Committing to a career in Music
Jayashri talks about her chance meeting with Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman and how that changed everything for her. She discusses the faith that he had in her when he asked her to learn music under his guidance and how that instilled a sense of responsibility for her to stay committed to the path.
Spotting Long Term Potential
Vijay talks about the role of effort in the context of long-term growth and development. People often get into a debate about whether it is nature or nurture and he makes a strong case for hard work through which people can often make up for significant deficiencies in talent. This is arguably all the more relevant in the world we live in where the half-life of the relevant of talent in a certain area is diminishing with the velocity of change around.
How Army looks for Potential
Anyone who wants to join the Indian Armed Forces as an officer has to go through the Service Selection Board (SSB). The ultimate goal is to select people with Officer Like Qualities (OLQs). Thus, the focus is on hiring based solely on potential rather than experience or academic qualifications. Our digital world is also moving towards potential-based hiring. Hear how the corporate world can learn some lessons from the SSB.
Judging potential can be a very tricky thing to do in companies. While outcomes are very visible but markers of potential are often buried deep within and one has to look for them with a keen eye. OGQ’s youngest athlete is 8 years old, an indication of how much they are betting on future potential. Viren talks about how they use a combination of metrics and elements of judgment to figure out which athletes to back.
Unlocking the potential
Prakash talks about what sometimes comes in the way of people achieving their full potential. He talks about the importance of hard work (however clichéd it may sound) but also talks about the key element of enlisting others on the “bus”
Backing the best founders
Success of a Venture Investing firm is inexorably tied to the fortunes of the investors they back. Avnish talks about the science and art of how they pick investors and engage with them to drive value.
Backing an entrepreneur
Apart from being an academician, Kartik is also an active entrepreneur and invests and mentors start ups. So who better to ask, how does one pick an idea to back? Kartik elaborates on three main skills he looks at before deciding to support an idea or a person.
Picking leaders to invest behind
One of the many hats Ravi wears in his professional life is that of an investor. He is a venture partner and invests in young companies. In this nugget, he talks about the five main qualities he looks for in any entrepreneur before backing him and how he goes about deciphering whether those qualities exist in the individual or not. Hint: It is much more to do than your academics or career record!
Hiring for the Digital World
Unlike the analog world, employees and customers in the digital world are at the centre and the organization and processes are built around them. This makes the hiring of employees a very significant task. How does a leader go about hiring someone and what are their markers for potential? Don’t miss the insightful anecdote about The Knowledge test that the London cab drivers have to take and how that is relevant to this nugget.
Picking Founders effectively
Backing the right founders is a combination of a science and an art. How do you back an entrepreneur who has the conviction arond his idea but is also amenable to input. At the stage of Venture Investing, a big part of value creation is often around getting this judgment right on the Founder. Karthik talks about what he looks for during investing.
Identifying and unlocking potential
Vishy talks about what he looks for when he is looking for long-term potential. He talks about the criticality of consistency in performance coupled with an attitude where someone is willing to grind away at a goal. He also discusses the success of academies that have produced a pipeline of talent and juxtaposes that with examples of a Roger Federer emerging from Switzerland or a Magnus Carlsen emerging from Norway.
Markers of Long term Potential
Jay discusses what a “lambi race ka ghoda” looks like in Politics. He also talks about the role of circumstance playing a much bigger role in Politics than in other domains. He talks about how effective politicians stay relevant by appealing to different segments over time as the public sentiment shifts over time.
Assembling an effective team
Vinay talks about how Narasimha Rao picked his team members and think about the portfolio of capabilities in his team. He specifically alludes to the fact that he was self-aware about what he knew and didn’t know and was able to hire best in class talent without feeling insecure. He also talks about how Narasimha Rao brought in diversity of thought across various topics to ensure it was a balanced team.
Leadership Development in the Digital economy
Rich talks about how Google things about spotting potential and about Leadership Development. He quotes an interesting statistic from a piece of research by Corporate Leadership Council. He said that they found that that in 71% of the time people who are high performers were not high potentials but conversely 93% percent of high potentials are also high performers. He also goes on to talk about “Googliness” a term that encapsulates some of the softer aspects of an individual that flourishes inside Google.
