22 Jun Taking the Lead Towards Change
I graduated with a degree in business and started work with a training consultancy before pursuing a career in the financial services sector where I specialised in wealth management. In November 2015, I was left unemployed when the last insurance company that I worked for had decided to close its Singapore office.
I became interested in the R.A.C.E programme after learning that the syllabus focused on the development of leadership and management skills. I enrolled into the program after seeing it as an opportunity to prepare myself for a future role in management where I might be charged with motivating and developing others.
Importance of Coaching and Diversity
My coach Naidu, had shared with me his life story which offered many insights that I found valuable and applicable to me. At the end of the program, it struck me that everyone, whether they were Millennials or Gen Xs – needed an experienced senior to whom they could rely on for guidance. Besides this, the program also highlighted the aspect of transferable skills that I could use as a tool to improve my resume.
Throughout the course of the program, there were many opportunities to share and learn from others. Greater diversity, as I had personally experienced, allowed me to gain different insights and new perspectives from the more senior classmates. There were group activities like presentations, where we had to collaborate, apply and present publicly what we had learned. However, I believe that in order to truly reap the value of team diversity, having an open mind is essential to career progression, especially where colleagues are more likely to possess different values and beliefs that shape their thinking and decision making process.
How did I use what I learnt from R.A.C.E?
In the past, I was not aware that people management was an important part of working life and even once thought that doing well at my job alone was sufficient. But with the program, I was introduced to the importance of managing others and myself to achieve maximum productivity. Some of these concepts included Systems Thinking, Line of Sight, Belbin’s Team Roles Theory, and Matrix Analysis.
Based on these theories, I have come to understand that people management is an art, because whenever people are involved, there will always be a variety of personalities. The theories have helped me be more aware of the skills and knowledge needed to lead and manage people in an organisation.
Shortly after the program ended, I teamed up with some friends that I made from the R.A.C.E program to participate in an Edtech hackathon. The theme for the hackathon was on innovation and technology for workplace learning. We applied what we learned from the module on ‘Lead Team’ during the hackathon which discussed how to identify current competencies within a team of people in a way that would translate into better work quality and productivity. We were happy to emerge as the winner in the three-day contest!
Besides that, one other change I made following the program was deciding to make it a point during interviews to ask specific questions about existing team members who I might have to work with, so as to assess any potential issues that might arise over the course of work .
My Journey and Self-Discovery
Throughout the course of the programme, I received a lot of guidance from Coach Naidu and my classmates who realigned my competencies and provided constructive feedback, while reaffirming what I am good at. From this experience, I learned how to better identify my talents and to examine more accurately how my strengths can enable me to contribute to any organization better.
I applied what I had recently learned about myself during my job search. I paid more attention to identifying certain transferable skills and key competencies that I possessed to a wider group of industries with compatible job functions mentioned in job descriptions.
My journey through unemployment lasted me about seven months when I didn’t receive any job offers from interviews or job fairs. Anyone who is currently unemployed will surely learn the value of resilience while navigating the highs and lows that come with the process of getting re-employed.
Having gone through this experience of being unemployed for an extended time, I understand that the process can be very daunting, but I would encourage others who are in the same situation to persevere and take confidence in knowing that there is no real time limit to unemployment and no generic formula to employment. As long as you are taking meaningful action in making progress everyday, while nourishing your self-esteem and improving your resume with a sense of accomplishment, you will get there eventually. In my case, I got there eventually, even after seven months following the R.A.C.E program, to secure my ideal employment. I am now a business development manager in the Partnership Distribution department at a Japanese life insurance company.
Another advice I have for those who are currently unemployed is to keep a lookout for networking opportunities because you never know how a well-established network can open doors to those exclusive and new opportunities.
Lastly, try to be open to receiving small nuggets of wisdom from others when possible, so as to gain new perspectives on things. From such nuggets I received during my journey, I now believe that a job is not an end in itself, but a means to gaining the ability to make a meaningful difference to the lives of the people we come in contact with.
If you would like to start your path to career success now, visit here to learn more about the RACE program.
Hazni Aris Bin Hazam Aris
“Taking the Lead Towards Change,” as narrated by Hazni Aris.