Monday, July 16, 2012

Perspective across Professions: The Best Lot

A long delayed post as it was on my mind for a while.

I have observed lots of people doing very well in various professions. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to have experienced two diametrically different professions first-hand - Microsoft  in US and film-units in Bollywood.

Recently I came across a quote from Rahul Dravid (Indian Batsman) that stayed with me.
"I think we judge talent wrong. What do we see as talent? I think I have made the same mistake myself. We judge talent by people's ability to strike a cricket ball. The sweetness, the timing. That's the only thing we see as talent. Things like determination, courage, discipline, temperament, these are also talent. I think when we judge talent, we have got to look at the whole package"-- Rahul Dravid

I remember when I used to interview candidates for Microsoft, we used to be told that we need to evaluate a candidate not just for his coding skills but also for his core values- that included focus, personal discipline, being open to new ideas, ability to work as a team, ability to not give up easily on tough problems, ability to be accountable and take ownership, keenness to learn and grow.

And even when I work with people, in movie-making - I have felt that best people to work with are with these core values. Infact the best people who cut the clutter and have reached the top exhibit these values the most. As somewhere these core values help them constantly evolve their professional skills and ensures that they do not take any aspect of their work for granted. Moreover working with them is rewarding for others as well.
 Rajkumar Hirani (one of the most commercially and critically successful Indian Film Directors) for example meticulously works on his script draft after draft. He makes sure that he visits locations and does shot breakdown in advance, and works diligently in the casting of even small actors. He had years of experience as an editor too and directors who have worked with him confirmed that he tried his best to provide best editing solutions to their rushes. We can see that he really excels in his core values. Who knows, maybe Mr Hirani might have made a good software engineer too if he wanted to :).

 The technical skill-set of a profession can be acquired. I think rest of the qualities take years and is largely dependent on how you were oriented since childhood, or how you decide to orient yourself with time. How seriously you take yourself and if you believe that your work does define your identity. 

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