“Lifelong Learning and Professional Renewal”

By Pilli Chaudhuri Freelance Consultant @IndusGuru

Science and technology have increased the average life expectancy of human beings by a decade since 1990’s, thereby extending the healthy lifespan of executives who retire at the, now, young and active age of 60. Science says work keeps humans healthy, both mentally and physically. But when the corporate framework retires you at 60, how do you engage yourself productively? While the joys of hobbies and family are tremendous, today’s wisdom preaches the multiplicative worth of “giving back”, of sharing the bag full of experiences one has gained over the years that might give direction to young entrepreneurs or give wings to a brilliant idea. And this is a thought, Mr R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director of Tata Sons, decided to explore in an invigorating session for consultants.

IndusGuru Network Partners, a curated network of independent management consultants and boutique consulting firms, launched a mega-networking event on 29th March, with R Gopalakrishnan delivering the key note speech. He chose to mark the inaugural networking event “Gurukul – Thriving In The Gig Economy” with his unique insights gathered from a decorated career with HUL, Tata Sons and conglomerates across the globe.

Your career doesn’t end at 60 as long as your learning doesn’t end at 60. Stressing that learning is eternal and after 35-40 years of dedicating one’s life to work, it’s time to renew this everlasting relationship, R Gopalakrishnan, or R.G. as he is fondly called, highlighted the importance of curiosity. Curiosity is the heart and soul of learning. Curiosity is what makes human beings different from other living things. Thus, even though the body ages, the mind needs food for thought. Curiosity keeps the mind and, in turn, the body, healthy.

R.G. laid focus on intuition being the most important cooperator of facts. It helps one address the grey areas of decision making as a leader. Many times, analysis gives us ambiguous outcomes. It is then that one would have to depend on his/her gut feeling, as “intuition and fact are on the same path”. He gave the example of one of the most important board decisions i.e., selecting a CEO. Even though HR is a major part of the selection process, ultimately it is the gut feeling that leads us to the most important decisions of our life, and a good leader is able to navigate the parallel paths of rationality and intuition to take an optimum decision. Even in his book “The Case of Bonsai Manager”, R.G. talks about the pragmatic view of intuition.

Quoting Rabindranath Tagore, R.G. pointed out that the step to renewal is to find your humility. Professional renewal is a combination of physical, mental and psychological renewal, all of which need to be wrapped up in humility for sustainable existence. According to him, humans should strive to know the unknown in the known, identify scope to learn even in subjects we believe ourselves to be experts in.

While the session concluded to resounding applause by an audience of over 100 attendees, an unsaid question lingered thickly in the air “are we willing to drop our know-it-all egos, and arm ourselves with curiosity on our professional journey?”.

#RGopalakrishnan #Tata #HUL #Consultants #Gurukul #Curiosity

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of IndusGuru Network Partners.

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