Wednesday, June 6, 2018

One Minute Blog: 2 Traits that Define World's Greatest Founders



Further to my last blog and continuing my quest to decipher the learning habits of most influential leaders, I stumbled upon this extraordinary article by Michael Simmons (Titled: 5-Hour Rule: If you’re not spending 5 hours per week learning, you’re being irresponsible.)


While i provide a brief summary below of what i learned from this as below in a few points, I would highly recommend reading through this article 

1. The founders of the five largest companies in the world—Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, and Jeff Bezos— All have two uncommon traits.
  • a. Each of them is a voracious learner.
  • b. Each of them is a polymath.

2. A voracious learner as someone who follows the 5-hour rule—dedicating at least five hours per week to deliberate learning. When you become a voracious learner, you compound the value of everything you’ve learned in the past.

3. A polymath is someone who becomes competent in at least three diverse domains and integrates them into a skill set that puts them in the top 1% of their field. When you become a polymath, you develop the ability to combine skills, and you develop a unique skill set, which helps you develop a competitive advantage.

4. Three strong (and wrong) messages we've all been in taught in school, in college:
Lie #1: Disciplines are the best way to categorize knowledge.
Lie #2: Most learning happens in school/college.
Lie #3: You must pick one field and specialize in it.

"It’s important to teach to the problem, not to the tools. Let’s say you’re trying to teach people about how engines work. A more traditional approach would be to say, ‘We’re going to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches, and you’re going to have a course on screwdrivers and a course on wrenches …. That’s a very difficult way to do it.A much better way would be to say, ‘Here’s the engine. Let’s take it apart. How are we going to take it apart. Oh. We need a screwdriver. That’s what the screwdriver is for. We need a wrench. That’s what the wrench is for.And then a very important thing happens. The relevance becomes apparent.": Elon Musk

Do catch my sketchnote on this article below:


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One Minute Blog: How To Learn Anything In Half The Time

I read these 2 things recently that resonated quite well with me in the midst of the world being redefined rapidly by technological forces:
1. Technology usually takes away professions, not jobs.
2. We won't run out of jobs, We will run out of trained people.[Credits: Abhijit Bhaduri]

I found the second statement profound majorly for the reason that it is progressive. It does gives confidence that with right kind of (and timely) training and learning strategy, it is possible to approach the future with great vigor.

Learning is no longer a tactical function or should i say organizations that take learning as tactical stands to reach obsolescence sooner than later. The organizations that treat learning as a strategic function stands a great chance to beat the multiple forces (technological and beyond) organizations are dealt with.

In my quest to figure out learning strategies for the future, i ran into some wonderful content by Jim Kwik,  founder of Kwik Learning, is a world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, and accelerated learning. 

This blog is a sketchnote presentation of one of his popular YouTube video on the topic: How to Learn Anything in Half The Time.




Enjoy the learning and please do share your feedback.



Monday, May 7, 2018

What Type of Goals are the Most Effective: Performance Goals or Results Goals?


India’s athlete Neeraj Chopra recently came 4th at Javelin event at Diamond League. Diamond League is a world cup of sorts for athletics. He is a small-town athlete from India. India has never been known for its athletics prowess at the world stage. And this very fact makes Neeraj’s performance beyond commendable.

An ESPN author, Jonathan Selvaraj,  recently wrote an article on Neeraj which included some conversations both of them had. While most of the article rightly reflected the pride Neeraj felt at this moment of triumph but there was another part of their chat that caught my attention. And before I tell that part, let me explain something about the sport of Javelin.

As Wikipedia explains, Competition rules in Javelin throw are similar to other throwing events: a round consists of one attempt by each competitor in turn, and competitions typically consist of three to six rounds. The competitor with the longest single legal throw (over all rounds) is the winner.

At the Diamond League event, Neeraj threw 87.43m in the second round and his throws in all other rounds were either fouls or the distance less than this. A Javelin throw of 87.43m also happens to be a new national record for India, with Neeraj beating his own record by more than 1 cm.

