Attention and Meta-Attention
We normally think of attention in broad terms but Rich breaks down the various types of attention. He speaks about Attention being the ability to focus our mind on something specific and Meta-Attention being the ability to pay attention to our attention and have the ability to bring it back when it wanders.
Intro to Digital Tsunami
In his book Digital Tsunami, Abhijit contrasts the erstwhile analog world with today’s digital world. How has this shift to the digital realm impacted companies and their cultures? What is the main difference between these two and how has that influenced leadership. Confused about why a company like Google is competing with Ford and GM? Hear more about all this and more in this nugget.
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.
In order to be relevant in this digital age, leaders need to adapt to a digital mindset. What does this mindset look like? Abhijit discusses the digital mindset in this nugget and gives anecdotes of how extremely competent leaders of the analog era are struggling to adapt to this. He also shares two important core values which can help in acquiring skills to navigate this digital world. Look out for his views on the future being an ‘&’ world rather than an ‘Or’ world.
Building Digital habits
So we know there is a digital world out there, vastly different from the analog one we have been used to. This digital world demands new kinds of leadership, culture and relationships. We need to have a digital mindset to navigate this new world but how do we go about it. In this nugget, Abhijit gives you simple tips to start the journey and formulate digital habits.
Role of Chief Digital Officer
According to Abhijit, the CDO is the mapmaker of the new digital world of the organization. He is the one who takes up the real opportunity in looking at the digital landscape in a holistic sense for the entire organization and not just using it as an easy marketing or feedback tool. Hear more about this popular position that is seeing many hiring ads!
Suresh talks about how Marketing has a function has evolved given the Digital age we are living in. He says that instead of Digital Marketing, he believes in marketing to the Digitally Enabled that is often the entire consumer base. He also speaks about how he leveraged Digital to resurrect the brand Maggi when Nestle re-introduced the brand.
Staying relevant and leveraging technology
Jay talks about what how successful politicians have managed to stay relevant over time and have reinvented themselves. He also talks about how technology is begin to level the playing field in favour of people who do not necessarily come from a family of politicians with an established brand and mobilisation infrastructure.
Positivity and Psychological Safety
Rich speaks about why we have a negativity bias as a default setting. He traces it back to human evolution and talks about the fact that for us to survive, it was critical to attach a higher weightage to negative signals in the environment than the positive ones. He links it to the criticality of ensuring psychological safety in a team (results of Project Aristotle in Google) to drive business performance.
Staying relevant as machines get smarter
Kartik speaks about the extent to which machines and algorithms have pervaded our lives. To give an example, 80% of view on Netflix is based on algorithmic recommendations and 70% of Youtube consumption is based on what it suggests. He talks about what this means for human beings to stay relevant in the future where the machines are getting exponentially smarter by the day.
Convenience versus Privacy
Kartik speaks about how different FAANG Companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) are trying to inject hosepipes into our lives and capture data for their respective algorithms to get smarter over time. He speaks about how, as consumers we need to walk the tight rope between leveraging the benefits of these platforms while protecting our privacy while doing it.
Jobs at risk and new avenues
Kartik speaks about the impact of AI on jobs of the future. He cautions that it is not just the menial blue collar type of jobs that are at risk but a wider array of jobs where machines could replace man. He goes on to talk about the implication for us and how we should think about staying relevant in the future.
Re-skilling ourselves to stay relevant
Kartik speaks about how we all could be thoughtful about equipping ourselves with some basic level of literacy around AI. Even if you are not in a technology-led company, it is likely that you will be impacted by AI in some shape or form as a leader, as a consumer or some other form.
Driving Deep Work
How easy it is these days to be distracted? Just one minute on Facebook or Twitter and there goes the whole morning! In such an age of distraction where our attention spans are becoming lesser and lesser, how does Amish find the time and space to write? Hear his tactics of getting the momentum going. Hint: there is also something about a sugar rush in there!
Driving Mindfulness and Deep Work
Distraction is all around us. Our screens are becoming smarter and our attention spans shorter. Engulfed with this tsunami of data in a world that worships multitasking, how does one develop mindfulness? Raghu shares some invaluable tips practiced by corporate leaders. You will be amazed to hear how simple tweaks (no need for any props! Just your time) can improve your mental well being.
Performing at the top and being grounded
Vishy talks about the various elements that matter to perform at the highest level in addition to IQ. He specifically discusses the criticality of collaborating with a range of coaches and players. He also shares how he manages to stay present during a game (a trait that Anatoly Karpov used to be a master at with his ruthless Boa-Constrictor style play he says). He also shares how he has managed to stay simple and grounded despite the towering heights he has reached as a Chess player.
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.
