To be better prepared for the future, there is a need to transform the challenges posed by COVID-19 into opportunities, said Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, LUMS, at the PTCL Virtual Speaker Series, titled “productivity during crisis” held on Friday.
Dr. Ahmad, addressing 2,000 employees from PTCL and Ufone, spoke about how successful leaders take ideas into practice, and then go on to change lives. “The winning combination of values that drive productivity are hard work, honesty and generosity. Leaders can inspire, coach and mentor their subordinates, but they must also listen to them and learn from them. In Pakistan there are abundant opportunities to do so and the impact can be enormous on community and nation-building.”
Many jobs are being displaced due to automation, innovation and technology, which is transforming lives and the way we work, explained Dr. Ahmad. “While it is fortunate that you are in a growth sector, your employer’s expectations will keep increasing. As your job description will continue to evolve, your employers expect you to learn how to learn, unlearn and then relearn. You must expand your horizons and pay more attention to the education sector.”
LUMS, as a comprehensive university, is catering to this very need. “We offer an education with no borders, which means we want to tackle national issues our country faces. The grand challenges of our time, such as water, energy, big data, urbanisation, policy and of course business in society, which we are redefining as not only driven by profit but also ethics. We do this by bringing students from all corners of Pakistan together for one overall goal-nation-building.”
He said that there are many lessons one must learn during this time. “It is the need of the hour to invest in educating Pakistanis so they can produce an infinite social return because Pakistan’s future is infinite.”
For Dr. Ahmad, the most powerful solution to the challenges of today lies in education. “In the time of COVID-19, all of us have returned to become learners. No group of experts can alone solve the economic and health crisis we find ourselves in. This is a lesson in humility. We should have the courage to say ‘I don’t know, but I do have questions’.”
He summed up that if we are to learn from this crisis, we must combine our expertise and continue to learn. “Unless this country is prepared to make education a priority, we will only be scratching the surface.”