As a vice president at Google Asia Pacific, Sapna Chadha is most excited about the region’s “growth story.”
“Within Southeast Asia, in the last few years alone, we’ve added 100 million new internet users. And you see the quickness to adapt and to adopt changes,” she told CNBC Make It in a virtual interview.
Chadha, who is responsible for business strategy, and operations across Southeast and South Asia, looks for the same agility in team members as well.
“I’m looking for people who want to exchange ideas, who want to innovate and are not happy with the status quo,” she added.
“What we’ve seen at Google is that among our best staff, a growth mindset is a common characteristic … It’s one of the biggest drivers of good performance and results.”
Having a growth mindset for Chadha means believing in the idea of continuous learning, and believing that one can always evolve.
The one question she would ask during a job interview is: What’s the latest thing you’ve learned?
“That’s one way you can spot that is by knowing what people are doing to actually evolve themselves,” she added. “Have they taken some initiative on their own to learn something that’s out of their domain? Because I want to learn from you.”
The response would not only be an indication of a growth mindset, but also show whether a person is willing “to exchange information and collaborate,” Chanha explained.
“I think this is a critical trait to possess in today’s context where tech continues to advance, and this act of knowledge exchange encourages a healthy environment of curiosity and growth.”
The other thing that Chadha said she always looks out for is whether people are willing to admit that they’ve made mistakes and what they’ve learned from it.
“Maybe they’ve tried something, didn’t go so well the first time, but they realize that they can improve. That admission is really important.”
One way you can continuously grow yourself is to “view your career not as a ladder to climb, but a jungle gym,” said Chadha.
“Being open to move across — not just always up — is important. I tend to look for people that are not just focused on vertical advancement, but thinking about broadening their horizon and their skill sets so that they can flex more in the future.”
For example, Chadha shared that she had the opportunity to move from being a product manager to chief of staff at her former company.
“I was initially unsure at that time, but it turned out to be one of the jobs that helped me grow the most,” she added.
“It allowed me to think at a higher level and gave me access to work closely with top-level executives, which in turn, tremendously influenced my leadership style today.”
Upskilling is also exceptionally crucial to ensure you’re able to adapt to future jobs and opportunities, said Chadha.
“New technology trends emerge every year — just like how we took the time to learn web development when the internet exploded, or learning how to build and use apps when mobile took off.”
In the same way, the types of jobs in the future will look different, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence, where some skills could become potentially augmentable.
“The term AI may have become mainstream, but it’s been around a while now. It’s not a new trend, nor is it just an overnight fad,” Chadha added.
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