Saturday, July 14, 2018

#podcastdiaries: Timeless Skills for the New World

Recently came across this wonderful podcast between Ravi Venkatesan (former CEO of Microsoft India) and Pankaj Mishra (CEO of This conversation revolved primarily around how careers of future will evolve.

Summary of conversation:

Rebooting the Core Career Principles:
New world requires core career principles to be rebooted. What are the new principles?
    1.      The reason we were born on earth is not to have a job; most of us are searching for the reason as to why we were put on the earth. The job is only a means to that bigger end.
    2.       The biggest obstacle to your success is you. Learn to get out of your own way.
    3.       Be the CEO of your own career.  You better take charge of your career because nobody else will.
    4.       Don't get fooled into thinking that you have a lifelong career. At any moment, you need to be able to prepared to be independent and stand on your own 2 feet. If you prepare yourself for that you are going to have much better ride.
    5.       The chances of you getting a great job by pursuing it are not so great. Its far better to make yourself attractive and let the jobs/opportunities come your way.
    6.       Stay away from the sense of entitlement: Nobody owes you anything.

What are those Timeless Skills that will sustain any disruption ?

#1 Learning Ability (Learning Agility):
If a person is thrown into a situation that they have never seen or experienced, how quickly can they figure out what it takes to succeed. Learning agility is a muscle, the more you practice, the stronger it becomes.
People who have learning agility
1. tends to be intensely curious about everything,
2. they tend to like to read,
3. they tend to like new challenges,
4. they don’t like predictable things,
4. they like ambiguous situations.
No matter what you know today, in 2 or 3 years it is going to be obsolete. The ability to forget and relearn new things goes a long way.
Each time you take a risk and put yourself out of the comfort zone, learning happens. That's how this muscle called learning agility develops. Repeatedly throw yourself in a completely new situation. This is one of those horizontal skills that you can see that will never be obsolete.

#2 Ability to lead:
Second skill that is going to be timeless is the ability to lead. No matter how much automation is there, there would always be people around and the ability to lead them to do amazing things is a very precious quality. What limits the ablity of an organization to grow- it is frankly the number of leaders it has. Leadership is not the same as position of people in authority.
Most people could be a leader, they have the latent potential but a very few end up harnessing it. The first step it takes to become a leader is to take ownership of something.

#3 Ability to manage yourself:
The biggest obstacle to your success is you. Sooner or later, we each become the barriers to other's success. We have to learn to get out of our own way.
It takes high degree of self-awareness.
Metaphor of a giant balloon: Think of a giant hot-air balloon which has a huge lift, thats your potential. You could be anything but this balloon is held down by thick ropes or chains. These chains are your weaknesses, your fears.
Don't create stories in your mind that are self-limiting.
People who are able to succeed beyond luck are the ones that are able to see whats holding them down and gradually unshakle themselves.

Here's the sketchnote summary i drew for the podcast:

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