Adaptability, patience and awareness sound more like topics you speak of when embarking on a spiritual journey than qualities that every individual should consider as their essential equipment in the workplace.
For decades, recruitment and training frameworks have been designed to source or build an individual’s skill set. Skill set is defined as “a specific area of competence, knowledge, experience and abilities required to do a job.” The key consideration is “…to do a job.” Now, it is important that a person has the minimum abilities to do well at a given function, but does it mean that this is how we should hire and train individuals for their success within that organization? I would argue that this focus on skillset can be broadened to incorporate additional qualities that can bring future value to organizations as they continue to transform to meet new market and business climate demands.
One issue with the traditional approach is that it seeks to understand what a person’s previously built skillset structure is versus how the person can unlock value through the evolution of an organization. Another caveat with this view is that an individual’s skillset doesn’t reflect the ability to gradually and effectively adapt to disruptive change, navigate uncertainty and/or the capacity to learn a new skillset. The characteristics needed to do this are of a different human nature – they are dynamic.
In ecology, adaptability has been described as the ability to cope with unexpected disturbances in the environment.1 I like to think of it as our ability to view change as a true reality of life rather as an event that happens and no longer is. This is a way of viewing things, a perspective. Perspectives are unique since their source is also unique, the beholder. How about organizations seek to view perspectives as a part of the overall valued skillset? This leads me to the second attribute, patience.
Patience is the ability to endure difficult circumstances such as perseverance in the face of delay; tolerance of provocation without responding in annoyance/anger.2 Organizations are often focused on their day to day operations, extinguishing fire after fire. This can lead to employee fatigue and a sense of frustration with the state of the company. Unfortunately, this leads to hyper-reactivity where feelings and emotions, which are subjective, take over a response. This is detrimental to both the organization and the employee. By advocating for open dialogues, inclusiveness & receptiveness and allowing for people to fail with a safety net, patience can be cultivated.
I’ll refer to the branch of situational awareness or knowing what is going on around us. For example, it is common for someone leading a meeting to have a plan to achieve the meeting purpose and goals. What is not common is to prepare for the multiplicity of events that can occur in that timeframe – prepare for the unexpected. The key to properly manage an unexpected turn of events is to be aware that it is happening. This allows us to manage it objectively and effectively rather than risk frustration given our goals are not being met. In other words, listen carefully to people’s perspectives and be mindful of your response.
These attributes need to be cultivated, you can’t just take a certification on patience and call it a day – it requires practice. Organizations can help themselves by creating the necessary conditions and opportunities that enable people to take on new challenges, explore different fields and allow for experimentation. As a consulting firm, these are attributes we look to foster and set as an example to encourage our clients.
Gerardo Torres Castellano Manager | Percipio Consulting Group, Inc.
1 Adaptability (2020, August 19). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Adaptability&oldid=953823158
2Patience (2020, August 19). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Patience&oldid=965308500