Preparing for future change and our new world

by Reprintted from Bangkok Post

Today, we face changes that are happening faster than ever before. Change is great as it presents both individuals and businesses with new opportunities to reach new heights of success. But change can also be unsettling and disruptive for some.

At the end of the day, we are all humans. Though we can learn to manage change better, it can still take a toll on us. The reality is, it doesn’t get any better. We will constantly face bigger challenges ahead and they will continue to affect us in both positive and negative ways.

The good news is, we can prepare ourselves for those challenges. While it doesn’t necessarily get easier, we can learn to adapt faster to overcome challenges. So, how can we ensure we are prepared to face more challenges such as the recent pandemic? And how can we ensure our skills remain relevant in our ever-changing world?

 

Here are seven skills to start developing and strengthening to help you stay relevant and face the changes in our coming new world post-pandemic.

The first skill is emotional intelligence. We cannot deny that change can affect us in many ways, one being in the emotional aspect. But how we acknowledge and react to those emotions, both our own and those of others facing the same challenge, is critical.

The second skill is a growth mindset. Just as a house requires a strong foundation to endure, we require a strong mindset to face change.

The growth mindset is a concept developed by Dr Carol Dweck, an American psychologist at Stanford University. It is a great starting point as the concept is built around finding opportunities and learning in the face of every kind of adversity.

The third skill is empathy. Empathy builds on the skills that allow you to truly open up and understand the real needs of others. This is the most important first step in any problem-solving process as it opens the door to new insights you otherwise may have not known.

This skill can be applied toward your external customers, but also toward those you’re working with, such as your boss or your team.

The fourth skill is leadership. Whether you’re a business leader or an employee in an organisation or even a freelancer, you still require leadership skills. When you look at the tasks you need to tackle and the challenges you need to face, you need to be able to be proactive and self-lead through them.

The fifth skill is agility. To be agile is to adapt to coming changes with speed. Change can happen suddenly, so we must prepare ourselves constantly. The key to this is being proactive.

Another important thing to remember is that, while being agile is crucial, balancing between being rigid and flexible is equally important. Yes, we cannot be rigid in the way work, but at the same time, we cannot always be swayed by everything that happens. 

The sixth skill is data analytics. We have so much data available these days to understand customers and potential markets. But, are we trying to make sense of it in our work? As a default, we tend to know what’s going on but don’t use the information to support our work.

The final skill is creative problem-solving. From what we learn in terms of the situation and our customers, both external and internal, we need to be able to connect the dots and find creative solutions. Especially during this unsettled period, creative, cost-effective solutions would be the ideal route in solving any problem we face.

These skills can be developed mainly through practice but require a basic understanding of what they truly mean and how to apply them in everyday life. It can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with certain skill sets, so here are some tips to begin your journey.

First, identify what you need to develop and the goals you want to achieve. Second, set a learning plan where you identify the resources required to achieve your goal. Third, practise learning in daily situations. It may feel unnatural but the more you do this, the more comfortable you’re going to be. Finally, measure whether the takeaway from the learning allowed you to achieve your goals. Go back to each step whenever necessary.

While there are particular skill sets in each industry, business and job role, these skills and tips listed above act as a launching pad toward more of the learning and development needed to keep up with change. At the end of the day, when it comes to change, we know we cannot stop learning, as otherwise we will face redundancy.

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