Building Habits vs Enhancing Awareness
Devdutt talks about the distinction between building habits and enhancing awareness. He mentions that habits are often relevant only in a certain context and it is critical not to become a slave of the habit. He also elaborates on the notion of “Darshan” and “Para-jiva” and makes the distinction between self-awareness and awareness towards the other. He urges us to think about what we would do when presented with Sophie’s choice (where you have to pick between two equally deserving alternatives).
The reflection habit - decoding signal from the noise
Vinay talks about Narasimha Rao’s habit of reflection and journaling which helped him deal with the ecosystem he was in. Vinay talks about how Rao used the habit of journaling to develop a nuanced understanding of the context he was in which helped him deal with situations of grey effectively. He also talks about how he managed to gather intelligence around what was happening around him despite his lonely nature.
Music and Technology
Jayashri talks about overdependence on technology and how that is coming in the way of learning where the student puts off the learning to technology. She talks about how she tries to benefit from the technology while knowing that she could do what she does even without it.
In Summary - Playing to Potential
Mr Bhatt talks about a simple habit that he has found helpful in his journey over the years. He talks about the role of the conscious and the sub-conscious mind and how that can be leveraged for self-development. He talks about how he reflects for 5 minutes at the start of the day and at the end of each day and the difference it has made to him over the years.
Dr. Guha speaks about Gandhiji’s inner journey on multiple fronts – diet, medicine, celibacy and inter-faith harmony. He speaks about how he had a scientific approach in each of these and sometimes crafted experiments to test out a certain belief and based on the results, modified it as he moved forward. He also speaks about Gandhiji’s tolerance and open-ness to others’ views as he was shaping his world-view through his journey.
Technology and psychological interference
Stew speaks about what has stayed the same and what has changed significantly in his thinking around work life integration. He talks about the ubiquity of technological devices that now surround us and speaks about the need for all of us to build psychological tools to benefit from the technological advancements without incurring the cost that often comes hand in hand with such developments.
Origins of SIY
Rich talks about the origins of the Search Inside Yourself programme. It started out as a quest for Googlers looking for a solution to stay agile and resilient while you are on a “rocket-ship”. He also goes on to talk about how SIY brings in wisdom from multiple domains ranging across Neuroscience, Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence to help people develop a new kind of intelligence that enables them to cope with the roller-coaster ride of a tech driven company
Developing the meditation habit
Rich talks about how he thinks about ritualizing meditation and baking it as a hygiene in the way he goes about leading his life. He also talks about the importance of not treating meditation just as a separate activity that we do once a day but suggests that weave in meditation in the small things we do through the day. He also speaks about the importance of rituals to manage our attention in the digital economy.
Benefits of Journaling
Rich speaks about the benefits of journaling and refers to research in neuroscience that suggests that journaling is superior to typing on a digital device given the speed at which we do each of the activities. He also has some pointers around how people can start the practice of journaling in their lives.
Meta-distress and Response-flexibility
Rich discusses the distinction between choosing a response to a situation and reacting. He also speaks about the difference between events that unfold and the story we tell ourselves about the events that unfold. He links it to the notion of agility where he says we need to be agile in the way we stay present to the world around us and that agility is a prerequisite for us to be agile as leaders in the business context.
3 levels of resilience
Rich speaks about three levels of resilience – Inner calm, Emotional Resilience and Cognitive Resilience. He talks about the example of Captain Sully Sullenberger (who miraculously landed the plane on the Hudson river after his plane was hit by birds after taking off from LaGuardia) to talk about how calm and composed he was and stayed present during the ~3 minutes he had between the bird hit and when he landed the plane.
Diversity of thought in the drawing room
Kartik speaks about how we need to be mindful of the risk of being exposed to a certain type of content or view point as the algorithms are solving for engagement and are likely to show content that we are likely to gravitate towards. He speaks about some of the mechanisms he employs to ensure that he builds diversity of thought in his head as he goes about processing the world around him.
Creating the mind-space
Michael speaks about what it takes to get leaders to allocate mind-space to their transition while they are settling into a new context. He strongly suggests that we start working on transitions early (even before the leader comes in) so that it feels like a natural part of settling in rather than a separate list of things that one needs to do and as a potential distraction to the job at hand.
Visualization as a technique
Matt speaks about his take on terms such as Visualization and Meditation and speaks about how he relates to them. He specifically discusses a ritual of a 7-15 minute quiet time that he practices every day and speaks about the benefits of this exercise in improving one’s performance in a certain.
Pausing to reinvent
Herminia speaks about how it is critical to create mind-space for us to reflect on our experiences especially when we deviate from the standard path. That process of reflection is often critical for people to have a clearer sense of their identity and their fit with the initiatives they are pursuing. She also speaks about how reinventing yourself around mid-life can sometimes take as long as 3 years.