Commencement Address at the Graduation Ceremony of Kingston University by Dr Patrick Liew

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Commencement Address at the Graduation Ceremony of Kingston University by Dr Patrick Liew

Title: Becoming A Purposeful Leader In The Brave New World

Congratulations on completing your course of study.

This is but the beginning for all of you to become a purposeful leader to help build a much better world in the future.

How then can you become such a purposeful leader?

That’s the theme of my speech.

In the new economy, businesses, borders and boundaries are changing at a faster speed than you and I can ever imagine.

Therefore, to be a great leader, one needs to go beyond having a conventional mindset.

Many experts have encouraged all of us to become T-shaped leaders.

The T-shaped leaders are characterized by being an Intra-Mobile Leader.

You need have deep skills to take on a particular role, job and function in an organization.

At the same time, you need to be an Inter-Mobile Leader.

You need to have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to work in a variety of relevant and related roles, jobs and functions in different projects and organizations.

I would like to add one more quality.

Be a Meta-Mobile Leader.

In other words, you need to have the capacity and capability to develop any knowledge, attitude, skill and habit (KASH) to create and lead any business and any organization.

You then become what I called, a pi (π)-shaped leader.

To become a pi (π)-shaped leader, you need to develop what I called, the 5Ms.

First, mindset.

More specifically, a future-ready mindset.

In the past, you need to go to school to prepare yourself for a job and career.

In the future, to have a stable, secure and sustainable job and career, you need to commit yourself to lifelong learning.

Cultivate new attitudes, knowledge, skills, and working styles to achieve success in the workplace and society.

Develop future-proof imagination and qualities to respond to and leverage on advanced technologies and other possible disruptions.

These qualities include strengthening your responsibility, capacity, capability, creativity, agility, adaptability and tenacity to respond to a fast-changing and challenging world.

Secondly, metacognitive skills.

Metacognitive skills are higher-order cognitive skills to help you learn how to learn.

Improve on how to improve so as to achieve the highest possible level of outcomes and results.

These are skills that can be built upon and cross-fertilized to develop other skills so that you can better respond to changing requirements in the communities, workplaces and society.

Meta skills include fluid intelligence skills, creativity and innovative skills, and leadership and management skills.

Thirdly, multiple intelligences.

In 1983, Howard Gardner posited that there are multiple intelligences.

Unfortunately, many schools have focused mainly on a narrow perspective of helping students develop their logical and linguistic intelligences.

It bodes well to remember that moral intelligence is just as important as intelligence of the intellect.

Altruistic intelligence can be more important than logical intelligence.

Taking action is more important than just acquiring information.

You have a unique set of gifts, talents and interests.

Develop your strengths, and pursue positive passions, values, and aspirations.

Expand your potential and leverage on your strengths to optimize your contributions to the people and environment around you.

To do that, you need to develop yourself in a holistic and balanced way.

Know how to research and create knowledge, and apply the knowledge in unfamiliar settings, including new and unfamiliar spaces of the new economy.

In short, you need to leverage on multiple intelligences.

Fourthly, mastery of skills.

In the new economy, you cannot afford to only become a specialist in a designated field of discipline.

You need to also train yourself in a more holistic, multidisciplinary, and chaos-responsive way so that you can have the requisite deep skills set to pursue different pathways of excellence.

Lastly, metaphysical skills.

The faster the world changes and the more advanced we become, the more we should return to roots of our being, core of our values, heart of our aspirations, and a higher purpose of living.

These are values that you cannot find online or download from the Internet.

Neither can they be programmed and executed by robots, drones, and other automated technology.

Technology cannot fulfil the deepest human needs, enhance our sense of security and stability, and help us reach out to develop meaningful and satisfying relationships.

In this regard, Charles Darwin’s quote of “the fittest will survive” or Leon C. Megginson’s quote of “the most adaptable will survive” should not hold true anymore.

The advancement of technology should be underpinned and guided by moral, ethical and spiritual innovations.

The rise of more advanced machines should help us become more enlightened in focusing on what truly matters in work and life.

As a result, we should become more purposeful, productive and progressive to achieve worthier pursuits.

Technology should unleash our human potential to do well and do good – in a cheaper, better, and faster way.

As I’ve always said, the worst disease is not to have a heart for people and the environment.

In the near future, advanced technology will put into our hands the power to create accelerated and scalable problems or accelerated and scalable solutions.

I have faith in the human spirit.

I have faith in you.

I have faith that we will rise up with collective consciousness and apply the skills of leadership to help resolve war, poverty, pain and suffering.

As leaders, we will do ever more good with ever less resources.

We will return back to fulfil our Maker’s design for us to love one another and to look after the beautiful garden that we called Planet Earth.

May the fourth industrial revolution lead us into a revolution of the enlightened minds, and to go beyond physical and material pursuits.

With an effective mindset, metacognitive skills, multiple intelligences, mastery of skills, and metaphysical values, you will be in a better position to become pioneers, performers and pacesetters in the future economy.

In other words, a purposeful leader to shape the brave new world for greater good.

Thank you.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Life is FUNtastic!


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