The past few years have shown us how unprecedented uncertainties, adversities and ambiguities can bring about major disruptions in life and work, forcing us to change, reinvent and pivot quickly. Only a weatherproof learning mindset can help us reimagine adversity as an opportunity for personal growth and reinvention as well as for business growth and pivots. To stay relevant even amidst disruption requires developing a learning mindset that’s not rattled by adversity but can channelize it to reinvent and refocus growth in life and work.
For instance, when we were small and learning to walk, we fell several times. But that didn’t stop us from getting up again and continuing our learning journey. We remained resilient, curious, and passionate. To survive and thrive in an ever-changing world, it is this child-like curiosity that we need to hold onto.
Gurcharan Das, Author, Commentator, Public Intellectual, Former VP & MD, P&G Worldwide, in his keynote address at Skillsoft’s Perspectives 2021 shared: what does it take to create a weatherproof learning mindset for life and work.
Attitude vs Knowledge & Experience
Das shared the story of an Assistant Security Guard, Kamble, who didn’t have much exposure and couldn’t even pronounce the name of the company, ‘Procter & Gamble’, correctly. But in six months on a night shift, he had made such an impact on everyone at work, that many had started working late. With his eagerness to learn and his curiosity to know things, he had learnt to make coffee and tea, improved his English and figured out how the telephone system in the company works, among other things. He was always there with all the answers. His attention to detail caught the attention of Das and even led him to get the role of telephone operator, which the HR Manager was skeptical about, given his skills and language issue.
“He retired as a director, and he didn't have a college degree,” said Das.
What stood out about Kamble?: He loved his work. He treated his work as though it was play.
When it's raining and there are puddles on the road, most people would go around it and try to avoid it, But a child would jump in the puddle. Kamble was that child.
He was not skilled in any domain, didn’t have a degree and even struggled with english. But he had a basic attitude, the attitude to learn, the attitude to serve, and lastly, the attitude of humility and service.
Learning mindset is built on the foundation of ‘a sense of purpose’
The learning mindset can’t be built overnight. It stems from the roots of Nishkam Karma, a Sanskrit word to describe self-less or desireless action, an action performed without any expectation of fruits or results.
“We all wish to shine,” said Das. “But in good organisations the result speaks for itself.”
A sense of purpose, to work, to grow, to serve, eventually, leads people towards success. In a work scenario it must be acknowledged, rewarded and nurtured.
To be able to thrive in the post-pandemic world leaders need to add more curious and self-driven people to the team. However, hiring would be in vain, if talent is not given the culture and resources to grow and learn.
HR leaders, L&D professionals, and line managers have to create a culture that supports an open mindset, one’s quest for knowledge and give people the opportunities to unleash their potential. Without this culture, even if the company manages to hire a Kamble, it would not be able to retain him.
Image Credit: Wikipedia