Adapt and Grow Beyond Skills Competencies

Propelled by the pandemic, the business environment has changed drastically in the last year. One of which is the requirement for everyone to shift to remote work of one form or another; hence, resulting in business models needing to adapt and change. Yet, in adjusting to adapt to this “new normal”, the pace of change is not going to slow down.

“New Normal” means a normal pace of change?

In this fast, changing, and unpredictable business environment, the only “normal” pace of change is that change is happening constantly and on a dynamic scale. The reality is the business will never be “normal” in being status quo or slowing down. Organizations need to stay abreast and consistently do well in these dynamic times. Everyone must be able to adapt to these changes and be ready to change quickly. People are forced to learn and hone new skills, new technologies to adapt to this “new normal”. In some sense, there is no time to “pause and think”, learning is essential, growth is necessary.

A Paradigm Shift

The role of Learning and Development (L&D) units in organizations also needs to adapt to this fast pace of change. L&D can no longer be concerned only with building “competence”, that is, skills and knowledge to the work done, there needs to be a paradigm shift to the development of mindsets – to be adaptable, adept, and agile.

Instead of focusing just on “micro-skills”, job-related training, the focus should shift to cultivating the abilities to explore, grow and adapt. When employees are encouraged to change their mindsets in learning, they will also be keen on finding ways to learn new skills that they need when the occasion calls for it, or when they encounter new situations. When employees are confronted with situations where they lack the skills to get the job done, those who are motivated to learn will take ownership of their own learnings. They can then apply to the workplace situation immediately. 

When employees are curious enough and have a growth mindset, they will not succumb to the challenges; rather, they will find ways to overcome and adapt to the changes.

Cultivating curiosity and growth mindset across the organization is not an easy feat; it requires the unification of the entire organization to drive these efforts. L&D, which are at the forefront of learning, must put substantial emphasis on helping employees internalize the belief that their abilities can and must be developed in this fast-changing and unpredictable environment.

This means encouraging employees to take appropriate risks and validating them for their willingness to adapt and grow. They become role models to inspire other employees to grow in learning.

One relevant example that supports this is DBS “Gandalf Scholars” scheme*. This scheme allows people in the organization to learn anything they want, as long as they are willing to pass on what they have learned to others. In the process of passing on the knowledge to another, learning deepens for themselves, and these “scholars” feel more empowered and confident.

* https://www.psd.gov.sg/challenge/ideas/feature/why-dbs-wants-to-be-gandalf

Key Takeaway

In the face of this “new normal” where change is constant and disruptions are fast happening, we must develop a growth mindset in being curious, excited to learn, and willing to adapt.



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