If you have read just about any list of the most in-demand skills for leaders and employees today, it will be difficult to miss the need for adaptability. If you’d like proof, I present exhibits A, B and C, which are just a few of the resources available!
I can’t imagine anyone would be surprised that being able to respond effectively to changing conditions has only grown more important in recent months. As we continue to experience, react to and anticipate new developments in life and at work, it’s imperative to be adaptable.
It can also be a challenging skill to develop. You can’t just send an employee to one training designed to stretch their thinking and expect them to be able to immediately identify and adjust to out-of-the-ordinary situations. Adaptability takes ongoing practice and discipline.
To help employees respond more effectively to evolving circumstances, I recommend focusing on five practices:
- Offer learning opportunities.
- Promote self-awareness.
- Get scratchy.
- Encourage learning through others.
- Explore new thought processes.
For Emergenetics® Associates, use the resources suggested below to amplify the impact of these practices.
1. Offer learning opportunities.
Learning is a great way to help individuals broaden their mindsets, explore new concepts and flex their adaptability muscles by experiencing new things. Providing a variety of ways to learn – whether through structured training programs, sharing blog posts, promoting online webinars or encouraging staff to sign up for relevant industry newsletters – can help employees expand their perspectives, discover new trends and identify ways to shift their practices.
For Emergenetics Associates, consider hosting Team Dynamics for Small Groups or Meeting of the Minds workshops to provide teams with opportunities to gain exposure to and appreciation for different ways of thinking, behaving and problem solving.
2. Promote self-awareness.
When individuals understand themselves, they can better recognize their impact on others as well as their natural tendencies when they are faced with a change to their routine. When presented with a challenge, that self-knowledge can help employees pause to assess why they react in a certain way and open their minds to different approaches. To expand self-awareness, consider introducing assessment tools to staff or promoting mindfulness trainings and self-reflection.
As an additional exercise, Emergenetics Associates can encourage individuals with Profiles to review their in-depth Narrative Reports and highlight elements that resonate, particularly in regard to managing change and problem solving, to make connections to their inclinations.
3. Get scratchy.
Risk taking improves adaptability by helping staff to try new things and respond to unfamiliar circumstances. The stakes don’t need to be big – in fact, that can be detrimental – so start small. In trainings sessions, ask individuals to set a specific goal to practice learnings that may be outside of their comfort zones. Encourage employees to talk about taking chances in meetings and engage in activities through lunch-and-learns or team building opportunities to help staff get scratchy.
Emergenetics Associates can use Least Preferred Attribute activities from your Associate Training Guide during team meetings or trainings to help individuals step outside their comfort zones by asking them to complete a task through the perspective of an Attribute that does not come naturally.
4. Encourage learning through others.
When employees connect with colleagues, they can discover different perspectives and approaches that they may not have considered before. By seeking unique inputs, staff open their minds to new possibilities to adapt their work. You can host informal and formal collective learning experiences by pairing employees up for coffee breaks, creating job shadowing opportunities or offering peer coaching or mentoring programs.
One report that may help staff is a WEteam Report available in Emergenetics+ to Emergenetics Associates. The WEteam Report builds a cognitively diverse group of employees, which can be a great resource to help individuals identify and connect with colleagues who think and behave differently.
5. Explore new thought processes.
Provide resources to help staff pause and consider circumstances through different lenses. In doing so, employees expand their adaptability skills by exploring alternative thought processes instead of falling into their standard practices. Find ways to remind employees to integrate perspective-taking into their daily work. Through coaching, periodic emails or follow-up articles and resources, you can help staff make this practice a habit.
Emergenetics Associates can provide an Emergenetics template to staff and encourage them to keep it on their desk or desktop as a reminder to consider how each Attribute would approach a situation. You may also encourage staff to take part in WEboarding, where each Attribute is represented on chart paper (or a virtual white board) and staff can make notes about the perspectives of each Attribute.
It’s easier to build skill in adaptability when employees have access to both on-the-job applications and formal learning sessions to help them pause, assess and identify alternative approaches to work. By creating an opening for balance and offering tools to encourage staff to put new knowledge into practice, you can help your employees adjust to change and even improve their personal resiliency!
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