How often do you find yourself longing in this time of COVID-19? Longing for the things you once took for granted like the buzz you felt when you walked into a bustling office space, the conversations you had with peers without the fear of getting too close, the days when homeschooling was only for those who chose it (and weren’t trying to do a full-time job at the same time) and the ability to participate in a large scale event without the fear of catching COVID-19.
My how things have changed in the time of the coronavirus pandemic and so have we. The level of enforced change in how we work, live and play is unprecedented and has left us with no choice but to adapt. Our survival in the time of COVID-19 depends on it.
The demands of a leader in these unprecedented times of COVID-19 have shifted significantly and therefore how leaders skill themselves in adaptability to support their people needs to shift too. But how, asks Penny Locaso, CEO of educational company HackingHappy.co.
“What if we made a conscious choice to let go of the unrealistic expectations of what we feel we should be doing (based on the way life used to be) and instead created the space to pave a new path,” she said.
“A path that moves our mindset and our behaviour from using adaptability as a means of surviving to one of thriving. What if we learnt to bring intention to the core of how we adapt for what’s to come?
“Your Intentional Adaptability Quotient (IAQ) is the measure of how skilled you are at making intentional change in a complex and uncertain environment that is evolving at speed. The concept of Adaptability Quotient (AQ) was originally expressed in a 2011 Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage.’ But intentionally adapting, takes the concept one step further, and is critical in the current environment because it is about bringing meaning to the forefront of how we make decisions. IAQ is premised on slowing down, creating the space to think, to experiment and to unlearn.
“So where as a leader might you even begin to build your IAQ as a means for thriving and helping others to do the same? You start small with intentional practices that amplify skill in the IAQ domains of Focus, Courage and Curiosity. The aim is to create the space daily for more of the things that truly matter and light us up as human beings.”
Locaso, the author of Hacking Happiness, details three skills leaders need in the time of COVID-19.
We live in a world that is now designed to distract us. Our attention has become a highly valuable commodity so valuable in fact that companies like Netflix taught sleep as one of their biggest competitors. Productivity has become our disease, busy our default position and every waking moment is full. Our focus on doing is compromising our state of being…human being.Ditch the busy: Try removing the word busy from your vocabulary for one week and observe how it impacts your mindset, your behaviour and the connection you have with others.
Fear is the number one barrier to change (even if that change is something you’ve longed for) and yet fear and failure are two of the greatest levers you have available to you to shape the change you seek.Do something brave: Give yourself permission to believe in yourself through the practice of micro bravery. Resilience is born out of leaning into fear and experience tells me micro bravery is one of the best ways to build it. Micro Bravery is doing small things each day that make you feel uncomfortable. It can be as simple as having a difficult conversation, signing up for an online class to learn something you know nothing about or sharing something that makes you feel a little vulnerable with someone else. Small acts of bravery practiced over time build the courage and confidence to lean into bigger acts of bravery enabling you to unlock potential and possibility you never imagined.
I am often told by professionals that curiosity is something they do in their spare time of which they have none. Curiosity is a state of being those who are brilliant at it (like Einstein) share that the more they explore their curiosity the less they realise they know. What an invitation to open our eyes to the world around us and possibility we didn’t realise existed.Create a curiosity list: Note down all the things you are curious about and would love to learn to build your knowledge. Then highlight the one that jumps off the page. Then get after it by dedicating a small amount of time each day to learn. I gift myself 15 minutes of learning each morning before I do any ‘work’. That 15 minutes adds up to an extra 65 hours of knowledge building a year.
Amplifying your IAQ as leader provides a navigation system for you to explore, experiment and evolve in a way that is meaningful to you and inspiring to others. Focus, courage and curiosity act as levers to unlock possibility and move us from a position of surviving in complexity and uncertainty to thriving.