PETALING JAYA: Technological advancement has been accelerating at an unprecedented pace, making knowledge and skills acquired yesterday seem redundant today.
The older generation of leaders in business, politics and government may no longer be able to keep pace with the revolutionising of job roles and career paths.
The time has therefore come for current leaders to pass the baton to the younger generation, particularly those between the ages of 30 and 40, according to Datuk Dr Hussamuddin Yaacub (pix), the chairman of the board of directors at Kumpulan Media Karangkraf, a publishing group.
“Technological innovations are reshaping the world at a much faster rate. Different approaches are needed to adapt to this and it requires new thinkers,” he told theSun.
“Change now or be left behind. Old solutions do not work for new problems. Give way to the younger generation who have a greater potential to keep up with the change,” he said.
“They are the ones who should be leading us. They will be the game changers. Otherwise, we will be left behind,” he added.
However, Hussamuddin said, it should remain the collective responsibility of the older generation of leaders to guide the younger generation as they move to the forefront.
Sharing his experience in Karangkraf, he said the group was mostly on “auto-pilot” mode until last year when a major transformation was put in place to rescue the company.
“We have been badly hit by the digital disruption since 2013. Our sales plunged and we were incurring huge losses,” he recalled.
He said the group engaged professionals to help turn the company around without much success.
But last year, Hussamuddin said, the top leadership decided to make way for the generation after him to take the lead.
“They were given a free hand to run (the organisation). Immediately, sales began to soar and our market share expanded and we are now back (in the game),” he said.
He attributed the success of the turnaround effort, in part, to the decision by the founders and “seniors” of Karangkraf to not interfere in the running of the business.
“They may be young, but they are full of experience and they understand the pulse of the market better. They made both the product and the way to sell it relevant. They just did things differently,” he added.
Hussamuddin said the time has come for most of the seniors to “let go”. “We should stop glorifying our past successes and stop assuming that we are still the best or that our way is the only way. Stop assuming that no one can do better than us,” he said.
“Times have changed, things have changed and the way we think should change too,” he added.
Drawing an analogy with modern technology, Hussamuddin said “we should not be stuck with an outdated software, our system should be updated and upgraded”.
He said the older generation of leaders should “prepare the ladder” for the younger generation to climb up.
“Guide them and then sit back and watch them as they climb the ladder. Be ready to assist if they fumble,” he said.
“It is their time. You won’t know their capabilities unless you give them the chance. Please step back and give them the baton. Let them shape the future,” he said.
In conclusion, he added, current problems require current solvers, not outdated solutions that are no longer relevant in today’s era.