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During the last part of my talk at Qasim Ali Shah Foundation titled ‘Three Powerful Lessons I have Learnt During Work Life’, I talked about Reinventing and Redesigning. I received hugely positive feedback on the talk. There were some questions also. I shall in this post elaborate further to address these and other questions, if any.
What specific areas should be Reinvented and Redesigned? And When?
I had used the words ‘Disassemble’ and ‘Reassemble’ which would interpret as applicable to the entire person.
Reinventing is about changing Mindset.
Reinventing means we rediscover ourselves through re-analysis and re-evaluation. We understand who we are, we accept who we are, we accept what we can do, we accept what we cannot do, and we understand how we relate to our environment and people. For example, if we have Security Mindset, we may not do well in an insecure, fast paced, unpredictable environment. If we have Growth Mindset, we may not do well in roles which are slow-paced and slow-growing. Reinventing therefore may involve mental and physical changes simultaneously.
Reinventing is essential when we plan to make such a shift which would affect us, our future course and our families significantly or critically. Reinventing is an extensive process where we truly challenge our existing mindset, ideas or life reference we have and come out a new person which may be quite different from the previous one. It is like leaving a good corporate job and going into teaching because you find it more purposeful. Or becoming an entrepreneur after having worked in cozy corporate world for a long time. Or deciding to immigrate to a country like Canada where cultural, environmental and social shocks await most immigrants.
I may mention here that Pharma Industry sees a large number of sales/Marketing people jumping for entrepreneurship every year. Unfortunately, a great majority fails; some totally fail and return to employment disheartedly, others barely survive and earn just enough to make both ends meet. Primary reason for such wholesale disaster is the lack of own review, analysis and required Reinventing and Redesigning in key areas.
Redesigning is focused on two things; Behavior and Skills. It may or may not accompany Reinventing.
Behavior change is required from one position to the other, be it job or business. What a person does as a salesperson is not fit for what a manager should do. What a small shopkeeper does is not suitable for a large business owner. One critical behavior for example, is Time Management. How we spend our time, how we divide time between work and personal life, how we ‘create’ time to do something we love to do, how we prioritize demands on our time, and how we bring efficiency in time utilization. Time is the biggest resource, but it is also the most wasted resource. We can easily spend two hours in order to save twenty rupees. You must have seen long queues outside CNG pumps during days of gas load-shedding. After spending several hours, you would get gas enough only for one day. Time Wastage is also seen among lot of well-placed entrepreneurs who keep focusing on petty things, rather than going for bigger achievements. Governments in countries like ours create reasons for millions of hours of collective wastage but no body bothers.
Behavior change is also required to improve our interpersonal communication and relations. Empathy is a behavior which shall become our attitude if we practice it consistently.
Skills enhancement is certainly a required activity. Technological changes, mechanical changes, process changes, practice changes, and even social changes require learning new skills, and may be unlearning some old ones. There are many examples of such changes. Kites, Cassette Recorders, Camera Films, Horse-driven passenger carts (Taanga), Floppy discs, VCRs, writing pen-nibs have all disappeared. All of these had many businesses built around them which have also evaporated with the change. Co-founder of Intel Andy Grove calls this an ‘Inflection Point’. It is when a business or technology becomes redundant and all associated skills and businesses also become irrelevant. The changes are quite fast-paced and keeping skills updated is more necessary than ever.
Reinvent yourself for taking up new, big ventures and challenges. It may be needed less frequently.
Redesign yourself for Behavior and Skills modification and enhancement. It may be needed more frequently.
Is There a Contradiction Between Strengths and Redesigning?
Strengths are stable, so how shall redesigning reconcile with strengths?
Our strengths are our faculties. Their usage is mediated through skills. While the strength shall remain the same, the skills can be modified and enhanced.
‘Strategic’ is a theme of strength. It enables the person to sort through a number of options and find the best one. It is a particular way which enables the person to see logic where others are lost in clutter. The relevant skills to use this strength have been changing continuously. Instead of manual work, a host of softwares are available to develop simulating models, apply strategic solutions and choose the right one. Skills required for this work are now completely different, but the strength is the same.
Strengths shall stay the same, but the Skills shall need constant changes and upgradation.
Why Change Every 3 to 5 Years? Isn’t It Too Early?
Technological disruptions are faster than ever. Every new disruption impacts the way we work and the way we live. In the foreseeable future, the pace of change will get even faster. A period of 3 to 5 years is now rather long. Take another analogy. Business used to develop short-term (1-3 years), medium-term (5-10 years) and long term (beyond 10 years) plans. Now short-term is 1 year, medium-term is 3 years, and long-term is 5 years. Very few businesses plan for 10 or more years. It has been forced by the fact that no one can accurately predict the pace and magnitude of new disruptions. Constant change is the only predictable phenomenon.
Reinventing and Redesigning starts from the awareness that we are not carved-in-stone figures. We are living beings in an ever-dynamic world. The world around us is changing every day. If we do not change, we shall become Irrelevant and Obsolete. It is not a matter of choice. If we wish to stay Relevant and Current, we must Reinvent and Redesign.