Adaptability should be in everyone’s job description. Unfortunately, it’s not taught in school and arguably it isn’t explicitly taught in the workplace either. This deficit is an increasingly exponential problem in any organisation because every individual or team who doesn’t adapt is a liability to success, compromising growth, innovation and competitive advantage.
Handling change in the workplace is not a new a requirement for the working world. As early as 2016 Harvard Business Review identified the ability to adapt as THE most important skill for companies undergoing transformation—more important than technical knowledge.
According to research by Barclays LifeSkills, 60% of employers report that adaptability has become more important during the previous decade; 20%, meanwhile, say that adaptability is lacking among employees, and only 8% say they actually provide specific training for this.
In a world of constant change it is non-adaptive behaviour that is the killer problem
Expecting employees to tough it out is wasteful, naive, expensive and can easily backfire resulting in significant loss of top talent, future leaders and productivity. A wiser strategy for handling change in the workplace involves giving people the skills and mindset to build a culture bias towards adaption to challenge and uncertainty. We call this resilience.
Investing in resilience skills enables people to confidently meet change with strong problem-solving capabilities, high levels of creativity, strong leadership and the ability to develop supportive and trusting relationships with those around them. It makes sense for people and it makes sense for the organisation. Adaptive behaviour rather than non-adaptive behaviour.
In times of change, an organisation builds adaptive behaviour progressively through four phases:
1. Give them something real to believe in:
People need a shared purpose. Imagine powerfully communicating who you are, where you are going and the essential behaviour you will need to get there. Now imagine that everyone understands and can explain the road map to get there in a way that everyone can relate to.
2.Give them the skills to adapt and deliver:
It’s people’s instinctive repetitive habits, beliefs and behaviours that either drives or drains energy for change. A vision developed in the boardroom and values on a wall isn’t enough. Giving your people resilience skills changes the way they engage and respond to stress and disruption. They start to see opportunity in change, boost performance and take action. Changing your perspective requires a change in your mindset.
That ideal mindset required is a resilient one. We often think of resilience as a personality trait, but in fact, it can be learned and in the face of change, resilience creates a growth mindset.
3. A strong and effective network of empowered teams:
As people develop their resilience, teams acquire the strength to adapt much quicker and unlock resistors to change in themselves and others. Resilient teams embrace the need for continuous change, accountability, flexible thinking, problem solving, mutual trust and psychological safety. Without such resilience, team productivity would break under the pressure of change.
Leaders of empowered teams also must evolve to act as coaches and mentors, not hands-on micro-managers. This is a dramatic break from the top-down structure that has defined organisations for generations, and candid leaders will admit to their own need for resilience when taking on this transformation.
4. Re-enforcing systems and behaviour:
People need to see managers and leaders ‘walking the walk’ rather than just ‘talking the talk’ and so creating re-enforcing systems and structures is the final condition for real adaption to change. Our resilience programmes blend unique 360 reviews, refreshers, coaching and team workshops to consolidate behaviour change to produce tangible and measurable return on investment.
You’ve probably noticed now that there’s resilience training and then there’s resilience training from us:
Many providers offer resilience training and it really is a mixed bunch out there. We’d suggest anyone looking to build resilience in their people compares on value rather than cost. Our methodology focuses heavily on measurable outcomes, changing instinctive behaviour and impact. Nothing can beat talking to a provider directly and asking for case studies and evidence of impact but here’s 3 tips to help:
- Look for a provider that is able to offer evidence-based programmes that give people the knowledge and the skills to enable them to adapt and change their thinking, behaviour and habits to better manage change and increase productivity and engagement. Take heed: ½ day workshops don’t work!
- Are their programmes skill-based? Most programmes fail because they don’t keep it real. They create an environment in the training room and then expect that learning to easily transfer to real life.
- Avoid the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Will the provider appear credible in front of your CEO and people? Does the provider have experience of operating in high performance cultures at a senior level?
For more information on how resilience training could act as a key enabler for you, your team or organisation, get in touch. We love talking all things resilience and it could just be the real key to successfully handling change in the workplace that you were looking for.