New centre to train PMEs for world after Covid-19

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo (second from left) launching SIM's new Centre for Systems Leadership, along with SIM Board of Directors chairman Euleen Goh (left), and SIM CEO and president Seah Chin Siong (second from right).
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo (second from left) launching SIM's new Centre for Systems Leadership, along with SIM Board of Directors chairman Euleen Goh (left), and SIM CEO and president Seah Chin Siong (second from right).PHOTO: SIM

Professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) will soon be able to learn how to deal with volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity in a post-Covid-19 world at a new centre set up by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

Those in the social sector will have up to 90 per cent of their course fees subsidised.

The Centre for Systems Leadership in Bukit Timah, which was launched yesterday by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, will also offer its programmes on systems thinking to youth leaders and SIM's final-year student leaders doing their undergraduate studies.

Systems thinking is a disciplined approach for examining problems in a more holistic manner before acting, allowing users to make informed choices.

Programmes will start from February next year, and will range from 30 hours to 18 days long.

Organisations and businesses including small-and medium-sized enterprises can also have programmes customised to their needs.

SIM is planning to set aside $1 million to fund up to 90 per cent of the programme fees for the social sector, said president and chief executive officer Seah Chin Siong during the launch.

"We hope this will catalyse the development of critical leadership skills that are necessary at this time of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity," Mr Seah added.

The first cohort of learners will come from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds), Metta Welfare Association and Singapore Pools, said Mr Seah.

The centre plans to work with philanthropic organisations such as Temasek Foundation as its programme partners, and other institutions with common goals and objectives.

"In order for the centre to be able to impact our society, it is important that these programmes be made accessible to as many people as possible," said Mr Seah.

Mrs Teo, who officiated the launch of the centre, was among the senior civil servants who were trained in systems thinking under the Singapore Civil Service, one of the earliest adopters of the approach 25 years ago, said SIM.

Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs, said: "The more complex our problems, the more leaders need the skill and discipline of systems thinking."

"SIM's launch of the Centre for Systems Leadership can help to build capacity in Singapore, not just to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to develop enduring resilience against future disruptions," she added.

Systems thinking was first popularised by systems scientist and management guru Peter Senge.

"Although systems thinking and leadership gained prominence in the 1990s, it is still not widely practised nor recognised here for its power to transform personal lives and enterprises," said SIM in a statement.

"With Covid-19 and the challenging new normal it brings, there is no more urgent time to reintroduce this discipline of thinking and managing in complex situations," it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2020, with the headline 'New centre to train PMEs for world after Covid-19'. Print Edition | Subscribe