Every company in every industry had to be innovative and agile during the height of COVID-19. In May 2020, 49.8 million Americans could not work because their employer closed or lost business due to COVID, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Leaders adapted through crisis by necessity.
Adapting amid a crisis is hardly the best strategy. As IT leader Charlie Feld says, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction.”
COVID-19’s continuing impact on business has prompted leaders to adapt and innovate aggressively. Remote work, employees’ evolving attitudes, and technology’s constant press forward require leaders to go beyond accepting change. They must embrace change — even drive it.
The future of work bends on a technological curve that leaders must understand. According to the World Economic Forum, the skills companies and employees will require in the next decade include cloud computing, big data, analytics, cybersecurity, and AI.
Leaders across every industry must inspect their adaptive skills, especially to their blind sides. McKinsey calls this the “adaptability paradox,” which concerns our tendency to fall back on what we know when confronted with what we don’t. McKinsey’s suggestion? Don’t react to challenge; be prepared for when it arrives.
To address that, Monica Thakrar, President of the leadership training/coaching/consulting firm MTI, compiled for Forbes this list of essential traits for adaptable leaders:
- Diversity Matters: Organizations that assemble a workforce varied in race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation tend to fare better than those that remain homogeneous, as they open themselves to differing perspectives.
- Never Stop Learning: Examining best practices of other businesses, including competitors, will serve a leader well. So too will absorbing information from as many different sources as possible, whether online or analog.
- Create a Psychologically Safe Environment: Fostering creativity, transparency, and collaboration ensures the free exchange of ideas, which enables a leader to ideate and adapt.
- Be Resilient: Emotionally intelligent leaders are adept at rebounding from setbacks. That’s noticeable and sets a positive example for the entire team.
For leaders, it doesn’t pay merely to color within the lines anymore. They now face a different reality, as the pandemic made clear. The best leaders understand that and continually adapt.
The Allure Group has always had an adaptive mindset. As an example, consider that long before the pandemic we installed Samsung tablets at each of the 1,400 bedsides in our six facilities, so that residents might use them for relaxation and entertainment. But when the pandemic came and governmental lockdowns were imposed, those tablets became a vital communications link to loved ones.
Additionally, consider our use of Vis a Vis technology, which benefits residents upon their release. Each of them is given a handheld device that enables two-way communication with clinicians, should any issues arise. Clinicians can also track residents’ vital signs if need be.
The bottom line is that the medical field, like the world at large, is a rapidly changing place. Leaders must always be agile. They must always adapt. Doing anything less is a disservice to one’s patients.