The Great Unknown: 3 ways to thrive in a post-COVID world

The future is far from certain – but HRD has some advice for leaders looking to instigate real change

The Great Unknown: 3 ways to thrive in a post-COVID world

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many leaders scratching their heads? What does the future hold? What will be the extent of the damage? What will the workplace look like post-COVID-19?

It has also left many people feeling afraid and unsure how to deal with the unknown, according to Penny Locaso, author of Hacking Happiness.

Locaso told HRD that a practical way of excelling during this time is to follow a path that moves your mindset and behaviour from a mode of surviving to one of thriving. This means learning how to “intentionally adapt”.

Locaso explained that 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,” said Locaso.

“IAQ is premised on slowing down, creating the space to think, to experiment and to unlearn.

READ MORE: Four leadership blind spots (and how to avoid them)

“So as a leader where might you even begin to build your IAQ as a means for thriving? We start with small intentional practices that amplify skill within focus, courage and curiosity.”

Locaso said the aim is to create the space daily for more of the things that “light you up and truly matter”. And that building your IAQ provides a “navigation system for you to explore, experiment and evolve in a way that is meaningful to you”. 

“Focus, courage and curiosity act as levers to unlock possibility and move us from a position of surviving uncertainty to thriving.”

  1. Focus

According to Locaso, we live in a world that is designed to distract us. Our attention has become a highly valuable commodity which is so important that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings described sleep as one of their biggest competitors.

Locaso said that in many ways productivity has “become our disease” and that busy is “our default position”. In other words, “our focus on doing is compromising our state of being”.

Locaso also suggested that it’s important to rethink the concept of “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.”

  1. Courage

Fear is the number one barrier to change - even if that change is something you’ve longed for, added Locaso.

“Yet fear and failure are two of the greatest levers you have available to shape the change you seek.”

Locaso suggested to “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,” said Locaso, who explained that 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,” said Locaso.

“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.”

Read more: Does your organisation use ‘complementary leadership’?

  1. Curiosity

Locaso is 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 say “the more they explore, the less they realise they know”, added Locaso.

“What an invitation to open our eyes to the world around us and possibility we didn’t realise existed.”

Locaso advised to create a “curiosity list” by noting 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 and get on it by dedicating a small amount of time each day to learn.

“I give 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.”

Moreover, Locaso said it also helps to “get curious about you”.

“Writing down your thoughts, feelings and behaviours enables you to connect the dots between how they interact.  We become observers of our brain’s behaviour and build a relationship with our mind that helps us work with it more effectively.” 

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