Taking stock of life after Bazee sale
When Avnish started Baazee, his financial goal was to make USD 2 Million. When he sold Baazee to Ebay for USD 55 Million, he had made close to 10x of his estimate. He talks about how he took stock of life and moved forward from that point.
Career planning 2.0 for graduates
In this rapidly changing world, Ravi has three main nuggets of wisdom for graduates who are thinking about their careers and professional life ahead. How has the view of a ‘career’ changed over time and what is the best way to think about it today? What qualities should one spend time cultivating and nurturing? Hear on.
Gig economy and careers
Ravi has had two long stints in Cummins and then Microsoft, after which he switched to a portfolio of opportunities. He talks about evaluating this deep root vs. wide branches approach to structuring your career. He also has important tips for organizations looking to attract good performers. Tune in!
Career Planning 2.0
Thinking about a career has moved away from a linear notion – educate, work, retire. Also the idea of working in one company for the rest of your life has become obsolete. So how should one think about their career in this digital age? How can people stay relevant? Abhijit believes that skills will become obsolete quicker and gives tips about how to navigate their careers.
Marrying passion with pragmatism
Follow your passion is bad advice says Cal Newport in his book 'So good they cannot ignore you'. How does one think about options and decisions when passion and pragmatism point in different directions. Atul talks about how one could look at adjacencies and be pragmatic about a career decision by looking at supply-demand trends in an industry that one is trying to enter.
Educating ourselves (and link with leadership of the future)
We are growing into a future where there are several unkown unknowns. Pramath talks about what sort of leaders would flourish in the new paradigm and how one should think about education in the context of this broad trend.
Navigating the sea of career options
"What should I do with my life" is often a question that we grapple with at different inflection points in our life. Vinita talks about the various dimensions along which she evaluates opportunities that have come her way at different points in her journey.
Transitioning roles in a large MNC
Navigating your career in a large, complex MNC can often be challenging and confusing. Vinita talks about how she navigated her career across different roles in Cadbury's and the Coca Cola company.
Careers - Paradox of choice
In a world exploding with choice, Barry Schwartz argues that consumers are often worse off due to the complexity in decision making and Fear of Missing Out. Rama talks about how one should navigate the world under such circumstances.
Building optionality during early career
Dheeraj talks about the distinction between process and substance in the context of making career choices. He also talks about how he built optionality at various points in his early career.
Perspectives around career choice
Dheeraj discusses his perspectives on how students and professionals should think about choices and learning. He underscores the criticality of having unfettered curiosity across disciplines similar to Da Vinci who showed equal curiosity to matters of art and science across disciplines.
Navigating your career
Anu talks about her moment of epiphany during an interview with a McKinsey partner that really pushed her to reflect on what she enjoyed and what she didn’t. She talks about how she has tried to get to the bottom of what gives her energy.
Early career choices - Medical Rep/Painting/Advertising
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how he thought about an early fork in the road where he had to choose between disparate options in front of him. One was to become a Medical Representative which was highly lucrative in those days, Second was to become a Drawing teacher and the third was to pursue art in the world of advertising. He discusses how he walked the tightrope where the mind and heart were pulling him in different directions.
Transitioning from Banking to PE
Amit talks about how he thought about the transition from the world of Investment Banking to Private Equity. He talks about taking stock of life after reaching the heights of the Investment Banking profession and also seeking more time to devote to some of the other elements in his life such as Social Impact.
Raising the game when it matters
Mouli talks about the concept of Learning Cycles and how it is critical for people to focus on completing large learning cycles to build significant distinctive capability. He also makes the distinction between major and minor learning cycles and talks about how effective leaders often kick their game up a notch when it comes to a major learning cycle. The concept of learning cycle is also relevant when we think about processing opportunities that come along in our journey.
