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SIM’s new Centre for Systems Leadership aims to equip leaders with skills to navigate increasing complexity and volatility

12 Nov 2020

The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) held a ceremony to launch the Centre for Systems Leadership at the SIM Management House on Thursday, 12 November, to train executives, leaders and their organisations to manage more effectively in a post-Covid world. The Centre aims to equip learners with systems leadership skills which it believes are essential to navigate the increasingly VUCAH (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and hyper-connected) world. It will also offer the programme to youth leaders as well as its final-year student leaders doing their undergraduate programmes.

Systems thinking, first popularised by systems scientist and management guru, Dr Peter Senge, in his books on learning organisation, equips learners with the ability to understand and address issues holistically by seeing wholes rather than parts in a seemingly disparate but complexly interconnected system. Departing from the traditional linear way of analysing problems, it equips people with the skills to engage in honest generative conversations that ask the right questions and encourage new expansive patterns of thinking that are essential for innovation.

Although systems thinking and leadership gained prominence in the 1990’s, it is still not widely practised nor recognised here for its power to transform personal lives and enterprises. With Covid-19 and the challenging new normal it brings, there is no more urgent time to re-introduce this discipline of thinking and managing in complex situations.

Said Mr Seah Chin Siong, President and Chief Executive Officer, SIM: “The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties and challenges, but it has also presented us with unprecedented opportunities to reinvent ourselves. The SIM Centre for Systems Leadership aims to build and expand systems leadership capacities in public, private and people enterprises that will help them address complex challenges and redefine a meaningful and sustainable future. In so doing, the Centre will also provide a space for facilitating leadership conversations that can lead to wider sustained, positive systemic changes in our community.”

Mr Seah Chin Siong, President and Chief Executive Officer, SIM
Mr Seah mentioned that SIM will be setting aside $1m to fund up to 90% of the course fees of the
Centre’s programmes for the social sector in Singapore.

Officiating at the launch of the Centre for Systems Leadership is Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo. Mrs Teo was among other senior civil servants who was trained under the Singapore Civil Service, one of the earliest adopters of systems thinking 25 years ago.

Mrs Teo 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. I wish the team success.”

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs, officially launched the SIM Centre for Systems Leadership
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs (2nd from left), officially launched the SIM Centre for Systems Leadership. With her are Ms Euleen Goh, Chairman, SIM Board of Directors (1st from left), and Mr Seah Chin Siong, President and Chief Executive Officer, SIM (2nd from right).

As an institution that has been providing higher education and lifelong learning programmes since 1964, SIM has been closely linked to Singapore’s human capital development since independence. The establishment of this Centre is in line with SIM’s social mission to help our workforce stay relevant and productive for the future of work.

The Centre’s programmes range from 30 hours to 18 days and are targeted at SIM undergraduates, youth leaders, PMEs as well as corporates with programmes customised to meet the specific needs of the latter group.  

Dr Daniel Kim and Ms Diane Cory, who are thought leaders in system leadership and brought their leadership and organisation development
Dr Daniel Kim and Ms Diane Cory, who are thought leaders in system leadership and brought their leadership and organisation development (aka ‘Leaders for Learning’) programme to Singapore 25 years ago, had a special meet-up with the past participants of their training programme via Zoom during the launch ceremony.

Public can look up http://pd-csl.sim.edu.sg/ for more information on the Centre’s programmes.


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