What books have played the most in one’s life and career? What idea stuck with the reader? How have the readings change his or her understanding of our place in the world and the meaning of our own existence? And have these readings help them acquire skills and innovation? Having touched upon this with digital transformation expert Gérard de Bourbon and indian-born serial entrepreneur Ambuj Agrawal, I address these questions with Javier Cedillo, founder of Key Partners Ventures and former CEO ofof high end AirbnB-like hospitality platform OneFineStay.
Javier started out in the hospitality industry and work for leading companies in the hospitality sector like Accor to taking on a CEO role at high-end AirB&B like hospitality platform, OneFineStay. Coming with a multicultural background, Javier has lived in five different continents and the world’s most in major cities, including Tokyo, New York and theirs.
2 books shaped his life experience.
Javier’s first reading taught him that pain is part of life
He read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying when he was 17 years old and flew out to Tokyo to finish his high school studies. He learned that suffering is part of one’s life experience making pain-free moments all the more memorable. Pain is also playing a critical learning experience because we experience a moment where one has to accept that his or her existing knowledge is incomplete, after making a series of mistakes. Overcoming one’s mistakes involve acquiring a different set of beliefs and another set of skills. Then, as one goes, one tries out this newly acquired knowledge and figures out that his mastery is still unfinished… And finally, training and perseverance propel the learner to higher level so that he or she is able to face the challenge at hand.
Javier’s second reading taught him how to evolve to a growth mindset
Javier also mentioned another book titled entitled Mindset. Javier is the father of three children, all of whom are tennis champions in France. A few years ago, Javier came to the realization that, as a father, there is not much he could do to help his children continue to develop their tennis talent as they had surpassed him. So, while they were in Singapore, the family’s tennis coach told him of a book titled mindset. He discovered two different attitudes:
- The first one is fixed and limits an individual’s ability to evolve and master new skills. As the person is operating in an existing set of beliefs with no intention to explore anything novel.
- The second mindset is focused on growth and testing out innovative approaches in order to continue to learn.
As a parent, Javier tried educate his children to acquiring a growth mindset in everything they do and especially in tennis. This also applies to innovation in large and small companies. Many have said that startups are more agile than Fortune 500 organizations having to report earnings on a quarterly basis. But in fact, what counts most, is the leader’s mindset. A fixed outlook will stiffle a startup’s capabilities. Therefore, a CEO must instill a growth attitude throughout the corporation and encourage people to try out new projects, conduct novel experiments, voice fresh ideas, and, as most innovations fail, make the most of failure and maximize their learning.
One of the things that Javier stressed was that there is no innovation without failure; no failure without pain. And one must accept that pain is actually part any kind of learning experience. That’s how both books tie into one another.
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