MANY politicians today who probably do not know how to send and open their own emails are still aspiring for office in the 2022 Philippine elections. How sad for the Philippine politics to be stuck in the eighties. The names I hear both in the national and local levels are the same names I heard when I was in grade school. So just imagine how frustrating it is for those who were not even born yet when these politicians took the helm.

We say the Fourth Industrial Revolution which started in the early 2000’s has disrupted so many things, but it seems it has not disrupted the path of traditional politics. Is it because we are still wallowing in this mindset that age or length of experience is a basis to choose a leader? But their experience belongs to the Third Industrial Revolution – how then are we guaranteed that they have the skills to navigate the new set of problems we face today?

In 2022, a significant portion of our voters will come from Generation Z or those aged between 18 to 24 years old.

Roughly, they say this segment of our population is more than 10 million or almost close to 20 million if we start from aged 15.

I wish to see the Gen Z Filipinos disrupt or destroy all traditional politics in this country. That's the only way we can move forward - to leave the past. The Philippines belongs to the new generation. They just need to claim it. Gen Z must use data, discussion, and a great amount of discernment unlike the older generation. Gen Z voters must research every single thing these candidates stood for in all aspects of their lives and discern whether the skills, attitude, aptitude and values they hold match the pressing issues and problems of the day. Your problems, not their problems! Your problems for a more globally competitive country, skills, jobs, investments, education, global collaboration, preserving the Earth you will inherit. This country needs to go beyond the old generation's excess baggage. Everyone's pulling down one another to get ahead at the expense of the Filipino nation. The old generation lives in a world where we think we know best but not in this new world.

The important question to ask is not whether our leaders have the skills, [rather] whether they have skills of the future.

In a July 2021 research of McKinsey involving 18,000 respondents around the world, they have identified four areas and its components as Deltas (distinct elements of talent) – factors beyond skills and attitudes that every country should seek to develop among their citizens in order for them to thrive in the Information Age.

There are four aspects of Deltas. First is self- leadership, which includes self-awareness and self- management, understanding own emotions and triggers, self- control and regulation, understanding own strengths, integrity, self-motivation and wellness and self-confidence. Under it falls entrepreneurship, courage and risk-taking, driving change and innovation, energy, passion and optimism, breaking orthodoxies, goals achievement, ownership and decisiveness, achievement orientation, grit and persistence, coping with uncertainty and self – development.

Next Delta is digital which includes three aspects, namely, digital fluency and citizenship (digital literacy, digital learning, digital collaboration and digital ethics), software use and development (programming literacy, data analysis and statistics and computational and algorithmic thinking) and understanding digital systems (data literacy, smart systems, cybersecurity literacy and tech translation and enablement).

The third Delta is cognitive which include critical thinking (structured problem solving, logical reasoning, understanding biases, and seeking relevant information), communication (storytelling and public speaking, asking the right questions and synthesizing messages), planning and ways of working (work- plan development, time management and prioritization, and agile thinking) and mental flexibility (creativity and imagination, translating knowledge to different contexts and adopting a different perspective).

The fourth Delta is interpersonal which include mobilizing systems (role modeling, win-win negotiations, crafting an inspiring vision, organizational awareness), teamwork effectiveness (fostering inclusiveness, motivating different personalities, resolving conflicts, collaboration, coaching and empowering) and developing relationships (empathy, inspiring trust, humility and sociability).

In my next column, I will share the results of the research especially the recommendations of McKinsey as to how countries can better prepare their workforce. But for now I ask Gen Z to stand up for themselves and understand that our leaders need new set of Deltas to navigate the future effectively.