Don’t just adapt to change, lead it!

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Graduates told that being an adaptable and agile employee is crucial especially in the new era of COVID-19 which had revolutionised the workforce.

Speaking during the “Minds for Malaysia: Bridging the skills gap” virtual conference yesterday, FMT managing director Azeem Abu Bakar said “The ground continues to shift below our feet, and if we always want to just adapt, it may be too late; case in point, is COVID”, he states.

Of course, adaptability is sought after, but to Azeem, “the biggest winner are those who don’t just adapt to change, but lead it”.

Minds for Malaysia organised a free virtual conference on the 9th of October 2021 entitled “Minds For Malaysia: Bridging The Skills Gap” catered to build awareness and to educate graduates on employable skills that are sought after in the workforce.

As a kickstarter to the virtual conference, the topic, “The Importance of Adaptability and Agility in a fast changing workplace” was discussed between a panel of 4 esteemed and high-profile speakers.

In defining the skills, adaptability and agility, Azeem acknowledges that both traits are great and commendable. However, he argued that these two alone are insufficient in the workplace and it has become a problem all around the world, especially in Malaysia.

While to Azeem the skill of being agile means to be quick, adaptability is when someone never becomes number one. Most of the time, adaptability may not be enough.

When the moderator asked the panelists, “What other skills should one be equipped with other than adaptability and agility?”, Azeem kept it short and simple.

“There’s only one thing we need to do. Solve problems”. He explains that in problem solving, one must have the right attitude; which is to be open to learning, to fail and to try again, and to once again solve the problem. This is aligned to his earlier remark of leading change.

Azeem exemplified Anthony Tan, co-founder and CEO of Grab, as a problem solver who brought change to the taxi industry.

As one identifies a problem to solve, one will eventually become adaptable and agile to find ways to solve it, thus leading to change. He calls it, “Jack of all trades, master of all”. Aisya agrees and adds, “You’d want to be a better ‘Me’”.

“Jack of all trades, Master of all” – Azeem Abu Bakar, MD of FMT News –

Other panelists also shared their fair share of tips. Nadia proudly promoted her coined term, “Positive VIBES + 2R’s” which is an acronym for positive passion, versatility, influencing power, bravery, enthusiasm and or energy, savviness, and resilience as well as resourcefulness accordingly.

Najmie shared from an employer perspective that the education system must change the supply of “paper-ready” graduates as the industry is constantly looking for people who have the ability to possess multiple skills. “We’re not supposed to look at learned graduates”, he stated.

Similarly, Dr Ida advised graduates to create networks through platforms such as LinkedIn in order to enhance their soft skills, and portfolios regarding their work and achievements as early preparation for employment.

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