Challenges of graduating to the ‘real world’: Expert column by Rajiv Maheshwari
Copious advice has been dispensed for a while on how the ‘real world’ is different from what our educational institutes prepare us for. The list is arduously long but a few attributes have featured consistently – team-work, positive attitude, hard work, passion, purpose, and you get the picture.
Same, Same, but Different
Undoubtedly, most of such advice continues to be extremely relevant and all the above attributes are critical to success as one moves into the real world.
We are living in a world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). A significant portion of what we are trained to do, is being done more efficiently and more reliably, by machines. The frenetic pace of change has caused a dramatic shift in the nature of the workforce the world needs.
At the same time, the educational system has not done course corrections on quite the same magnitude. The system continues to be rooted in the era of Industrial Revolution, preparing human armies to live in a mechanised world. To make matters worse, the mind-numbing competition in a country like ours, dulls the innate curiosity and mental faculties that distinguish us from our Darwinian ancestors.
The Survivor’s Toolkit
The current world order requires fresh thinking. If assumptions of yesteryears are invalid, how can the same approach lead to the same result?
The future is promising for those who not only graduate from academic skills to real world skills but also demonstrate the ability to thrive despite the turbulent VUCA clouds. Here are some attributes to get started:
The course of industries, governments and society is being transformed by a series of disruptive innovations. Consequently, the nature of skills and competencies required to be successful has also undergone a metamorphosis.
The successful 21st Century worker is one who is agile and responds creatively with answers for tomorrow and does not merely reproduce answers that have been discovered in the past.
The creative knowledge worker will be the expert at handling “What If” scenarios in a complex environment where most variables will be dynamic and difficult to anticipate.
The Legal Apprentice Challenge (TLAC) provided an insight into how creativity is becoming a mainstream requirement, with thousands of students identifying and tagging media that demonstrated a point of law!
Hello World of Disruptive Innovation: Powered by Creativity
We are living in the most connected world ever! The traditional six degrees of separation is quickly shrinking. Facebook reported the distance has reduced to 3.57 earlier this year.
Team work has always been considered to be far more important than individual abilities. In addition, the ability to influence and connect with audiences and stakeholders was considered to be a differentiator.
However, in the rapidly shrinking world, social influence is slowly but surely becoming gatekeeping criteria– a mandatory attribute and no longer a differentiator!
Hello Connected World: Phone and Life – Both need strong networks
Do you think you are coming out of a Learning Institution and are ready for the workplace in terms of knowledge and skills? Think Again
Industry watchers bemoan the shockingly low proportion of graduates that are employable. Even if they are employable, developing leading skills is a different ball game and requires lifelong dedication to one’s stated purpose. For instance, even for experts in their niche, our firm ensures a journey of multi-faceted learning for all our professionals through our CLE365o program.
Hello VUCA World: Entry for Autodidacts Only
One Final Thought
Can you recall any app or software you use that has not offered a version upgrade for some time?
As you step into the real world, do keep a record of the last time you did a Version Upgrade of your skills, abilities and knowledge?
*The author, Rajiv Maheshwari is the CEO of Anand and Anand, a leading Intellectual Property firm and Knowledge Partner to “The Legal Apprentice Challenge”. In addition to being recognized for legal accomplishments, the firm’s creative and innovative initiatives have been recognized across leading international forums including Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers.
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