Some years ago I attended an event organised by Frost & Sullivan in Nusajaya. It was the kind of event where they invited CEOs from various organisation, both multinationals and GLC, to speak. As part of the itinerary, they had a one on one session with Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, the Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. The interviewer was one of the global heads of Frost & Sullivan and one question (and it’s answer) stuck with me.
The question was, “what are the attributes of a person you value most?”.
I’ve attended many speaker sessions such as this and this sounds like a typical question where answers range from the need to be charismatic, visionary, driven, leading by example and the sort.
Tan Sri’s answer to the interviewer, who was a foreigner mat salleh, was “there are two qualities which I believe are important for a leader, that is Sabar and Shukur”. I remember telling myself, “wow, I’ve didn’t expect that”. He went on to explain to the crowd what Sabar and Shukur means, patience and gratitude respectively, and why it is important any person has them.
It always impresses me when a veteran leader, corporate or otherwise, emphasises the importance of good moral and religious values, which I consider patience and the need to be grateful to be. I remember it was sometime shortly before the talk that I read Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 7, where Allah promised:
“And remember when Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful, I will surely increase you; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe”
I often feel in selected industries in corporate Malaysia, piety is absent and to show you have it is unfavourable. It’s refreshing for me to see at least one leading corporate leader to believe in these values.