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01 May 2022
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People often explain adaptability as a skill of surviving a change when it hits you. In fact, it is not adaptability. It is resilience.
Instead, adaptability means you actively prepare for change, even advocate for it, and consistently tailor your skill so you can meet any emerging needs.
Adaptability not only helps us avoid being overwhelmed, but it also trains our creativity and sense of opportunities amidst chaos. An adaptable worker stays calm even in a crisis of change, and that means being less likely to take knee-jerk decisions.
Adaptability often means actively facilitating change, rather than reacting to it. For example, adaptive leaders don’t plan what to do when the disruption hits their industry. Instead, they would actively develop the company faster and plan the changes themselves.
Adaptable employees (e.g., salespeople) preemptively avoid tried-and-true methods and instead try new buyer-targeting technologies, learn different cold-calling techniques, and are ready for things to change.
Adaptability is now even more important in this generation as it has moved to the employees’ top tier of essential skills. To keep up with the change, you need the willingness and ability to adjust your mentality and behavior to cooperate effectively in that new reality.
Then, how do we develop this adaptability skill?
A key step is to focus on breaking out root habits and approaches. Replace your default protection mindset with more curious alternatives, called the learning mindset. They are both relevant. But protection mindsets don’t help you when you need to do something new or need more creativity and innovation.
For example, you might think you know the right way to do something since you’ve been doing it a certain way for years. This mindset is called a protective mindset. Intentionally asking yourself if that is the best way, or if trying a different approach will let you grow a more curious attitude to learn something new.
Developing a growth mindset is also a way to become more adaptable. A fixed mindset believes people are born with intrinsic talents, while a growth mindset will change the belief that there is room to improve our abilities.
You can start your shift towards a growth mindset by actively leaving your comfort zone. Don’t wait for change to be thrust upon you, seek new methods or technologies, see how they work, and learn something new even if you’re terrible at it. When you are deciding on something, ask yourself what mindset was driving it—if you were on autopilot, see if you can pivot the other way.
Honing adaptability can equip workers with the tools they need to ‘bounce forwards’ with the change. The essence of adaptability is being able to recognize that if something goes wrong, it’s not a mortal wound. With an experimental mentality, you might find something new and way better to solve a problem.
Source: BBC Worklife