Saturday, December 3, 2011

A world of complexities

From the Phil Star: A world of complexities
The world today is inter-connected as never before.

Greece’s financial troubles brought stocks all over the world tumbling. America’s recession affected and continues to affect global economic outlook. There really is no hiding from this fact anymore.

The world has become so inter-woven that geographical distance is no longer a factor. The person taking orders at a drive-in fast-food chain in California is actually being handled by someone in Bangalore. The nice-sounding, friendly and polite tech support servicing a client in Iowa may just turn out to be a Filipino manning a computer somewhere in Clark or Eastwood.

This is our world today. Famous British speaker and author Sir Ken Robinsons described how complicated being British is these days. He said that being British these days means driving home in a German-engineered car, stopping to get some Irish beer or Danish lager, picking up Indian curry or Greek kebab and spending the evening sitting on Swedish furniture watching American programs on a Japanese TV. And the most vicious of all? Suspicion of anything foreign.

Things in our world are really becoming more and more complicated. And it takes a different kind of mindset and outlook to be able to navigate in the world we are in today.

Last year, IBM looked at 3,000 CEOs around the world and asked them what they thought is the biggest challenge they face in running their businesses. The first thing they said was complexity.

So how do you deal with complexity since the world is getting more and more complicated?

I have said this again and again: Our educational degree, the pedigree we acquire having graduated from whichever university – these things do not matter much anymore in how business is done these days. What matters these days is learning agility: the ability to learn, relearn and unlearn.

Ideas are the currency of the future. We are now entering the age of creativity, and those who will succeed are those who are creative and who know how to do their work right. Do not conclude that successful people have just been lucky. These people have worked hard and learned continuously, so that when opportunities knocked on their doors, they were ready to seize them.

But learning agility alone is not enough to make one successful. Another crucial element is the ability to work with love and passion. The norm today is simple: If you don’t love your work, there will always be someone who would, and you may just end up being replaced.

Successful people love their work. They are perceived to be born with a natural aptitude. They are people who work within their element. And as I interview successful people, they seem to say this same thing: “This is not my work, this is who I am.” Successful people do their work well, love their work, and consider their work as part of who they are. Compare this with people who whine, and moan and groan, and complain about how stupid their job is and that they are just in it for the money they need to pay off their debts.

The world is getting more and more complex by the day. Just thinking about the paycheck all the time, while doing bit of Facebook on the side and going on prolonged coffee breaks, will not prepare you for more future complexities. Work will increasingly change. Jobs will be harder to find. Technology after technology will be developed, and alter the way we live, the way we work and the way we think.

He who knows he needs to know more is the one who will succeed. He who thinks he already knows much will fail in this new world of complexities. Pride and a haughty spirit come before destruction, and he who humbles himself God will exalt. This is so true no matter the complexities.

Learn to live and live to learn. This is not complex, it’s as simple as it can be.

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