On 1st February 2019, authors Chandramouli Venkatesan and Rajiv Jayaraman jointly delivered a virtual talk on ‘Success in Careers and the Realities of the Digital Era’. Venkatesan and Jayaraman, both of whom have books launching in early 2019 gave us a snapshot of lessons from their upcoming books: ‘Get Better at Getting Better’ (Chandramouli Venkatesan) and ‘Clearing the Digital BLUR’ (Rajiv Jayaraman).
Part 1 – Succeeding at Work and in Life:
The Get Better Model
“How you succeed is not about how good you are, but about whether you have a good enough model to continuously improve how good you are.”
The most common trait among successful people is that they have a strong model to improve themselves. What separates successful people from the rest of us is that they don’t just focus on the experiences. Rather, they focus on how to extract most value from the experiences they have and codify it into their brain for future responses.
Chandramouli propounds that most individuals focus only on the experiences and believe that they need to have better or different experiences to succeed rather than extracting more from the experiences. This typical behavior is the result of three strongly held myths:
- The pace at which we all work is the same
- The harder we work, the better we get
- Age adversely impacts our ability to get better
The reality is that the bulk of one’s career is in their middle age and late adulthood, while the bulk of heightened human learning efficiency is in childhood and young adulthood. As a result, most individuals can burnout on learning agility and fail in the second half of their career.
Succeeding in the 2nd Half
“Most people succeed in the 1st half of their careers; Very few succeed in the second half.”
An important question to ask ourselves is this – ‘What am I doing about my learning model to ensure that I always improve to codify my experiences in my brain for future use?’ To be able to succeed in the second half of one’s career, Chandramouli suggests leveraging two crucial strategies:
#1 – Being Deliberate: Do things on purpose and understand the importance and value of everything you do. Don’t do things for the sake of doing them.
#2 – Prioritize getting better, not getting better results: Self development is key to ensuring better results repeatedly.
Because: Success = Effort * Quality of Get Better Model
Managing one’s career for real growth requires individuals to focus on winning where it matters. According to Chandramouli, where it really matters is in the second half of their career. His advice is to focus on building the foundation of growth in the first half of your career to prepare for success in the second half.
Bringing Life into the Equation
“There is a misconception that we succeed at work because of what we do at work. Yes, it makes a difference, but a lot of the success at work is the function of the nature of the person you are, which develops in life.”
Most individuals focus significantly on their work – career growth, providing for their families, etc., leaving little room for life experiences. The most successful people, however, believe that what they do in life significantly influences their work.
Chandramouli gives the example of Albert Einstein in this regard: Einstein believed that he was a successful scientist because he was a passionate violin player. He goes as far as to say that the theory of relativity occurred to him as a result of his musical perception.
There are 2 areas in life one must consider being purposeful:
- Hobbies – “passionate, striving hobbies” can dictate your outcome at work
- Values – how do we make our values a catalyst for our success?
These are experiences Chandramouli shares in the webinar, detailed out in two books he has authored and published, sharing strategies that caters to helping people to strengthen their ‘Get-Better Model’, be the catalyst in their own growth, and achieve career success and success in life.
Part 2 – Implications of Digital on Careers today:
Rajiv Jayaraman takes over the webinar in the second half to talk about Digital Disruption and its impact on careers today. He talks about how organizations are being transformed by digital – organizations that have survived and are thriving are the ones that have embraced digital disruption by operating in a boundaryless fashion, with limitless digitization, unbounded innovation and relentlessly iterating their offerings, processes, strategies and even teams to provide seamless customer experience and unlock new business value.
Case-in-point: Garry Kasparov – Chess Grandmaster, “Don’t fear intelligent machines, work with them.”:
In 1997, Kasparov played two games of Chess against the IBM Supercomputer. Kasparov won the first match but lost the second. What happened between the two matches was that the machine learnt, the human did not. Kasparov made a statement after losing – ‘This is an unfair contest. The machine has access to a lot of data. Hook me up with a computer as well and let’s see what happens.’
This comment propelled research on the human-computer combination. Ultimately, in the 2014 Freestyle Chess Championship, the human-machine combination systematically beat the machine.
While digital technology continues to rapidly takeover many roles, people remain at the heart of a digital organization. Unfortunately, academia and corporate learning are yet to catch up to cater to the requirements of digital disruption and make people digital-ready. Therefore, Learning Agility is a crucial skill for people to manage their career growth in the Digital Age. In the webinar and in his book ‘Clearing the Digital BLUR, Rajiv propounds key steps to take and crucial capabilities to develop for organizations and individuals to succeed in the face of Digital:
- Capabilities for the Digital Age:
- Thought Leadership
- An Outside-In perspective
- Digital Literacy – A working understanding of technologies and their impact
- Design Thinking
- Experimenter’s mindset
- Key steps to success:
- Embrace Data Analytics
- Commit to life-long learning – Invest in your capability development
- Solve problems that matter
- Stay curious
- Build networks of experts
Watch this space for future webinars from KNOLSKAPE.