Below excerpt from the article explains the gist of the conversation:
"I was hoping to do a personal best and so when I got it in just my second throw, a little part of me felt satisfied. That should not have happened," he says.However, with his focus suddenly shot, Neeraj fouled his next three attempts. "I was trying too hard. I was running in too hard and when that happened I lost my technique. I tried to control myself for my last attempt but when you start thinking about your throw it never comes the way you want."
The mention of “trying too hard”, “lost my technique”, “when you start thinking about your throw” made me tweet to Jonathan the following:
[Anuj] Interesting how mastering softer aspects is so important in a physical sport like Javelin. Neeraj's mention of his trying too hard and overthinking about the throw really tells how keeping things simple is one of the most complex things to master in sport, and in life.

[Jonathan’s response] It was interesting to me that once he achieved his personal best in his second throw,he wasn’t sure how to motivate himself in a competition. Very honest to admit that.

[Anuj] Got reminded of what @bhogleharsha 's book talks about goals. The difference between performance goals and results goals. More focus on result goals, adds pressure. Wonderful to hear about him being honest to admit. Future looks compelling.

In their book, The Winning Way: Learnings from Sport for
Managers, Anita and Harsha Bhogle emphasize the difference between performance goals and result goals. As they say, winning a gold in Olympics is a dream, but you cannot really control how others are going to perform. A swimmer, for example, rather than swimming for gold (results goal) swims for timing (performance goal), which is in his control.
Small, precise, performance-related goals can produce extraordinary results.

Both performance goals and result goals are important. Without result goals, end objective is not clear. Without performance goals, the end may become more important than the means and it may become more difficult to replicate success.
In Neeraj’s case, apparently, more focus on results goal seem to have add that extra bit of pressure  that didn’t let him reach the peak performance after he had achieved world record in the earlier rounds.
At work, what works more for you- performance goals or results goals ?
Do leave your insights in the comments.
Image source: 
https://www.hindustantimes.com/other-sports/neeraj-chopra-sets-new-javelin-mark-two-qualify-for-commonwealth-games/story-ALMeNaSCzVbnfCggRIi0PN.html
https://www.amazon.in/WINNING-WAY-LEARNINGS-MANAGERS-Learning/dp/938065832X

Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Minute Blog: 8 Standout Learnings from the Book: “The Innovator’s Dilemma”



Recently got to read the “Summary of The Innovator’s Dilemma”, a book that has acquired cult status in Innovation circles and I have seen this being quoted in many Innovation discussions I have been a part of in my professional life.
Have shared 8 learnings, that I reproduce from this book, read on:
  • New Technology Improvements: Improvements to a new technology are easy at first but become more difficult to achieve over time.
  • Categories of Tech Innovations: Technological innovations can be divided into two types: sustaining innovations and disruptive innovations.
  • Price Point Plays a Role: Disruptive innovations are often able to earn a place in the market by focusing on price point.
  • Listening to Customers not Always Helpful: Listening to customers and responding to their wishes can actually be counterproductive. Disruptive innovations create their own markets.
  • Conducting Market Research not Always Helpful: While market research is a key point of product development in large firms, it is impossible to do market research with customers and clients of new technologies.
  • New Entrants Often Have More Advantage: Market dynamics can favour new entrants into a business’s sector at the expense of well-established firms.
  • Bureaucracy is an Innovation Killer: Large companies are bureaucratic. Innovation within them is often difficult as a result.
  • Make Special Effort to Retain Top Talent: Defectors who leave successful companies to start rival firms can be a serious challenge to the position of established firms in the market.

If you have read The Innovator's Dilemma, please share your thoughts in the comments. If you haven’t read it, would highly recommend reading it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Would You Prefer an Anish Bhanwala or Tejaswani Sawant in Your Team ?


With Commonwealth Games concluding today, it left behind
many incredible moments.

One memorable moment for me happened on Day 9.

On Day 9, Anish Bhanwala won the Gold in 25m Rapid fire Pistol event. Anish is a 15-year-old athlete (yes you read it right, 15 years).

On the same day, Tejaswani Sawant won the Gold medal in 50m Rifle shooting event. Tejaswani is an 37-year-old experienced shooter.

