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More tools for your 2020 development

More tools for your 2020 development

Nicola Hopes

29 August 2020

I’m not a betting woman, but if I was, I’d put good money on you not being as adaptable or flexible as you think you are.

Heard only last week in an Exec coaching session:

“I mean, I’m open to a new way of doing it, but I think it works well now. Nobody’s complained.

Why throw it all out of the window just because Jo’s had the next ‘great idea’?”

Does this sound familiar?

[Following my previous article on investing time in new tools]. Here’s my view on why increasing your flexibility and adaptability – and resilience – is right for right now.

Bend without breaking

Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to reach for the Lycra and leg warmers.

Adaptability is being able to adjust to a new status quo – of which there are currently plenty. It’s about the speed at which you recognise things have changed and then adapt or scrap your plans to meet it.

Flexibility is not being too rigid with your thoughts or ideas. Being prepared to actively question your assumptions.

You might be reading this and telling yourself that you are already flexible and adaptable... well you learned to use a new invoice system in 2005 so it must be true, right?

So, what might boost your toolkit here?

  1. Challenge yourself to see what’s really going on – what feedback are your colleagues and customers giving you and how is it different from before? Find the new patterns and actions you need to take.

  1. Try to predict what you’ll need to adapt to – work with your team to think of what could trip you up in the next 3 months. What could go wrong and why? What would you do about it? If you plan in advance, you’ll waste less time if any of them come true. Rinse and repeat, regularly.

  1. What’s the one thing you could do to speed up decision-making? We all create inflexibility in our governance cycles and rituals. What decisions can you just delegate? What doesn’t need a committee? Take a risk. Dr Pepper – what’s the worst that can happen?!

Adapting and evolving as you go is much better than waiting until it’s all out of date and needing a complete overhaul – that way lies lots of time and money. (I should know, I get the call when it’s got to that point.)

Get bouncy

My good friend and specialist resilience coach Russell Harvey describes resilience as “the importance we attach to events”. It’s that simple.  It’s not about a stiff upper lip or never getting bothered by things. It’s how you bounce back.

If you decide missing that opportunity is the end of the world, it will feel that way. If you decide that your colleagues will no longer respect you because of that typo in the presentation that you spotted too late, then you’ve already sapped your confidence. It’s tiring. It’s unhelpful. It doesn’t change anything!

Equally, what achievement has been too easily dismissed to focus on the next thing on your to do list?

So, what can you try?

  1. What misses or mistakes are niggling at you and was it really the disaster you thought it was? If you’ve learned your lessons, then draw a line under it and revel in your achievements. You choose what to focus your energy on – choose wisely.

  1. What specific activities inspire you or are a source of calm right now? It could be something you listen to, look at, read or experience that brings you joy. How can you make it part of your routine?

For me, I love a podcast – some funny, some inspirational and most irreverent. I listen to them when I travel – on trains, on planes, in my hotel room. But now I’m working from home more, I hadn’t built them into my new routine, and I was missing them. I now listen to my podcasts when I’m making and eating lunch. Even a 20-minute burst makes a difference to my mood.

Invest time in improving your resilience and see the impact on your energy levels, health and focus.

So, is it adaptability and flexibility or resilience that are going to find their way into your toolkit for 2020 and what do you hope to achieve with it? I can’t wait to hear how far it’s taken you.

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