Embracing a constantly changing situation
We are experiencing change, like never before.
“I’ve never known anything like this!” “This is unprecedented!” “I can’t believe what is happening!”
It seems we are united in our disbelief about this current global pandemic. We’ve always understood that change happens and at an intellectual level we have always agreed that change is inevitable and necessary.
But, how does this belief work in practice; what happens when we are faced with an evolving situation that seemingly changes several times a day. How do our beliefs manifest themselves in the way that we all think and behave? What can we learn and how will we grow?
With our beliefs being tested daily and in a way that, collectively, they have never been tested before, how we experience the change all starts with our mindset and the behaviours that we adopt in response.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset.
Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, describes two mindsets and how they affect the way we think – fixed vs. growth.
In a fixed mindset there is a belief that basic abilities, intelligence, and talents, are just fixed traits. People are born with what they have, and they can’t do much to develop.
With a growth mindset we believe that talents, abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, learning and persistence. Our belief is that everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
In the crisis we are currently facing a fixed mindset is unlikely to help us cope and get through. We need to believe that using our intelligence and capability and becoming more agile in our thinking is the way forward.
An agile mindset can help us learn quickly and respond well to change.
With an agile mindset, we understand that change is inevitable and try to use every opportunity as a development opportunity.
With an agile mindset, we understand that nothing is permanent and manage our thoughts and expectations to be excited about the change to come and the possibilities that come with it.
It’s not about simply telling ourselves that we should be thinking in a particular way, it’s about ensuring that it frames every action that we make.
Developing an Agile Mindset.
People have been trying to change forever. They want to change because they want to be better, happier, richer, slimmer, kinder, faster, slower, more successful, get promoted… we all have a list of things that, if given the Genie’s three wishes, we would change about ourselves or how we live.
Some change works. People do get better at their jobs; they do get fitter, happier, become more thoughtful, make better cupcakes. And lots don’t. They say they want it (often repeatedly). They make attempts to do things differently – join a gym, a dating agency, signup for a course, eat no chocolate for a week, but after a while the old behaviour creeps back in and no change – lasting sustainable change – takes place.
People who successfully change are agile learners. They have a growth mindset.
This means that they have the ability and willingness to learn from experience and subsequently apply that learning elsewhere. Successful change requires an understanding of the actual change required – an understanding of what drives our behaviour in the first place, what keeps us repeating the pattern, as well as a robust process for change.
What about agility and the customer experience?
Life is a series of lessons. When we are supporting customers through this current crisis we will be learning together as we go.
Imagine for a minute you are dealing with a new customer challenge. They voice a different opinion to yours. What do you do? Well, most people will sit and appear to listen whilst at the same time constructing their response ready for when the other person stops talking. The response is invariably in some way or other an attempt to make the other person ‘see sense’ and see it your way.
A person with high learning agility will respond differently. As the customer is talking, they will genuinely listen; they won’t be running their own dialogue in their head. They will be given over completely to listening and thinking about what is being said.
Having done this, they will ask genuine questions, in order to understand more fully this point of view. It may sound something like this: ‘Blimey! That is a completely different view from the one I held when we started this conversation… please tell me more…’
Being agile means being true to yourself.
You must be open to learning in all ways – really open to learning, with the humility and determination to see it through. If all these things are in place, then you can become an agile learner and, suddenly, change becomes a whole lot easier.
There is plenty of opportunity. Developing a growth mindset and learning agility is critical in the modern workplace and will be even more vital as we emerge into our new future.
If you’d like to find out more, we’re hosting a free webinar to bring to life the mindset of Agility with the skills of Positively Position and Handle Concerns on Wednesday 8th April 12:30 GMT – Click here to join