Something About Talent

The day before my first paper was due was spent with amazing people. I attended a “Corporate Celebrities Coffee Chat at Balliol, Oxford” in the morning, met up with a long, lost ex-classmate of mine for lunch, had tea with a friend and a friend’s friend who works in the Immigration Department of Malaysia and a person who’s name escapes me but I am certain he said he works at the High Commissioner of Malaysia in London or something. Shook hands with the CEO of Malaysia Airlines before heading to the Sheldonian Theatre to listen to His Excellency Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s speech (which was the initial reason why I wanted to go to Oxford on that day) and met with an ex-Head Girl of mine whom I’ve missed for so so many years and had a nice stroll around Oxford.

The Prime Minister’s speech lacked lustre in comparison to the things discussed during the Corporate Celebrities Coffee Chat. One particular topic which stuck in my mind was Talent.

Before the Q&A session, the guests celebrities mentioned about how the company they represented are always looking for talents to work back home (Malaysia) part of the effort to minimise the “brain drain” phenomenon happening back in my home country. Exams have considerably messed with my neurons, but here are some bits I could recall (because I kept telling my friends about it).

During the Q&A session, I took advantage of the momentary silence (when everyone else was still thinking of what to ask or who should ask) to raise my hands and fire away. My question was, “There is a quote saying the most talented are the ones who works the hardest (this was actually modified from something I read somewhere regarding piano playing – the most talented are the ones who practice the most/hardest), so how do you identify between the talented and the extraordinary hardworking?”

The panel of celebrities took up one full hour to finish answering the question.

To sum it up, Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof aka The Danny (former CEO Maybank Investment, now Executive Director of Investments, Khazanah), or at least I think it was him, he said there were five important things when it comes to managing your own talent.

  1. Skill – Skill is a very important thing to have, but makes up the least weight overall. Besides, you can harness your skill as you trudge along the direction wherever you’re going as sharpening it requires practice, and practice means a lot of repetition. I shall add the garnish to this with a quote a favourite Chemistry teacher of mine loves to drill into our heads – Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.
  2. Theoretical Knowledge – The theory forms the basic understanding of a particular subject, and without the basics it will be one heck of a time trying to master the more advanced levels. As a saying goes, “A few months in the laboratory saves an hour in the library”.
  3. Application of Knowledge – no matter how high your qualifications are, if you cannot apply whatever you have learnt onto a real world situation to solve a problem the qualifications will be pointless.
  4. Attitude – this is the most important aspect of managing the talent you possess. As talented you may be, if you’re lazy you will never go far. Having a good attitude also makes the people around you more willing to work with, or for you.
  5. Diligence – continue to strive even as you’ve reached the highest peak of your undertaking. Work to maintain the high level you’ve been working so hard for and don’t slack. This is very much easier said than done, but being in the company of people who are supportive of what you do will definitely help you greatly in this.

Here’s a group photo of everybody who attended the event held in Balliol College, Oxford. Picture grabbed from Farah via Facebook. Thank youuuu!

The corporate celebrities were Tan Sri Azman (Managing Director, Khazanah)
Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof aka The Danny (former CEO Maybank Investment, now Executive Director of Investments, Khazanah)
Johan Mahmood-Merican (CEO Talent Corporation)
Ahmad Farouk (Director, Strategy Management Unit, Khazanah)
Justin Hashim (SO to the MD, Khazanah)..

….including myself as the CEO of Penggoyang Kaki Profesional Sdn. Bhd ;D woots!

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3 thoughts on “Something About Talent

  1. Very interesting read. I am curious to know what that hour-long discussion was about, more specifically. Do you think you could muster up the courage to give us the main points of that discussion, or were those memories wiped out by hours of studying for exams? If so, it’s probably not very important.

    Either, thanks for the story, it definitely reminded me not to laze about, which is as yet my biggest flaw.

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