Discover more from The ContraMind Code
The ContraMind Code
Welcome to The ContraMind Code.
The ContraMind Code provides you with a system of principles, signals, and ideas to aid you in your pursuit of excellence.
The Newsletter shares the source code through quick snapshots for a systems thinking approach to be the best in what you do.
The Code helps you reboot and reimagine your thinking by learning from the best and enables you to draw a blueprint on what it takes to get extraordinary things done. Please share your valuable thoughts and comments and start a conversation.
Take a journey to www.contraminds.com. Listen and watch some great minds talking to us about their journey of discovery of what went into making them craftsmen of their profession to drive peak performance.
Why The Best Performers Ignore Their Job Descriptions
In this article, James Bellerjeau writes about three phases of any career trajectory and how at each phase, there are different outcomes and expectations that you must set up for yourself to ensure there is no stagnation or failure.
Here are some key takeaways:
Phase 1: Learning the ropes - When you start a new job, neither you nor your company know if you are suited for it. This means your early days are a period of discovery. You will need to learn what are the unstated expectations in addition to the explicit ones. This is a phase where you mustn’t screw up anything too big.
Phase 2: Delivering the essentials - This phase is where you master the core job responsibilities. You cannot be an expert for having done something once. By the Nth repetition, however, you may have developed expertise. Many people never make it to this level. Many ambitious people are focused on getting promoted. Ironically, this leads them to invest insufficiently in their core job. Without mastering your core job, you may get promoted, but you cannot deliver exceptional value.
Phase 3: Contributing unique value - This is a phase where you have to go beyond the core job. Strictly doing your job well is honourable but unlikely to leave a lasting legacy. It is phase where you have to serve interests beyond your own. You need to understand at this phase that getting a promotion and more pay is about you. Helping your colleagues grow their potential or helping your company thrive long-term is about others.
Read the article here.
Startup Dad: Consistency In Parenting And Having Teenagers
Startups always sound exciting and create an exhilarating feeling that you should try to start one too. What toll does it take on your family if you are married or a dad? How do you balance the professional and personal responsibilities? Listen to this conversation!
Adam Fishman interviews executives, entrepreneurs, and company leaders in technology companies who are also fathers. They discuss the challenging aspects of work, parenting, family, the mistakes made and lessons learned along the way. In this episode, Adam converses with Fareed Mosavat, Chief Development Officer at Reforge and former Director of Product at Slack, Instacart, Zynga and more. He's a husband and father of two teenagers.
Here are the topics they have a conversation about:
On his childhood which began in a small county in the US, and how it influenced him
His mom’s role in shaping his values and beliefs
Starting up a family- What were the decisions he had to go through while considering his career aspirations and family responsibilities?
He shares some of his earliest moments and anxieties about being a dad
What have been his regrets that he has had as a father
The difference in bringing up Tweens vs Teens
What are the principles he has followed when it comes to establishing family guardrails
What he and his wife don't agree
You can listen to the entire episode on:
Stop Teaching, Start Learning
Dr. Mariappan "Jawa" Jawaharlal (Dr. Jawa) is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He founded Robotics Education through Active Learning (REAL), a unique K12 outreach program that reaches thousands of students each year. In this TEDx Talk, he talks about the difference between teaching and learning.
Here is the summary of his talk:
How South Asian parents have only three professions in mind when it comes to educating their kids - Doctor, Engineer or Failure!
Education is all about learning. It is a satisfying activity. Is that what we get in schools and colleges?
His analogy of a child learning to walk or learning a language is an excellent example of how people learn. When they make mistakes, it is fun, and they learn!
However, the focus when it comes to teaching is all about teachers, but the emphasis on learning should all be about students. Therefore, most of the time, teaching does not lead to learning.
The only way to bring back the joy of learning is to ‘engage’ the students. There is no other choice.
Learning through storytelling is a great way to engage students. We need to pay more attention to the impact of stories in helping to learn.
If you don’t simplify what you teach and make it so easy for even fifth graders to understand, then you must take it that you are hiding behind equations and formulae. You don’t understand the concept well enough!
Death by Job Descriptions
The first question we have often heard many people ask when someone wants to hire a candidate is, ‘Can you prepare a job description for that role?’. The next one you encounter is when you reach out to a candidate for a job. The first question they ask is, ‘Can you share with me the job role and description?’. Often, how much of the job description that was shared with them in the current job is a perfect mirror of the job they are doing is something that is never looked at.
A provocative Forbes article, ‘Are Job Descriptions Obsolete’, identified the problems with job descriptions in the current environment:
Job descriptions tend to be one size fits all, bland overviews written from the company’s point of view.
“Check box” approaches – which are far too common – lack sizzle. More importantly, they don’t work.
Hiring managers and HR partners should spend time together to understand the business needs.
The most crucial point here is understanding business needs, which are constantly changing in the new digital world.
Next, let’s look at businesses which are rapidly experiencing disruptions and transformation. McKinsey estimates that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030. Further, according to McKinsey, ‘Seventy-five million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.’ Hence, just sticking to job descriptions may not help, and the need to go beyond what you do today to learn new skills is an imperative that you can avoid at your own risk.
After creating perfect job descriptions for every job role, what are the levels of employee engagement? Gallup's 2023 report states, ‘Twenty-three per cent of the world’s employees were engaged at work in 2022, the highest level since Gallup began measuring global engagement in 2009.’ Less than one-fourth of employees are engaged! So, what’s the problem? Companies can only define a job and its descriptions to an extent. In business, the environment is dynamic, and companies need to respond to that - it may be a new competitor, or it may be a new technology, or it may be a new channel of distribution or a whole new customer behaviour change etc.
The hard truth, according to Gallup’s report, if we take it as a benchmark, is most people do only enough to keep a job rather than doing more and adding value to their job. Hence, what is that you can do? Here are some recommendations you can consider:
Ignore job descriptions. Ask yourself if you like the industry, the company, and the people and if would you be able to learn - either from a good leader who you will be working with or does the job provide ample opportunities for you to explore, experiment, make mistakes and learn rapidly, faster than others. If you are being paid to learn, there can be no better job than that!
Even though some aspects of your job may be mundane and boring, or you are forced to do more than what you are supposed to, take it up with more interest and do it more professionally.
The good news is that most people do a minimum to keep themselves employed. You can do better than most of them with more focus and intensity. Get uncomfortable when things get comfortable at work.
By merely restricting yourself to job descriptions or roles, remember you are limiting your growth. Exceeding your job requirements may not add more money to your bank account, but you never know who is observing you within or outside your company. It may help you land an opportunity that you had never imagined.
Also, be ready to accept the fact that many people around you may not like when you go beyond your job description. But they will not help you when some parts of your job and therefore your role becomes redundant. The ultimate test is if you can help accomplish your company’s challenges and, in the bargain, add value to yourself.
Remember, job descriptions provide you with a playground. You must find the skills and opportunities to play and win the game.
Some of the lessons we learnt from this week’s mission:
Go beyond your job descriptions to protect yourself from stagnation and failure in your career.
Start-ups are always challenging. If you are a founder or working for one, be ready to face a tsunami of workload. You will need to balance work pressure and family commitments intelligently.
Not all teaching ends up making people learn. Storytelling can be a great way to help students or people learn.