The Next Prime Minister?

by Patrick Liew on September 1, 2016

In his National Day Rally speech in 2016, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong once again highlighted his decision to step down from the Prime Minister’s position to make way for his successor.

I applaud Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his clear, consistent and conscientious approach to effective succession. The mark of a great leader is to groom more and better leaders to achieve sustainable success.
However, I trust that he will not be overly focused on timing for his succession. He will instead be more focused on finding the right candidate and alternative candidates in case of unforeseen circumstances.

It’s also important to ensure that they are groomed according to an effective roadmap
to undertake depth and breadth of roles and responsibilities.

As in the past, some of the candidates may choose not to continue in key positions or even leave the political arena. Contingency plans should be put in place to ensure that there’s an adequate number of quality leaders that can take over the batons and carry on the race.

I’m confident that the PM will ensure that these candidates are well prepared, including being given adequate opportunity to learn the rope, latitude to develop the necessary experience and expertise, and space to build a team and connect to major stakeholders at key levels of the government, economy and society.

In addition, these candidates need to be given the platform to strengthen their moral intelligence, emotional intelligence, social and cultural intelligence, political intelligence, creative and innovative intelligence, and verbal-linguistic intelligence to persuade and influence our people. These intelligences require time and substantial experiences to be developed and become a vital and integral part of their leadership toolkits.

The PM has a relatively short runway to help candidates cultivate these values and assess their willingness to do the job and ability to deliver desired outcomes and results.

Judging from PM’s projected timeframe, he may have to appoint at least one of the candidates to assume a Deputy Prime Minister’s position or do the job of a coordinating Minister shortly. However, such an initiative may cause unintended consequences, including intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges and that’s why he has to stay on in the cabinet long enough to help resolve these challenges.

At the end of the day, there’s no perfect solution and every decision will carry a degree of downsides.

As one united people, we need to exercise patience. We need to be peace-makers and do our part to maintain peace. We should be proactive in supporting and helping these candidates while offering useful feedback to help them improve and achieve better results.

Together with the fourth-generational leaders, we can achieve prosperity and progress for our nation in the next lap.


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

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