Want to get ahead in your career? Ask the question why all the time!

By Theresa Manavalan

That’s the golden rule Maybank’s Dato’ Muzaffar Hisham uses to get ahead and lead the pack in the dynamic, disruptive and rapidly changing world of banking.

A quote worth remembering by Dato’ Muzaffar Hisham, Group Head of Global Banking at Maybank is “We usually know “what” or “how” we do things, but not many question themselves on “why” they do it.”

This is a key lesson from renowned leadership guru, Simon Sinek, which had resonated well with Dato’ Muzaffar as he reveals “why” is often the question he asks himself that allows him to take a step back, reflect and review, because it is important to have clarity in order to lead and to get ahead.

An example? “Things I did 10 years ago may be irrelevant in 2018. Most things have been automated, replaced by a system or software that works 10 times faster. Hence, I believe it is important to ask “why” to help you navigate in a fast-changing world without losing sight on other things beyond technology. People who work knowing their purpose would perform significantly better at work and showcase more passion.”

Dato’ Muzaffar has first-hand experience on this, given that he is right at the heart of the biggest disruptions to ever hit the banking industry – new technology, new trends and new behaviours coming from the new generation all happening at once.

“At a time like this, you must have resilience and agility. In my 22 years of banking experience, I learned that being fast to adapt to changes and ability to cope and recover from setbacks are absolute needs.”

Staying connected with others is also an important dimension for Dato’ Muzaffar. Every week he makes an effort to connect with different key people in the bank. This includes young talent. Through sessions such as Breakfast with GB Talents, Dato’ Muzaffar and his colleagues bridge the generation and information gaps that are inevitable in large organisations. This enables learning from each other, getting up to date on current happenings, and discussing mistakes to avoid repeating them.

I try to put myself in others’ shoes to understand them better.

“Being close to our young talent helps me build relationships. I try to put myself in their shoes to understand them better. I want to influence the future of banking through our people.

“Being one of the largest banks in ASEAN, the growth opportunities and diverse international prospects are available to anyone who are bold enough to chase them. The possibilities are endless here, far beyond just being a place solely for bankers, but in other fields like technology, finance, risk management, communications and more.”

“I can tell you that the industry is still as exciting as it can ever be – with so many types of disruptors. Gone are the days where traditional approaches to value creation such as product innovation are sufficient. We are now in the age of prioritising customer value creation and working with technology instead of against. I look forward to seeing where Maybank and the whole industry progresses to in the coming years.”

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