Not one industry leader got to where they are today by doing the same thing, the same way, for their entire career. Workplaces are constantly changing and evolving, so employees and jobseekers need to change and evolve with them or they’ll be left behind. Being more adaptable allows us to not only become a better leader, but also to handle career transitions easier, bounce back quickly from adversity, and be a more valuable asset to the company and executive team. In the following, we’ll teach you how to broaden your perspective, prepare for change, and nurture an adaptable mindset in order to be more adaptable for your constantly changing work environment.
The first step to becoming more adaptable is coming to terms with the fact that your workplace or industry is constantly evolving. Digital technology continues to change every aspect of the workplace. As we move toward the advanced digital age, organizations are being introduced to new competition, technology, trends, increased work load, new ways of thinking, and other things we simply cannot predict. Regardless of industry, every company continues to evolve in order to be successful in the future, all while expecting their employees to evolve with them.
The most prominent way organizations are evolving is by increasingly using automation to streamline their day to day tasks, shifting the workload of their employees. Since machines and technology can routinize repetitive tasks and free workers from mundane activities, employees’ roles have now shifted to allow them to focus on more critical business decisions involving creativity, empathy, strategy, and innovation (all exclusively human attributes). The more valuable employees display not only the ability to handle automation, but to also think more innovatively.
In addition, rising integrated campaigns and communication across all levels of an organization has made the workplace more collaborative and competitive. With the workforce becoming a multigenerational atmosphere with employees ranging from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, the need for comprehensive understanding of generational differences has become increasingly more prominent.
Not just the workplace is changing for organizations, how they approach the market and acquire new customers is continuing to evolve. Increasing economic demand continues to pressure companies to stay “on trend” in an increasingly technologically driven economy. Employees are expected to continually push for more creative and innovative solutions in order to help the organization stay relevant.
Once you’ve accepted that the workplace is ever-changing, the next step is to be prepared to stay ahead of this consistently changing environment.
With today’s constantly changing work environment, it is crucial that you be prepared for any type of change. This means you are always taking measures to learn, grow, and expand your working knowledge. Here are some things you can do:
Research shows that reading not only makes you smarter, it also helps you make better decisions. The goal however, isn’t just to make you smarter in your field, it is to make you smarter in all aspects of life. Reading articles and books outside of your core discipline from different industry thought leaders will help you expand your knowledge and understanding across different disciplines, making you a more valuable asset.
With the constantly shifting work environment, you never know when you might have to take on tasks or collaborate with another team. Shadowing your colleagues will help you learn more about their role and their tasks and how this can also help you with your tasks.
It’s always good to learn a new skill and with the increasing reliance on technology, you never know when it will be necessary for your job function. Taking a class to learn a relevant skill will not only help you be prepared for inevitable change, it will also help you remain valuable in an increasingly competitive work environment.
There are three types of knowledge: Things you know, things you know you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know. In order to understand the things you know you don’t know and to discover new things you didn’t know, you have to ask more questions. If you feel like you have exhausted all possible questions, think outside of the box and start asking different questions. For example, when trying to understand how to automate a specific task, if asking how does not help you, try to ask “why”. Understanding why you are doing something will help you understand how to do it the best way.
Everyone has a different perspective, something you might have loved could not have been received well by your customers. Getting involved in your customer’s community will help you learn how they think and what their needs are while evolving your way of thinking as their community evolves.
You can’t always prepare yourself for every situation. Sometimes, unexpected change happens and the best way to be ready for it is to have an adaptable mindset.
It can be difficult to accept that our workplace is changing and sometimes we all want to believe that the old way was just better. However, complaining about it just sets you and your company up for failure. When something new is introduced the best thing to do is welcome it. It may not be the way it was done in the past but that doesn’t make it any better or worse. Keeping an open mind will allow you to adapt to change quicker and easier, increasing your chance of success.
Part of having an adaptable mindset is being able to think creatively. Increasing your knowledge will help you to think outside the box; however, just having knowledge does not make you a creative thinker. Being able to think not just outside the box but of a completely different set of boxes (so to speak) is how you think creatively.
The best way to get those creative juices flowing is to first, think of a problem (any problem big or small will do). Then, once you have the problem in your mind, get a sheet of paper or open a new word document and start jotting down solutions without erasing or deleting anything. Don’t hesitate or second guess your solutions, just write everything you can think of down. You might end up with 100 horrible ideas, but you’ll most likely have a couple good ones as well. Thinking creatively means accepting all of your ideas (the good and the bad) and using those to generate a great & new approach to solving a problem.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You’ve heard this a hundred times before, but how often have you applied it to your work? In other words, what have you changed in order to grow in your workplace recently? If your answer is nothing, then it’s time for you to take a new approach.
Explore different methods for accomplishing your goals or try to leave your comfort zone. For example, if you work in sales and have started relying on your own personal script for making the sale, try something new and drop the script. Talk to the customer as if they’re your best friend, worst case scenario, you’ll learn what doesn’t work. However, say you stuck to your script and you continued to get the same amount of sales – the problem? – those sales will never grow. The only way to grow is to try something new. If you are consistently taking a new approach in the workplace, you will be able to quickly adapt to even major changes.