Accelerating Curiosity at Work

The company culture impacts our behavior at work, with peers, customers, and other stakeholders.

With AI doing many mundane tasks that humans used to do before/until now, we need to evolve or hone the “human centric skills” that computers cannot do so easily/replace us on. One very important characteristic of human beings is our curiosity. While we all start out being very curious as babies, as we get older and get through school, home, and our surroundings, the almost “natural” curiosity seems to fade away or underutilized immensely. It’s no surprise then what happens at workplaces when new hires join at a company.

To reignite and accelerate curiosity at work, we need a paradigm shift. To make curiosity a part of the company culture, it has to be encouraged and incentivized at every level of the company. Management has to be curious and ask thoughtful questions in meetings and encourage active participation and questions from meeting participants. Team leads and managers should approach their team meetings with questions, empathy, and active listening. Eventually, curiosity will flow through the company and become an integral part of its identity. Until then, the road ahead can be challenging but the end result will be magnificent!

Better Habits

Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. 

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits writes on his website that “Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.”

Generally speaking, who you are today can be traced to what your habits are.

Want to live a healthier lifestyle? Learn and implement good health habits.

Want to become better in client management? Learn and implement good client management habits.

Want to become really good at asking thoughtful questions at work and in school? Learn and implement good inquisitive habits.

Our habits are our secret authentic superpowers. If we want to achieve our goals and visions, we need to have the best habits in place and not only rely on daily motivation, discipline, and will. Habits will take us further than we tend to realize. Establishing better habits early in our development years (health habits, financial habits, social habits, and more) is key to living our authentic greatness!

Thoughts on Skill

The word “Skill” gets used very casually these days.

It’s a Skills driven world. It’s about Skills. Skills over Degrees.

A skill is the ability to complete a set of tasks well.

In a workplace, people use their various skillsets to get a task done. A designer will use her/his design skills, knowledge, and experience to work on a website, app, or do design work. A training coordinator will use his/her training knowledge, skills, and experience to develop training programs and assessments. The college degree can help land the job but the skills learned and polished overtime will certainly help to accelerate your personal and professional growth.

With technology, devices and tools changing how we live, communicate, and work, professional skills will continue to be important and the differentiator between getting ahead and getting left behind in the workplaces.

Which muscles are getting exercised?

Creativity gets better when creative muscles are getting exercised.

Writing gets better when writing muscles are getting exercised.

Presentation gets better when presentation muscles are getting exercised.

Painting gets better when painting muscles are getting exercised.

Dribbling gets better when dribbling muscles are getting exercised.

You get the idea!

 

Skills over Location

A skilled professional should be respected, valued, and paid as much as someone that can be found in a particular region.

With remote work and freelancing work becoming more common than ever before, companies have a global talent pool to fill their vacancies. A skilled professional based in the US would generally get paid more than a skilled professional with similar qualifications in South Asia because the argument went that the cost of living in the US was higher so the professional needs to get paid more. Over the span of few decades, companies have been looking for talent in offshore regions for cost savings (primarily), time zones turnaround, work flexibility, proximity to customers etc.

The talent pool and the job/career marketplace is now global. Companies can have skilled professionals working on their products/services from anywhere in the world and the skilled professionals have a global job/career opportunity pool. Skilled professionals based in South Asia should get paid equally to a professional based in the US if the individual has similar qualifications, work ethic, quality of work produced and such. It’s a win-win for both companies and skilled professionals everywhere!

Skills Degree

What if we could have a Skills degree similar to a College degree?

A Skills degree would show all the skills you have accumulated over the years. Writing skills, editing skills, sales skills, Excel skills, technical skills, marketing skills and more skills. In a knowledge economy, our skills are our biggest assets. Skills are learnable and we can get better overtime with practice and repetition.

What skills do you have or working to be better at?

What’s your Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success?

Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot shares his thoughts on rare skills and the Trillion Dollar Venn Diagram Of Success (phrase credit to him).

Dharmesh shares that “You probably have a few valuable skills right now. The question is, how do you turn those skills into a successful career or company? By combining skills together. But combining any set of skills won’t necessarily get you where you want to go. You need to be strategic about which skills to acquire. Here’s my framework for combining skills to maximize your potential.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=WghyEbmPWgk%3Fsi%3D08-AmPfcl47pxRhZ

Talent vs Skill

What is Talent and what is Skill? Are they the same or different?

Talent is a natural ability to gain a skill or set of skills. Skill is the ability to complete a set of tasks well. Skills are learned and we get better at a craft by practicing intentionally over a period of time. If we want to become better writers, athletes, teachers (or at anything), we can because it’s an skill or set of skills. The beauty of identifying and understanding that something is a talent or a skill is liberating and profound. Once we find clarity that it’s an skill, we can learn and become better at it. Having talent does not mean that hard work, discipline, effort (and others) are not that required or important to become excellent at a craft or a task. While some who are talented can understand or do certain tasks better because of their “natural ability” or “gift”, talent by itself would not be enough for them to be excellent or world-class in their craft.

Here’s a simple distinction between Skill and Talent.

SkillTalent
DefinitionAn ability developed with practiceA natural affinity for a skill
ExplanationAn ability that, with practice, a person can become an expert inAn ability one is born with that, when nurtured, can develop more quickly than those without the
innate talent
ImpactsAnyone willing to work on itFewer people, who must be born with it
DevelopmentTraining, education, coaching, and practiceNature, along with training,
mentoring, education, and practice
Source : https://www.upwork.com/resources/difference-between-skill-and-talent

Seth Godin, author of The Practice Shipping Creative Work says that “It’s insulting to call a professional talented. She’s skilled, first and foremost. Many people have talent, but only a few care enough to show up fully, to earn their skill. Skill is rarer than talent. Skill is earned. Skill is available to anyone who cares enough.”

So was Micheal Jordan talented or skilled or both when it comes to basketball? Was Mira Rai a “gifted” trail runner than other runners? Is Warren Buffet more skilled or talented or a mix of both at analyzing businesses and financial numbers?