Picking mentors thoughtfully
Mouli underscores the criticality of having sound mentors in todays world where there are more forks in the road and several choices to be made for all of us. Mouli also talks about his framework for how we all should think about selecting the mentors that guide us. He talks about how Mentors should have seen some parts of the “movie” that you haven’t and should be completely vested in your success with no conflict of interest.
Decoupling quitting & joining decisions
Mouli talks about how people often mix up the two decisions and how they can end up over-appreciating what is right in the new context and what is wrong in the current situation. He brings it back to the point that careers are driven by capability and not by role/title. He urges us to think hard about the learning opportunity in the current environment and carefully evaluate the pros and cons of the current and the new opportunity before taking a decision.
Choosing career direction post CRISIL
Roopa talks about how she took stock of options after her successful run in CRISIL. She talks about the process she went through to first eliminate what options may not make sense for her before she ended up choosing to join Omidyar Network. She talks about having informal discussions with ~45 people over a 9 month period to get directional clarity on what might make sense for her.
Making Directional Choices
Jayashri talks about how she made choices along the way, more specifically, the choice between going deep into Carnatic music versus collaborating with different art forms. She also speaks about how she has learnt from collaborating with other artists and how that has improved her core art form – Carnatic Music
Strategy and Careers
Tarun talks about developments in the field of Strategy and maps that to how individuals should think about their careers. He acknowledges the influence of Prof. Ben Jones (of Northwestern University) in shaping his thinking here. He talks about the fact that the world of knowledge is growing exponentially and we will know less and less (as a percentage) of what is to be known. He discusses how people should think about specialization and collaboration in this context and shares his perspective on the mind-set with which we should march into the future that can feel overwhelming.
Key career choices
Dr. Guha speaks about some of the key choices he made at various forks in the road that presented themselves in front of him. He specifically talks about the crucial role of his father and his wife in giving him the flexibility to pursue his calling without getting him to “play safe” or to seek commercially lucrative options at the expense of pursuing things that energized him.
Flex the current context or reboot
Stew speaks about how we should try and stretch the boundaries of our current context before we start thinking about drastic solutions including changing jobs. He speaks about the notion of the Theory of small wins that underpins that Total Leadership approach and also refers to the work of Herminia Ibarra – Author of the book Working Identity.
Taking the entrepreneurial plunge
Falguni speaks about the phase of life when she decided to become and entrepreneur after 25+ years post IIMA and after a successful run at Kotak. She also speaks about other businesses she considered (Professionalizing Nursing Homes, Creating a Market for second homes to name a couple) before proceeding with building out Nykaa.
Key choices that stand out
Rajat speaks about some of the choices he is proud to have made in his journey. He also reflects on choices that he wonders if he could have made differently, especially while transitioning into the next phase of his life after McKinsey.
When a promotion may not make sense
Michael speaks about how leaders could end up making a mistake by following the “default momentum” in their corporate journeys. He says that it is surprisingly easy to make yourself unhappy by the choices you make at senior levels. He talks about the need to pause and take stock of the opportunity even if it means that it is the natural rite of passage to the top of the organization.
Acting your way to new thinking
Herminia speaks about the criticality of not over-thinking around transitions and urges us to take actions which gives us new “material” for us to reflect on and move forward. She specifically urges us to craft experiments (try new activities and roles), shifting connections (find doors into new worlds) and making sense to rework our story.
Portfolio approach versus Full-time role
Herminia speaks about how leaders should think about choosing between a full time role and a portfolio where they take on a set of initiatives. She goes on to speak about the criticality of having an anchor around which we could build our identity which often happens by default when we work in a corporate context.
Operational, Personal and Strategic networks
Herminia speaks about the different networks that we need to bring to bear especially when we are in transition. She speaks about personal, operational and strategic networks and goes on to say that the first two often evolve by default but one needs to be deliberate about the third. She also speaks about how leaders need to think about acting like a bridge rather than as a hub where everything converges into the leader.
The perils of foreclosure
Herminia speaks about two dimensions – commitment and exploration – when leaders go through a transition. She speaks about how there is a tendency for leaders to commit to something too early and how that could lead to a suboptimal solution because they haven’t considered enough possibilities before they make a decision.
