Singapore’s Prime Minister speaks about business leadership

At last week’s Comcare conference there was considerable discussion about leadership and social capital.  Coincidentally, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower is running a Human Capital Summit this week.

The summit program indicates how these two concepts are dominating human resources and, through osmosis, other management streams such as OHS.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s Prime Minister provided the opening address on 29 September 2009.  In the speech he state four principles:

  • “we believe that human capital and talent can be nurtured….
  • we take a broad view of human capital and talent. We recognise that domain expertise is important, and organisations need specialists in fields relevant to their business. But organisations will also benefit from talent who come from unrelated fields, with diverse experiences, who can inject fresh perspectives…
  • we believe that the way to bring out the best in people is by creating a conducive environment. Talented people cannot be motivated by pressure, nor even by financial incentives alone…
  • talented individuals must feel a sense of responsibility to the community. Within their own fields, they have to help nurture the next generation of outstanding achievers.”

One could dismiss as “conference rhetoric” but similar commitments are being made by government officials and politicians throughout the world and the weight of numbers is turning into a movement.

If OHS professionals want to gain the ear of important decision makers, it will be necessary to “talk the talk”, even if that talk is jargon from an unfamiliar discipline, such as human resources.  The challenge is to bring commitment and knowledge to underpin the “talk” because “hollow vessels make the most noise”.

Kevin Jones

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