There is plenty of knowledge to go around the world. When it travels through its course to return to a new learner, it is only enriched by the many minds it has passed through.
"The pandemic has only accelerated a change that was bound our way."
This was a concept I had given considerable thought to, for I was at the time merely a happy college kid in the process of graduating, wielding words to get through this pandemic, naturally craving conversation. To think that the next few months presented me with conversations that I shall always hold close to my heart!
The fusing of an HCM Automation Platform and an Interview and Podcast Series not only acts as the basis of our functioning but also helps us to adapt that knowledge onto a software that provides end-to-end HR solutions. That is the journey that I’m here to write about! However, much before I realised that acquiring an analytical frame of mind need not mean abolishment of a creative one, I stuck to writing articles that I would now call brief and unimaginative.
This blog marks the release of 400 episodes of leadersHum, and so, being brief in narrating my wonderful experiences will neither fit my usual conduct nor the occasion!
A person whose childhood is filled with elocution competitions and Spelling Bees aspires to end up in a position whose day-to-day responsibilities, more than tolerating her words, demand that they be a prerequisite. Apart from indulging myself in all activities that best displayed my talents, my willingness to attempt uncomfortable activities landed me in great fixes- one of the best examples of this being, my enrolment into a Vedic Mathematics course (of which I do not recall anything but Multiplication anymore).
The idea of wanting to step outside one’s comfort zone and perhaps staying there, was not just reinforced through circumstance, but also through being born in a place that did not speak my mother tongue (Our Maharashtrian family was living in Kolkata, West Bengal, when I was born). Shifting to my native State after an entire decade of my life led me to unlearn a lot of patterns, the most hilarious of them being fighting the urge to give up halfway through my 70-mark written exam since I was majorly used to only 10-mark, bi-weekly tests!
My respite in grammar lessons at school was possibly found through everlasting respect for my highly skilled 8th grade English teacher (who I still giddily text every time I accomplish any literary achievement) who introduced me to the wonderful world of fiction. I considered it my duty to absorb every word I read, and developed a newfound appreciation for listening and responding, in much the same way a child learns to imitate and speak.
A lot of people spend their college years doing what they aspire to do the most, someday. In hindsight, I spent a major chunk of my time anchoring events, giving presentations (that would sometimes force our professors to borrow the next class to accommodate my long speeches), and write scripts for as well as occasionally act, in plays. I guess you could say that my learning was more the impact of me merely existing as a student within my institution than traditionally acting as one.
An opportunity to perform at and subsequently curate Open Mic Events, prompted me to explore the joys of marketing. There is a great difference between chasing a skill to perfect it and identifying one while chasing another. As someone who would grab every opportunity to stand under a spotlight and clutch her microphone to spread the word about all that mattered to her, I instinctively knew that marketing was meant for me. I like to think that unlike the other skills I possess today, this is a skill that chose me before I could choose it.
When an employee fits very well into their role and along the process, uncovers newer areas to apply their skills and subsequently prosper, their job satisfaction is truly unparalleled. One could say that identifying work patterns comes naturally- but through talking to people around the globe, one can further open their mind to identify similar such patterns.
Having done a lot of reading, traveling through time and space never seemed like a big challenge to me, but uncovering it from a new perspective only added to my amusement about the power of networking. Somewhere during this process of tallying time zones and framing questions to make the most out of a 30-minute interview, I found myself happily waking up at 4 am IST to go earn that morning motivation from someone who would, after we’d exit the Zoom meeting, go off to bed.
To learn that universal concepts such as Leadership or Motivation are arrived upon through extremely diverse experiences and perspectives, not only helped me listen to them with increasing interest but also increasing curiosity to ask more in order to understand more.
A standard set of 5 questions would sometimes turn to 7, maybe 8- a count excluding the hearty conversations we would exchange before and after the interview- about our families, the weather, books and most importantly, the pandemic. The comfort in speaking to people across nationalities even prompted me to once ask a doubt to Stefan Osthaus about my A1 level Deutsch pronunciation. As you may guess, he was happy to correct my pronunciation and explain to me how mine brought on a more pretentious accent that would probably not be appreciated by the people of Berlin.
In another incident, Suzanne Waldron, upon learning I was a poet too, offered to send me her book after asking me for my postal address. This meant a lot to me seeing as how Suzanne hadn’t shipped it outside of Australia yet and was willing to make the exception just for me!
Pre-, during and post-interview, it is these smiles that stay with me as an interviewer, that matter the most to me and remind me of why I love what I do.
Not only have these past months shown me what leaders do as influencers, but it has also formed on me an impression of what it means to possess virtues that make one influential. The humility and perseverance that our guests bring with themselves despite being so accomplished within their respective fields, is a refreshing example of letting one’s beliefs be broken down in order to be built back up! I, personally, am a huge fan of this process since it aligns with my own experiences as well as the very essence of leadersHum.
Here’s hoping that we, as an Interview & Podcast series, continue to imbibe all those values that we’ve had the fortune of collecting while also exploring the multiple perspectives that have been shared with us. I’m sure that I shall happily write another piece to you then. See you soon!