In a freewheeling conversation, organized by UpGrad, Christina Ruggiero, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, one of India’s top FMCG companies, identified communication as the skill that will be the most important in the post CoVID world. She was discussing the subject of Lifelong Learning with serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala and upGrad CEO, Arjun Mohan.
“The single biggest class that I send people to are on communication. Even in September which is our learning month where we super accelerate learning, I taught a class myself on communication. Even if we are great, there is always more that we can do on communication. And it is beyond English language. It is about a clear articulation of thoughts and ideas. I encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about how we are communicating effectively as opposed to just the data that we communicate. Good communication skills have been an absolute game changer for a lot of people that I have spoken to either trying to find jobs or who already have employment,” Christina said.
Highlighting the value of lifelong learning through her own experiences, Christina spoke about how having lived and worked in 55 countries and meeting different people allowed her to continuously learn from her peers and grow. She urged participants to not make learning an event but a continuous process. Courses, webinars, curriculums, seeking inputs from peers, learning from experts, practicing skills on the field are all valuable tools to continuously improve oneself. Merely taking classes on topics, will not be enough, she outlined.
Speaking on whether the world will belong to generalists or specialists, Christina said that a curious mind and an ability to look at things differently is what helps people make a mark in today’s world. Christina also spoke of the concept of accountability partnering, where one chooses people in their own lives, professional or personal, who can help guide and have an honest conversation or provide input at every stage. “Pick someone who’s there, who’s at the table, who’s in your life, who can tell you things constantly and in a relatable way,” she advised. The session had more than 1,000 participants in the webinar and several thousand that watched the session on digital channels. During the 60-minute session, Christina also highlighted how HCCB continues to stick to its age-old core values, how its products are benchmarks for consistent quality and its focus on being an equal opportunity employer for all genders. Christina and Ronnie addressed multiple questions including the do’s and don’ts of effective communication; turning one’s internal zeal into something fruitful and what drives them to be great leaders.