Abundance thinking: Leaders' edition

Sep 07, 2023
Abundance thinking: Leaders' edition

Find Your Superpower newsletter 026

Read time: 5 minutes

Topics covered: leadership, abundance mindset, cooperation, diversity and inclusion


I had a surprise for everyone yesterday… I dropped a bonus episode for season 1 of The Science of Work with Juliana Chan podcast, which ended in May 2023.

While we are commencing filming for Season 2, I published a bonus episode, titled, "THE DNA OF LEADERS WITH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT" on Spotify and Apple Podcast for all of you to enjoy in the meantime.

  Listen to the bonus episode on Spotify or Apple Podcast!


The podcast episode is based on a live fireside chat recording at the 2023 EcosySTEM Asia Summit for Leaders in STEM with Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat.

In a thought-provoking conversation, DPM Heng shared his insights with more than 100 participants, mostly women, on key topics such as AI, diversity and inclusion at work, finding purpose, managing people and even climate change!

After reviewing the footage, I realized DPM Heng is an abundance thinker, and that he was actively discussing elements of an abundance mindset with my audience members!

In general, an abundance mindset is about collaboration over competition, where you join forces with your potential competitors to enlarge the pie (instead of fighting for crumbs of a small pie, which is the scarcity mindset). It is also about playing a positive game, by providing incredible value and unleashing SOOO much goodness into the world until it cannot help but reciprocate in return.

I thought you may take a look at what DPM said and let me know what you think!


On finding purpose in our work and building a tribe

02:30 Having that sense of purpose is very important in what we do. And being together with people who share that passion for finding that solution is important. It’s going to be a lot of hard work—you can do all of your research and lab work for days and months and years, and maybe nothing comes out (of it). But I think, having people who share the same passion, who say, "Let's try, let's keep trying!" that perseverance is going to be quite critical. Just as it takes years to build anything, it will take you years to build your career, to make your big findings. 


On redefining success in broader terms

07:56 Everyone has the same goal: "I want the best for the child." But, if the best is defined narrowly as one yardstick of success, then many children will fail. But if we broaden our definition of success, if we broaden our definition of what it means, then I think we can achieve a lot more as a team, as a school, as a society. 


On staying in touch with your frontline staff

10:03 For me it is a great learning experience that, if you are running an organization, it is important for us to understand the frontline, what it is that people right in the frontline are doing, and how you as a leader can support them.


On creating strengths from weaknesses

12:09 Our job is to be able to bring everyone together—let’s work together as a team. One of the best books on management that I have read is by Peter Drucker (ref: The Effective Executive). And Drucker has this point that a good organization makes weaknesses irrelevant and strengths productive. It is a very good recognition that very few of us have everything, that we are totally ambidextrous, that we can do everything.

Therefore, a very big part of what we have to do as leaders is to understand our own strengths and weaknesses, the strengths and weaknesses of our colleagues, and look for ways in which we can complement one another. 


On cooperation for common challenges like climate change

18:12 It has always been my view that industries working in the same area really should cooperate to solve common problems, even as they compete to differentiate themselves. So in the same way that I've always felt too that as countries compete among ourselves to be better economically and so on, there are many common challenges that people should come together to solve. The pandemic is one great example, a very vivid example; climate change is another example.


On changing mindsets about gender roles

29:25 In the area of STEM, one particular issue is that—again, doing science, doing construction, doing engineering, is often seen as not ladylike. And again, there’s a lot of stereotypes that we should overcome, and avoid making that kind of broad general statement and assign rules to that. And for the men in the room, we can all do our part to do a little better, to see how we can support women, and ensure that we ourselves don’t become the source of the problem.


On flexible work

30:00 One good lesson from COVID is that if we can work from home, we can work from anywhere. Why can’t we be more flexible? I've seen many of our staff, if they have little kids or parents to look after, sometimes that flexibility is very important.


And lastly, on paternity leave

32:30 I would encourage all dads to (take paternity leave). It is a very magical moment.



So, do you agree with me that DPM Heng is an abundance thinker?

Listen to the bonus podcast episode on Spotify and Apple Podcast and let me know!

PS: And you enjoyed the episode, would you help me out by leaving me a five-star rating to help others find my podcast? ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



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