ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rajeev is a hi-tech industry veteran with over thirty years of experience in multifarious leadership roles. He started his career as a developer and later moved into management and leadership roles.
He has managed cross-functional and cross-geo teams and has worked with CxO level staff on strategic programs.
In his free time, he takes long walks, goes for a bike ride, reads a book, clicks some pictures, or troubles his spouse by unnecessarily poking his nose in her affairs.
When he is shooed away, he tends to write books, blogs, or articles on whatever topic interests him at that time.
Lately, it seems, he's turning more philosophical... he claims it is because of his spiritual growth but his loved ones say that it's the *cough* age creeping up on him.
He currently lives in California, USA.
Q. Tell us something about your book Rise: Essential Soft-Skills for Career Management.
This book is the culmination of my learnings from my journey in career progression and the classes I used to teach at Intel-U (Intel's internal university for workforce development).
I distilled down the most critical soft skills that one needs to succeed in today's world, whether in the workplace, business, or personal life.
The book is a primer (introduction with some real-world lessons) to these soft-skills.
Q. What inspired you to write this book?
I saw brilliant folks, from elite educational institutions, struggling to get ahead in their careers or start-up founders trying to pitch their ideas.
As I progressed through my career, I observed that I lacked critical soft skills that are required at each rung of career progression.
I read books and magazines, and also attended classes on soft skills but found them to be repetitive and prescriptive.
I believe that one should trust everyone to be intelligent enough to know what they want to do and how.
This is why this book introduces the soft skills with some framework on how to apply them and encourages the reader to practice them in their situations.
Q. How reading your book can upgrade an individual's life?
Just reading the book will only inform the reader about the soft skills they should focus on. I would not want anyone to buy the book to only get a basic level of understanding of these soft skills.
The basics can be read for free on the Internet.
I would like to encourage the reader to practice and apply these skills to all possible situations; learn from them and continue on a path of personal development and improvement.
The value of my book is that I provide examples and simple frameworks that I have personally tested and applied to progress in my career with excellent results.
Consider it a reference book that one can go back to any time they want as each chapter is independent of all others.
Q. Who would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
Someone who takes personal development seriously.
Q. What are some essential Soft-Skills required to achieve career growth?
Soft skills are a very wide field but for career growth, the ones I mention in the book are most critical, especially in career development. The list would also vary by individual. Each one of us has some other trait that we are good at.
The challenge is to find what you are good at and build on that while working on your blind spots in parallel.
Q. One thing every entrepreneur should do daily?
Wake up :) Jokes aside, one thing that every person, not just an entrepreneur, should do daily is to remind oneself about the purpose of doing what they are doing.
Is it money? Fame? Social impact? Amusement?... or whatever.
Once we are clear about why we are doing what we are doing, the path becomes clearer, and our message to the outside world does not appear conflicted.
Q. What keeps you motivated?
Different things motivate me for different purposes. Generally speaking, I would say continuous learning motivates me the most.
Q. What has been your biggest achievement in life?
It's a very broad question. Career achievement? Finances? Relationships? Life is multi-dimensional.
The real question one should ask is - did I achieve something by losing something else that I value in my life?
If the answer is 'no' then you have achieved the balance in life that will bring happiness; else, all achievements will carry some burden of regrets.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When your peers and competitors are as qualified and as competent as you are, then how do you create a differentiator for yourself in the workplace?
Some would go get an MBA or another higher degree, do additional certification courses, join professional institutes, and similar other activities; but rarely does one think of focusing on the soft skills that help create an insurmountable differentiator.
This book is a primer on the most essential soft skills that you can, or rather should learn to help you in your career progression and professional growth.
As more and more jobs get standardized, automated, or disrupted by the onslaught of technologies, these skills will give you a consistent and constant advantage over your peers.
The added benefit is that this competitive advantage continues to grow as you put them into daily practice and master the skills over time.
Although the book is targeted toward working professionals; every reader – student, individual, or business owner – will also benefit from it.