Role of the spouse
Herminia speaks about the role of the spouse in transitions and the criticality of aligning the transition strategy with them. Very often, implicitly they assume that you would plan your way and dive into an opportunity shortly after. They are often not mentally prepared to deal with the phase of exploration and experimentation that is often required before you make a choice of direction. She speaks about the importance of staying close to them and keeping them updated on the thinking process during a transition.
Physical trainer to Leadership Coach
Paddy speaks about the journey and the various steps he took as he moved from being the fitness trainer for the South African cricket team between 1994 and 1998 to becoming the Strategic Leadership and Mental Conditioning Coach (working closely with Gary Kirsten) of the Indian Cricket team between 2008 and 2011 (helping them win the World Cup in 2011).
Rejecting 3 jobs and painting in Goa
KV Sridhar (Pops) talks about how came to Mumbai to pursue commercial opportunities and cast his net beyond Hyderabad – where he grew up. He also talks about the fact that very quickly he got himself three offers (on the creative and commercial side) but decided to go to Goa to learn and reboot. He talks about how he led the life of a vagabond for a few months and how he landed the next role at Ulka.
Going on an inner journey
Paddy speaks about how he went on an internal journey over a period of time that gave him a deeper understanding of himself. He speaks about how he tried a range of things including mindfulness techniques, meditation, breath work and Yoga. He also speaks about how he attended several 2-3 day sessions including the Landmark Forum that gave him an opportunity to explore himself.
Role Of Coaching In Development
Vijay talks about the role of coaching at various stages of a person’s life and how as a person evolves, the coach that works with you to help you go to the next level might change. He also talks about how much can get accomplished through sheer will power using the fascinating example of Richard Williams who (with limited background in tennis) through his sheer resolve coached Serena and Venus to become world champions.
Picking a coach – Learning from Mary Kom’s example
Picking a coach for a leader can be challenging. There are several variables at play and given what is at stake, it is critical to ensure that this is done thoughtfully. Viren uses the example of Mary Kom to talk about how they went about selecting Charles Atkinson to train Mary Kom. Some of the insights from the nugget are arguably highly relevant in the corporate world in the context of how leaders and companies think about their leadership development and coaching programmes.
Selecting a Coach effectively
Selecting a coach for a leader can be a reasonably ambiguous task. Prakash talks about how we could learn from the world of sport in ensuring that we get a coach who is fit for purpose.
Growing as a player and inflection points
Vishy talks about how his approach to development has changed as he has grown as a player over time. He talks about his approach to picking Coaches that get the best out of him. He also discusses the impact of technology on what it takes to be a successful player while getting the most out of the machines. He talks about the trade-off between specialization and flexibility in this context.
Effective coaching process
Devdutt talks about what leads to an effective coaching relationship. He describes the complexity of a coaching process and mentions that the onus is often on the Coachee to tap into the database of the Coach and extract the value. Several leaders see Coaching as linear relationship where there is a pre-defined process which leads to an outcome. He emphasizes that the reality is quite different from that.
Picking an effective Coach
Deepa discusses her approach to picking a Coach while training for Rio Olympics. She mentions that given the uniqueness of her body condition and the training need, the traditional coaching approaches did not work. She talks about how she worked with a biomechanics gym trainer, watched her diet and worked on her psychology as preparation for the Olympics.
Characteristics of great coaches
Jayashri discusses her observations of Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman and how he would unlock the potential of each of his students by tailoring his approach and finding a different set of tools for each individual. She also talks about how he would role-model standards of excellence in his practice of the art form
Giving feedback by listening
Arun talks about insights from Dalai Lama (who also wrote the foreword for his book) who says that Listening is the first wisdom tool and it is a pre-requisite for reflection, compassion and self-knowledge. Arun discusses why it is important to create a space for the feedback to land on the other side and listening is the path to creating that space.
