In Remembrance of the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

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Last week was a sombre week for Singapore.

The entire nation literally came to a stand-still as the nation mourned the passing of our Founding Father of Modern Singapore, the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.

Having transformed Singapore from mudflats into a modern, thriving Metropolis – all in one generation – is a feat that no one else can claim. He was truly a giant of a man. Even in death, there are no equals.

And as a tribute to the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, I would like to quote what he said during an interview for the book “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going???:

“Gallup did an analysis of what made a country grow. They decided it is talent. They noted in the 1980s, economists projected that Japan and Germany would overtake America. They did not. The reason? America was attracting talent from all over the world. So whether China will be the most powerful nation will depend on whether it can attract foreign talent and retain its own talent.??? (pg. 34).

So what has this got to do with you?

If you are a hiring manager or a HR Professional or a Recruitment Specialist, this applies directly to you and your organisation.

The fact that even countries require talent to grow is testament that companies require the same. If you want your organisation or team to grow – in terms of productivity, efficiency and effectiveness – you will need to hire the right talents.

In our volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment around us today, it becomes imperative that organisations review their talent acquisition strategies to ensure they attract, hire and retain the right people for their organisation.

At the same time, organisations need to realise that their hiring practices that worked in the past would probably not work today. In the past, most organisations focused on qualifications, skills and experience. However in our VUCA world, qualifications, skills and experience is no guarantee of success.

What is required today in order to be successful, are key qualities such as Aptitude. What we need are people who are adaptable, flexible and are continuously learning and improving.

Your aptitude to learn, adapt, change and continuously improve will determine how well you survive and thrive in a world that is constantly changing and becoming increasingly complex and volatile.

The late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew recognised and acknowledged that talent is crucial for not only the survival of Singapore, but for it to continue to thrive and grow on the world stage.

I quote again from his book “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going”:

“…it is not enough to find people who graduated summa cum laude from Ivy League universities, or top surgeons or lawyers. It is certainly not enough to be a good orator or popular at the polls. The government uses Shell’s method of selecting its executives and looks for character, motivation and “helicopter quality”, or the ability to assess situations through analysis, sense of reality and imagination. ‘Talent’ therefore takes in not only raw academic or professional success, but also the fuzzier concept of having the ‘right’ personality and outlook. Integrity and honesty are vital.” (pg. 100)

It would be prudent for us all to heed his advice.

May he rest in peace.

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March 31, 2015

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