Developing hunger for learning

Hunger for Knowledge
Success cannot elude those who have developed continuous hunger for learning. Our schools and colleges teach only what is necessary for us to ignite the fire of continuous learning in us. However, for most of us, desire to learn gets over as soon as we finish our final exam and apply for a job, unmindful of the fact that we are still forced to learn every day to remain relevant in ever changing scenario.

I would rate continued learning into three distinct patterns:

a. School learning
b. Inquisitive learning
c. Social learning

Those who have been highly successful often follow either of these three or a combination of these three learning. Each model of learning is essential in a given situation. Given my own experience, I would like to discuss what model of learning could be highly rewarding in your career as you grow on the corporate ladder.
I have seen and experienced several training and coaching classes that teach you quickly a subject you may need to know for appearing in an interview, exam or conducting your duty. Software programming, leadership training, communication skills and thousands of such coaching and training sessions happen to be available all around us. This model is called “Schooling” where you once again sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher for guidance. In all cases the effectiveness of these training and schooling can only happen if you practice them immediately in your day-to-day work life. In my observation, it is not the case. Most of us probably tend to retain only a small fraction of what was taught or not even that after sometime. These training tend to be same as what we learned in our school, but could not master that like some of the subjects of our school as there has been no practice or exam after that. In my experience, schooling tends to be more of a time waste if there is no serious attempt to practice and test the learning. This form of learning can be very useful as it reduces your time for gathering knowledge and can give you very quick benefits through experts.

The Inquisitive learning has been a trait of only a few I have seen so far. Asking questions, finding answers to questions, which do not have satisfactory answers normally, arise out of day-to-day situation. Such learning in my experience have been extremely useful as the context of the learning are highly relevant. Moreover, such learning are not converted into a day long class out of which you look for only few useful minutes, but comes out of real need for a specific issue and can be gathered in smaller packets of time and applied immediately. My own experience in learning how to create an impactful video ended up in learning tricks to solve my specific issues and even without attending any class on the subject, I could become very versatile on the subject. This model of learning however has to be developed and once it establishes in you, you are sure to be an achiever.

The social learning is mostly in form of observation of activities we see around us in day-to-day life. This is in particular useful if you want to learn from the habits of successful people and try to copy them. I have found this form of learning very useful mainly when you wish to grow and would like to see a mentor or idolize someone you want to be in future. I have seen few growing well in their professional life by simply imitating best traits of successful people. Even I do it many times and there is no harm if you adopt this form of learning for your growth.

Let us become hungry for more knowledge and use the three models effectively to chart our career and success.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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