2 july 2020

Career competencies for the connected world

When the job market, work environment and economic outlook seems bleak and challenging, it forces us to look within ourselves, to make changes that can help us sustain the external environment in order to be competitive and relevant.

So, here are my thoughts on career competencies for the connected world.

Innovative thinking:

Being curious these days is considered good, unlike the yesteryears, where parents and teachers didn’t like their wards to question them or in other words 'be curious'. Today we are called, not to be satisfied with the current situation, but question the status quo. We need to get out of our current comfort zones. As Sundar Pichai remarked in his commencement speech to the class of 2020, that they need to be impatient, implying that they need to be inquisitive, look for untrodden paths and question the settled systems. In short - 'unsettle'.

Problem Solving:

Managers look for problem-solvers and not people who walk into their office and only whine about their problems. They look forward to their team members being potential crisis managers to say the least. When one persistently searches for ways and means to solve a problem, it means that the person is positive. He is deemed to be a forward-looking person who wouldn't get bogged down by challenges along the way. It is better for a man to try and then fail than never to have tried at all.

Tech-savvy: In these modern times, one of the most important competencies to possess is being 'tech- savvy. It isn't necessary and rather quite impossible to be knowledgeable on all technologies in the market, as technological obsolescence is very high. Given these facts, it is important to embrace technology in our current lives and enjoy advancements - be it in entertainment, learning, at work or even connecting with loved ones across the globe. If anyone refrains from being technically oriented or are too slow off the blocks, then they will be doing it at their own peril. Remember, he who hesitates, is lost!

Networking capability: Though we are in the middle of probably the worst pandemic of this modern era and are being taught hard lessons on safe distancing and less of in-person collaboration, I see it important for people to network with each other virtually. A good performer, manager or even a leader is not one who knows everything, but one who can successfully execute either by his own doing or through his team. Knowing where and how to reach out to people is important. After all, we are social living beings and we need the other - be it for healthy competition or collaboration.

Resilience : Make no mistake in assuming that resilience here means 'resistance', especially when it comes to change. As Zig Zagler said, "Getting knocked down in life is a given. Getting up and moving forward is a choice". Being resilient is about having the courage to stand up for what you believe in and ensure that you are strong when you are challenged with unexpected hurdles in life.

Self-reliance: This is not a bad behaviour to exhibit, in challenging times like what we are experiencing right now. Knowing multiple skills and being knowledgeable of the big picture across the board will only benefit the person, especially in times when others cannot be reached. However, in normal circumstances, self- reliance may have been seen as a double-edged sword where one would have come across as being independent on the one hand and on the other, pride. Portraying self reliance could sometimes be misconstrued as being an introvert as well.

Resourcefulness: Be like “salt”. It’s presence may not be noticed, but it’s absence will make all dishes tasteless. Perform in a way to accelerate others success and your presence will be more valued. Make your “character” the salt that people will value even when you are not around. Try to be that 'go-to' person. The more you learn and impart, the more you would benefit because people around you know that they can learn something from you and at the same time, you stand to personally benefit by way of new learning.

Dexterous: One of the most wanted modern skill is to be an agile learner. One should be able to adopt, adapt and adjust to this fast-changing technology world. We cannot be like the new born mosquito who told his father after flying for the first time, "Dad I didn't know that humans loved us so much. They were clapping for me all through". Of course the father mosquito knew what the claps actually meant! Hence, the need of the hour is to learn quickly from our experiences.