Adaptive Mindsets

What are adaptive mindsets?

The old saying “the only constant is change”, attributed to Greek philosopher Heraclitus, very much holds true in today’s fast-paced workplaces. Much like the philosopher asserted, situations, people, and environments change all the time. To cope with and thrive on change, having an adaptive mindset is crucial.

Having an adaptive mindset means that you respond positively to challenges, framing them as opportunities for growth and innovation rather than obstacles. Developing an adaptive mindset is essential in this era of disruption and technological innovation and will allow you to not only react to difficult situations when they arise, but to be prepared for them.

Why are adaptive mindsets important in the workplace?

The modern workplace is evolving at a continually accelerating pace, and both employees and companies need to be ready to move with it. Being flexible and positive about changes to the nature of your role and responsibilities, for example, is something that is highly valued by employers – a recent Harris Poll survey found that adaptability was one of the ‘soft skills’ most sought by employers, with 75% listing it as a desirable trait in applicants.

Though adaptive mindsets are crucial to succeeding during times of intense change, they are not often ingrained in us. Humans can respond to sudden changes with fear, leading to what is termed the “adaptability paradox”, where we cling to tried and trusted methods, despite knowing that we need to adapt to succeed. To bypass this trap, it is essential that your relationship to change be transformed into one that views it as an opportunity for learning and growth.

Possessing an adaptive mindset goes hand in hand with a range of other valuable skills including problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork. Being able to work cohesively in a group of people with differing skills, personalities and areas of expertise requires the ability to efficiently synthesise and respond to new information. This is particularly important given the blend of physical and virtual meetings and collaborations that take place in many modern workplaces.

Adaptive mindsets are not just beneficial on a company level, but also on an individual one. Being able to respond to change with innovation and determination rather than fear can increase mental resilience and make you feel capable of taking on almost any challenge.