Nuggets from Herminia Ibarra
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.
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.
Tough work-life trade-offs
Zia talks about how, in her generation, the notion of work-life balance, didn’t really exist for ambitious women who wanted to make a mark in the corporate world. She candidly talks about the real trade-offs involved in her case and how that is changing.
Work, life and success
People often look at work and life as two different compartments that do not intersect. Dheeraj talks about how he tries to weave in work and life, learns from one and applies in the other and has osmosis going on across the two.
Picking the first "mountain" to climb
Deepa talks about how she took charge of life and how she became a restauranteur and in seven years, had built a flourishing business giving her financial independence. She then talks about her passion for biking and how she wanted to create records on a bike to ensure that her voice is heard and for her to be able to have an impact on Society.
Gandhiji’s personal life
Dr Guha discusses the dichotomy between Gandhiji’s accomplishments on the public front and contrasts that with some of the challenges he had with relationships on the home front. He provides some context around why this might have happened.
4 porous domains – Self, Work, Home & Community
Stew talks about the building blocks of his Total Leadership Model that he has developed at the Wharton Work Life Integration Project. Of the four domains (Self, Work, Home and Community), he expands on what he means by Self and Community as those two are often the least understood by leaders around the world.
Positive spillovers across domains
Stew talks about notion of positive spill overs across the 4 domains (Self, Work, Home, Community) and describes why finding harmony across domains is a more sustainable than looking at them as trade-offs. He expands on the notion of positive spillovers across domains and specifically talks about some of the elements which are often underappreciated by leaders. He introduces the notion of a four way win where we can look at trying experiments to achieve wins in all 4 domains of life.
Role of Authenticity, Integrity & Creativity
Stew speaks about the role of authenticity (being real by clarifying what is important), integrity (having a clear view of who you are as an entire person and being clear about roles towards and expectations from stakeholders) and creativity (being innovating in crafting experiments to deliver four way wins). He specifically speaks about how some stakeholders expect less and are willing to support more than you think.
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.
Managing stakeholder expectations
Stew speaks about the criticality of unearthing what the stakeholders really want and solving for it. He suggests that we should go past what they state as positions and unearth their real expectations while having these conversations. He also speaks about the criticality of caring for self before caring for others. He compares this to a change management initiative and suggests that one needs to be artfully political while driving changes through the system.
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
Forced growth - plugging the weaknesses
Matt speaks about how athletes come to him with excellence in one or two domains (cycling, running, swimming) but have to quickly come upto speed in a totally different area to be competitive in a multi-sport context. We discuss the parallels between this and how Functional leaders need to transition to General Managers.
Rest, Sleep and recharge
Matt Dixon speaks at length about the criticality of rest and rejuvenation. He specifically speaks about some of the qualitative and quantitative considerations around having a restful night’s sleep to be effective in our functioning on a sustained basis in our various domains of life.
Identity play versus Identity work
Herminia speaks about the distinction between Identity Work and Identity Play and speaks about how we should think about crafting experiments where we can play around with our identity authentically rather than going down the “fake it till you make it” path. She re-iterates that how we show up is as critical as what we do.
Multiple identities of Gandhiji
Dr. Guha speaks about how Gandhiji straddled multiple careers concurrently (including that of a Politician, Social Reformer, Prophet and Writer). He talks about the fact that he saw his life as one indivisible whole where he emphasized each facet at a different point in time.
Impact of Life on Work
People often talk about Work-Life Balance and the rhetoric is often around “Life” being the residual figure after work has consumed you. Mouli flips this argument around and says that there is a lot to be gained on the work front by organizing your “life” carefully. He talks about passionate striving hobbies that push you towards excellence at work and also talks about how some of the social impact initiatives he pursues enhances his empathy when he is at work.
Transitioning roles within Dasra
Neera talks about how she has thought about her role as Dasra has grown and her plans for governance as we look to the future. She talks about the interconnect between the personal and professional life and how the role she has played in Dasra has been in the context of her personal context.
Balancing work and life
Jayashri talks about the challenges of being a performer who has to travel around the world and how she is often split between the two worlds. She talks about the criticality of the ecosystem around her including her family that has provided her the support.
Taking stock of the journey ahead
Rajat speaks about how he plans to spend time in the coming years. He talks about how he plans to resume his journey of contributing to philanthropic causes and work on some of the intractable issues that the society faces.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.