To succeed in the post-pandemic job market, one needs new skills and capabilities. The pandemic has also pushed leaders to make high-impact, bold decisions, really quickly, testing their mettle. In Outskill, published by HarperCollins Publishers India, author Partha Basu dives into leadership traits of the future and ways to narrow the skill gap so that one can fit into a variety of organisations.

Basu is a senior industry leader who has worked both in Fortune 500 organisations like Coca-Cola, Whirlpool, AkzoNobel and Tata group as well as new initiatives like IFB-Bosch and SpiceJet. This is his sixth book and at present, he is the Head of Managed Services, KPMG Netherlands. In this interview, he speaks about embracing technology, leading from the heart and dealing with layoffs. Excerpts:


This book comes at a time when layoffs are dominating the news. Employees in low-income brackets, predominantly younger millennials, were conveniently let go. Any actionable tips for them?

Activate your network. We know people more than we think. There might be some people we have not kept in touch with, but they might help us. Don’t fall into the victim mindset. If you get laid off, it’s the circumstances of the organisation and not necessarily your fault. Knowing this helps you not to spiral.

Find a mentor. If you are in a tough situation, and call someone to ask for a job, people mostly shut the door. Instead, ask for mentorship. That can be a much better discussion.

Use this time to plug skill gaps and upskill yourself. Consider resetting your ambition. Use this time to explore options you wouldn’t have otherwise. Make mental health a priority.


The importance of data and technology, both pertinent to having a long and future-proofed career, is extensively discussed in your book. What kind of data skills will one need?

Data is the future for every field out there. Data gives us information. Since that information is available everywhere today, it is no longer about who crunches the data, it is about who understands the story behind the data. The current premium we place on managing and generating data will go away. Instead, those who can convert data into a story and then use the story for their business needs, will be important. The themes I am discussing in the book are data for business storytelling and not data for information.


According to you, what will be the most sought-after qualities for a leader of tomorrow?

First, leading through processes, which simply means facilitating delegation and decision-making at all levels of an organisation. Second, leading through technology. Technology is the future. You need technology as it saves time, gives you data security, makes productivity improvements and so on. Third, leading from the heart means demonstrating empathy and showing genuine care in times of plight.