Shooting is predominantly a precision, skill based sport. A 15-year-old winning a Gold is stunning given the maturity, calmness, nervelessness needed at the very moment you are competing. A teenager exhibiting such poise is phenomenal to say the least.

The sport also requires a sharp mind and vision and that makes a 37-year-old winning Gold very special. During interaction with another exceptional medal winning teenager, Mehuli Ghosh, Tejaswani seemed to have said “You are 17 years of age and my shooting experience is 18 years”.

I feel these stories are important to be told and reflected upon because they are the reflection of the world that we belong to. Two different personalities, from two different generations but both brought glory to the country.

Delving deeper, these instances also gives a fine glimpse in the current and the future workplace. I share a few of my inferences below:

1. Among the employees at workplace, It is now a new normal for team members with generational differences.

2. With right kind of mentoring, guidance and support systems, millennials can deliver punch much above their weight.

3. The rules of game are fast changing but the right kind of experience will have a valuable place at workplace. The tacit knowledge and situational awareness that experienced people brings in, will remain treasured.

4. The way we measure experience will evolve from mere age or years of doing something to more meaningful ways. In my humble opinion, years as an unit of measuring experience is more an indicator of time elapsed, not necessarily an indicator of superiority of skills or presence of extraordinary wisdom.

5. In today’s world, the time taken to master skills is shortening considerably. It is a new imperative for both the experienced people and millennials to discover newer ways to shorten skill learning cycles.

What are your takeaways?

Agree or disagree- do leave your thoughts in comments?

Image Source:
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/commonwealth-games/cwg-2018-15-year-old-anish-creates-history-tejaswini-rolls-back-the-years/articleshow/63756028.cms
http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/commonwealth-games/cwg-2018-day-9-highlights-shooters-break-records-bajrang-punia-bags-gold/






Friday, April 13, 2018

One Minute Blog: My Speech at Illinois Institute of Technology Graduation Day


I recently blogged about this in detail, but for those of the readers who prefer brevity, here is a concise version of the blog. This speech got a sizable traction in social media with 15000+ views on LinkedIn and 500+ on YouTube.

The key points that I shared during my speech are summarized below, followed by a Sketchnote.


1. Stay in the present
  • "Just block all the future thoughts and bask in the glory of current moment."
  • "Embrace this time with all your senses."
  • "Seize the moment."
2. Think Big:
  • "Let this not be the defining moment of your life."
  • “Educational Qualifications are not the ends in itself, they are the means to achieve something greater.”
3. Embrace Non-linearity
"Skills do have an expiry date and this expiry date is shortening by the day."
"Continuous learning is not a differentiator anymore, it is a mandatory."
“If we do not change the way we teach, 30 years from now we will be in trouble."- Jack Ma
"Learn Empathy"



Friday, March 30, 2018

One Minute Blog: Learnings from a Recent Graduation Day Speech



I recently got a chance to speak at Illinois Institute of Technology's Graduation day. 

Sharing thoughts at an event like a graduation ceremony is usually the reflection of one's own lifelong learnings and experiences.

But this post is not about my speech. This is about the speech of my friend and mentor Tathagat Varma (TV), which I found quite inspirational. The detailed speech can be found here, but sharing quick summary and a sketch note as below.

His top three advise for graduating class were:

1. Be a Learner
   It is important to be a lifelong learner. If we sit on the laurels of the past, we are eventually destined to become irrelevant.

   The real "learning" will only happen when you start putting all that to practice and realize that there are things that you don't quite know, or you begin to question what was taught in the classroom.

2. Be a Maker
   If you want to continue being relevant in your careers, make sure you discard the charms of being a manager and simply adopt the seemingly-less sexy but more gratifying life of being a tinkerer, a builder, a maker.

3. Be a Giver
Education is an obligation, education is a responsibility...to give it back to the community, to enrich the society, to help those lesser fortunate than us to get an education.

I found this profound as this is applicable not only for the graduating class but also for everyone else. Thank you TV for this inspirational speech.