Technical vs. Adaptive Skills

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In the last 6 months, I have been facilitating a training called Insights Discovery. I have helped in profiling 100+ participants so far and have found this a very useful instrument for self awareness, and also on interpersonal awareness. Similar to MBTI, Insights also uses Carl Jung’s phenomenal work on – psychological types.  But the crux of this training is – a simple common language to understand the differences in preferences of people to communicate very effectively. Also a year and half back, my manager suggested me to attend a training called Crucial Conversations offered by Vital Smarts. The training was a 2 day course. This training focuses on how to handle conversation with high stakes / emotions involved.  And many more trainings we keep evaluating as part of my profession.
The key challenge I see in these trainings – The participants at the end of the training walk away with the feeling– what is so tough concepts did we learn today. In my previous profession it was a contrast -  we used to attend a lot of technical trainings, DBA crash course – where we spend hours going through technical information, manual, some hands on coding. I used to feel really complex / deep technical stuff I learnt from those. But all the trainings in my current profession mostly or exactly opposite. It took some time to get a grasp of the key difference between the two categories of skills we are acquiring in the trainings.
There are two types of skills – Technical skills – Likes of the coding, DBA trainings etc. are focused on those. These trainings are tough to acquire skills – complex info – but once acquired easy to implement and see results immediately. But the second set of skill – Adaptive Skills – Likes of Interpersonal awareness, handling high stakes communication etc. – Very easy to understand the concepts – but not so easy to implement and use in our life. After attending a communication training you don’t become great communicators immediately. May be you never used the takeaways from the training from your training. Because this involves something called as Behavioral Change. This is what social scientist  & Behavioral economists like Senthil Mullainathan calls as Last mile problem.
Changing behavior is the toughest problem – and this is that challenges in the adaptive skills training. So in my trainings the first 10-15 minutes I do something called myth bursting for the participants. Where I spend considerable time on explaining this last mile problem and really excite them with the biggest challenge in life is not acquiring technical competency but in gaining these adaptive skills and use them in life leading to behavioral change.
I am loving this part in the profession which is kind of challenging – make the most brightest mind in the country to sit through these trainings. I had been facilitating to Insights to some pretty senior folks who were part of writing kernel of most popular operating systems in the planet.  Just scribbled this thoughts last week after I finished one of my facilitation session.

How to make money by doing small errands – Service Networking

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If you are at home and want to make some money by doing some small tasks there are many options available – especially you have a computer and internet connection available. This life hacker post explains various options. In addition to online tasks there is an interesting startup called Taskrabbit which is basically trying to tap the unorganized labor pool to complete some of our day to day errands.  
This is just a 3 step process: You post a task first. Then there are folks pre screened by Task rabbit who would be allotted to complete your task. Once your task is completed you pay them for the task based on the upper limit you have set for the task. A small % of the the amount goes to the company running this as a service fee.
Pretty neat business model right? Organize the unorganized labor pool.  Though this looks like a simple concierge service, the only difference is in a concierge service you don’t need to be a fulltime employee of these companies to do these tasks. This is a pretty easy part time business – this is a social approach to solve the problem of completing day to day errands. They call this as a Service networking. Leveraging Internet, Mobile communication & social media to aggregate and provide service.
There are lot of startups now in US which is trying to match workers with small / odd jobs – A work-labor matching aggregation online.  Labortopia, Assuredlabour, fixr and Contractor Culture provide some niche services through networked labor which is usually available totally unorganized otherwise.
Do we have such service networking available in India? I remember, when I was in XLRI for an e-business course along with my friend we built a case for a business called – This is providing an internet platform to request for maid servants in home. The company would send maids who where pre screened eachachii.comrlier with adequate background checks. Post the work completion you pay the amount online, with certain % goes to Findmymaid. This is just an idea during my college days in 2009. But I was surprise to see the same things getting so popular now in US- with Taskrabbit getting a lot of venture capital to grow international.
In India there is a company called - which is an India Taskrabiit ( Similar to  This business in India is also becoming popular. This business is targeted only for Mumbai Market now. They are planning to expand in other cities as well.  This company as well leverage the social media  & internet a lot. They are getting close to 20% of their traffic from social media – primarily Facebook & Twitter. The viral marketing, Facebook pages are driving adoption.
One of the big number that shocks me always– India has 90%+ of workforce in unorganized sector.But startups like these trying to leverage internet to tap small scale errands / tasks for the unorganized workforce is in a way converting a small % of this pool to organized labor. Also these are the kind of work that fall in the shadow economy – which is unreported / unrecorded economy – They do not contribute to the GDP. Do you know the household works / chores a housewife does, do not add value to the GDP. They just don’t get recorded. Now there is scope to reduce the percentage of this unreported economy as well by these Service Networking startups.