would love to get more involved in – with regard working with the entrepreneurial community in Malaysia, he said a lot more can be done, especially with social enterprises.

“I’d love to find ways of helping businesses – creating new businesses that have a positive and lasting impact on society and the environment”.

In keeping with tradition, our host Lily Cheah had our guest answer questions from our Thinkonomics game – three questions which revealed quite a bit more about Azran than you might normally hear in an interview.

Join Lily Cheah, the Host of The Leaderonomics Show in getting full insights on why leadership is important and how it can be learned.



Share This


Karen has rather bizarrely maintained a childlike side to herself – always keen to see, learn and do new things. Yet she has remained grounded on finding the best way to help people – especially those who have the skills and heart to do incredible things.

You May Also Like


Has Hybridity Killed Teamwork?

By Constance N. Hadley and Mark Mortensen. With today's changing work landscape, organisations may want to consider new ways of working. Read here recommendations on how to manage co-acting groups.

Aug 25, 2022 5 Min Read


Raise Your Game: Great Leaders, Great Teachers

The best leaders in the world have the talent and ability to groom others for greatness. As leaders, what is your teachable point of view? Roshan Thiran of Leaderonomics explores what it takes for someone to thrive as both a leader and a mentor.

May 09, 2016 26 Min Podcast


Why You Need A Powerful Dream To Inspire You

How important is it to have a powerful dream and to live it? In this week's episode of Leadership Nuggets, Prof. George Kohlrieser of IMD Switzerland and veteran hostage negotiator shares the story of a man who had a dream and then lost it

Aug 03, 2014 2 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader