Why The Pandemic Demands Adaptive Entrepreneurs

It’s innately impossible for entrepreneurs to make it far with a business if they don’t hold an adaptive mindset. With a crisis as pressing as today’s reality, it’s critical that business leaders think quick and move smart. In one of his many books, thought leader Ronald Heifetz talks about the importance of intentionally looking at the bigger picture. He cites that gaining a “distanced perspective” is critical to “see what is really happening.”

True enough, statements like these will always be easier said than done. The moments we’re forced to immerse in often feel too close and visceral to separate from. Whether current events or intimate matters, humans are designed to feel on the spot.

This is why learning how to adapt is a critical skill. It enables us to address complex problems and make reasonable decisions at the same time. But for us to successfully do so, we have to learn how to take multiple steps back to appreciate a nuanced perspective.

With leaders always facing unpredictability, the novel coronavirus remains an evolving science breeding multiple unknowns and demanding quick thinking medical experts.Times have changed so much that we’re now unable to rightfully move forward if we only think and act the way we used to.

All these mentioned, sharper brands of leadership are warranted. The most effective forerunners are those that respect the need to adapt.

In your journey to be a flexible entrepreneur, consider the following techniques.

Observe and participate simultaneously

People who only study social causes and events rarely truly understand hardship on a personal level. Conversely, those actively involved only in their experiences aren’t always positioned to present unbiased opinions. This is why leadership is an art form that requires improvisation.

You’ll find that while today’s game plan may make sense, tomorrow may be an entirely different ball game. To gain perspective, one has to observe, listen, think, and feel. Adaptability is a skill that takes time to master, and it demands a whole lot of empathy and rational thinking.

If one is ultra bent on doing things the way things were pre-pandemic, they will not survive.

Self-reflection is never overrated.

Easing into an adaptive mindset calls for continuous self-reflection. While it is strongly discouraged to overthink, self-assessments can be healthy when practiced with caution. For instance, as we draw further into the pandemic, it will come as no surprise how your team’s needs will change, too. Health updates will require alterations, and business figures will shape which direction you take. As a result, it’s crucial that you look ahead with anticipation and openness to adapt. Life is a long back and forth of trials and errors.

Will you need to restructure your working hours? Is there a need to resort to new communication platforms? Because many of us work from home now, is there a need to set up new boundaries to maintain healthy relationships and productivity?

Knowing the answers to these questions will dictate which steps you need to take next. Whatever courses of action they may be, know that you will need to be flexible.

Own accountability and be more open to new information.

During a crisis, it’s easy for leaders to blame their workforce for unprecedented challenges. After all, you have been stern and clear about your business’ goals, processes, and vision, right? That should automatically mean everyone else simply needs to take to heart what they signed up for, and step up.

This is false.

We’re all experiencing the harsh realities of coronavirus for the first time. No one expected this year to be where it is today. As the leader of an organization, you, among all people, are called to be the most understanding, resilient, and open-minded.

Own accountability and push for transparency every step of the way. The most effective leaders acknowledge that they make mistakes, too. Whether you’re a policymaker or a store manager, you’re bound to subscribe to baseless thinking, as well.

Recognizing mistakes encourages others to own their errors, too. The more mature and comfortable you admit to your losses, the better you encourage your team to be empathetic professionals. No one loses when you share collective takeaways.

Put mutual trust first.

Equally necessary to owning accountability in acquiring an adaptive mindset is the urgency to hold honest conversations with the people you work with. Along with rapid changes brought about by the pandemic will be work challenges involving systems, technologies, and processes. The secret ingredient to powering through complex problems is and will always be communication.

According to psychologists, leaders who own up to their mistakes and foster an environment of openness encourage mutual trust. In a time where a health scare is determinative of our actions, harmony is all the more needed to tread on uncertain grounds.

As an entrepreneur, remember that workplaces are spaces for your ideas to be questioned and your principles to be challenged. Value your people’s confidence, and cultivate a culture of diplomatic communication.

All these mentioned, learn to phrase questions properly. Avoid being negatively confrontational, and never jump at the chance to assume the worst in people. Mutual trust builds healthy relationships, and healthy relationships benefit everyone.

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