The art of facilitation
Arun talks about how one must be clear about how one should think about structuring a meeting/conversation. He also suggests different formats depending on different depths to which we wish to go in the conversation. He makes the distinction between discussion, debate, deliberation and dialogue and urges us to be clear about what to use when.
Building deeper relationships
Indranil talks about how we can apply the concept of Story-listening in the context of understanding another human being. He also discusses the power of stories in a home context. He says that stories make things real. Very often we are busy communicating abstract concepts without giving our children an insight into where the opinion comes from.
Role of a coach in Work-life integration
Stew speaks about the role of two types of coaches in such journeys. Firstly, he speaks about the value of peer to peer coaching networks where you are compassionate, curious, caring and candid with each other and learn/help each of the members of the group move forward. He also speaks about the role of professional coaches in providing another perspective and in holding you accountable
ROI of transition support
Michael speaks about the business case for Transition Advisory support when leaders take on a new role (internal or external transition). While is it is understood that it is lonely at the top, it is worth recognizing that it is lonelier when you are settling into a new context when leaders do not have an asset of relationships to count on (yet) and don’t have meaningful feedback loops that gives them a sense of how they are doing.
Fit for purpose feedback loop
Michael speaks about the sub-optimality in feedback loops when a new leader comes into an organization. He speaks about the relevance of early conversations with the stakeholders and Day 90/120 conversations to ensure that leaders get tailored constructive feedback to ensure that they are able to course correct early in their journeys.
Coach Coachee relationship
Matt discusses how he stays on top of adjacent disciplines such as nutrition, sleep science, strength and conditioning and other related topics to be relevant in the work he does. He also reflects on the learning opportunities in working with the athletes and coaches that he trains at Purple Patch Fitness.
Coaching CEOs and Elite Athletes
Matt speaks about the similarities across and differences between how elite athletes and time starved CEOs approach training for triathlon. He makes the distinction between the individuals that check boxes and those that really use this as a springboard to thrive in their mission.
Gautam Gambhir and the straight drive
Paddy speaks about how Gautam Gambhir was once trying to perfect his straight drive. He noticed that his shots were often going square of the wicket and he wanted to correct that. Expert inputs from accomplished players who understood the technique well didn’t quite help him sort out the issue. Paddy speaks about how he guided Gautam to listen to his own body and tune into his uniqueness to find the answer.
Role of a coach in enhancing self-awareness
Tasha speaks about the value of having an external coach speak to several of the key stakeholders to form a nuanced picture. She also points out the limitations of numeric 360 surveys and details out some of the questions she likes to ask when does her coaching work.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Roopa talks about the attitudes that have held her in good stead as she has gone through her journey. She also talks about how a lot of clarity around one’s own potential evolves over time and suggests that we don’t get anxious about it too early.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Neera talks about how it is not about each of us individually fulfilling our potential but more about how we can work with a group of people and unlock greater possibilities. She also discusses how we all get cues along the way that nudge us in certain directions for us to pursue the path that that could enable us to fulfil our potential
In summary - Playing to Potential
Deepa shares her perspective on people playing to their respective potential. She discusses the criticality of having a happy mind, staying positive and having the discipline and work towards it. She urges us to be true to ourselves for us to push towards excellence
In summary - Playing to Potential
Jayashri talks about her approach to giving back to the community through the various things she does, whether it is helping children who have autism or performing for seniors at locations where they live. She also talks about her work through SPIC MACAY in using art to improve lives.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Arun talks about how it is easy to get lost in the here and now and the buzz of the day to day that we sometimes might forget where we are headed. He likens it to Spanish tiki-taka where there is a lot of graceful ball-passing going on but sometimes the ball doesn’t get to the goal enough (something that commentators about the Spanish team in 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia). He urges us to spend time reflecting on what we deeply care about and take our first steps towards that.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Ambi talks about some of the key choices he has made over his journey that has helped get to where he has. He also spends time talking about his curiosity (that led him to do a PhD when he was past his 50) and how it has helped him grow over a period of time. Referring to his latest book, he talks about the criticality of being a SPONGE and learn from around us as we move forward in our respective journeys.