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  • Writer's pictureDr Sp Mishra

The 3Cs

Compete, Collaborate & Communicate: Navigating Career Success

When it comes to advancing in your career, two key elements play a significant role: competition and collaboration. Despite appearing to be opposites, these forces work in harmony to influence our professional paths. Whether you are a recent graduate taking your first steps in the job market or an experienced professional navigating through the middle of your career, comprehending the dynamics of this interplay is crucial.

Like most things in life, competition and collaboration are the two sides of the dichotomy in the real world.

Why Competitive Mindset is Important?

If you are a young Indian in school or college or a professional in a career path, here are some numbers to crunch;

-        Little over 4 Crore (40 million) young students get into higher education every year.

-        Over 1 Crore (10 million) come from the higher education system every year.

-        India has one of the most competitive higher education systems, here are some examples;

o   Approx.23,00,000 (2.3 million) students attempted to get into about 1,00,000 MBBS/BDS colleges in 2024.
o   About 14,00,000 (1.4 million) students attempted to get into IITs which has only about 18000 seats in 2024.
o   Other professional courses like, CLAT, NID, NIFT, CAT etc are also severely competitive.
o   The success rates are in the range of 1% to 5% in variety of professional examinations.

-        India produces about 8 to 10 Lakh engineers every year through several hundred govt and private institutions and universities.

-        Out of all the employable Indians only about 5% to 6% of people work in a formal job sector, rest work in either agriculture or other informal job sectors.

-        Globally one 1 out of every 10 startups manage to survive and thrive (10% success), in India, the story is slightly better at about 20%.

-        Over 6 lakh aspirants try to get into the India Administrative Service, which absorbs about 1000 candidates every year.

So, whether you are a student or a professional, the above numbers should ring a bell in your mind about the possible level of competition that you will face in your professional career.

So, whatever you do in your professional education and/or career, bear in mind that you can only survive if you are the best amongst the lot and possibly amongst the top 5% of the cohort, else sooner or later you will be swept away into irrelevance.

Learning Daily and Deep

One of the key ingredients to strengthen your survival skills is to make daily learning a habit. I'm not saying that you must learn a variety of subjects every day, but focusing on deep learning in your area of expertise more regularly will help you remain agile in your chosen field. Keeping a daily journal is a great way to aid you in this process. When you journal, you are true to yourself, making it a great private space to support your Daily Learning Habit Process.

Why Collaborate?

It's important to acknowledge that despite our best efforts, we cannot excel in every area. It's simply not feasible to master every trade, which is why collaboration is so crucial.

Collaboration is like a choir's voices coming together in harmony. It's a software developer working with a designer to write code, a surgeon collaborating with nurses in complex operations, and a marketing team brainstorming a campaign. Collaboration enhances our collective impact by leveraging diverse skills to achieve something greater than individual contributions.

Through collaboration, we access a pool of collective intelligence. We gain from different viewpoints, exchange knowledge, and forge connections. Collaboration is not about diminishing individual talent; rather, it's about creating a mosaic of expertise. It's akin to a jazz band improvising, with each musician playing off the others to conjure up something enchanting.

However, collaboration is not without its challenges. It can lead to unproductive meetings, decision-making gridlock, and weakened responsibility. When everyone has input, the decision-making process can stall. Finding the right balance between individual freedom and team unity is like walking a tightrope.

Here are some of the wonderful stories of collaboration and teamwork;

The Wright Brothers: Defying Gravity with Teamwork: Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first successful powered flight through relentless collaboration. Their shared vision and unwavering commitment exemplify Henry Ford’s words: "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.".

Apollo 11: A Giant Leap for Teamwork: The moon landing in 1969 was an extraordinary feat. Countless team members worked together toward a common goal. Jim Stovall’s quote captures it perfectly: “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision”.

Disney’s Creative Collaboration: Walt Disney and his animators created beloved characters and stories. Their success stemmed from effective teamwork, even when the vision was blurry. As Orben said, “Teamwork is the ability to work as a group toward a common vision”.

Google’s Early Days: A Story of Team Building: Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and their early team members demonstrated great teamwork skills. They achieved uncommon results by working together, fuelling Andrew Carnegie’s belief: “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results” 

Power of Communication

The third crucial element is the power of communication. You might excel in your profession or be an excellent team player, but without effective communication, your success will always be limited. Many of the most successful leaders across various fields are not only skilled in their areas but are also exceptional communicators. Communication can take the form of verbal, non-verbal, behavioural, graphical (or presentations), and written. Each form is a powerful tool; instead of trying to master all, concentrate on your strengths and improve them daily. For instance, I don't see myself as a strong verbal communicator, but I do consider my written communication quite effective and powerful. Therefore, I leverage this strength by posting regularly on LinkedIn or writing blogs/articles, like this one.

What do you think about this article, share your thoughts.

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