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What 2020 has taught us about adaptability

By ILX Team | 4 January 2021

What a year! As professionals we have learned the critical importance of riding the wave. The unexpected earthquake of the global pandemic has shaken each and every element of our lives, and the vibrations are going to be felt for some time yet. And so, one of the biggest takeaways of 2020 is the value of adaptability in business.

Being able to react and adapt is what has carried professionals through this difficult year. We have been challenged like never before, and whilst the war is far from over, we are moving to a place of reaction to one of reflection.

We can learn so much from how we have managed the pandemic. As we move into a new year, we are considering our next moves for the challenging road ahead, but do so from a far wiser standpoint. So, take this moment to reflect.

Here’s what 2020 has taught us about adaptability:

Crisis management

COVID-19 has overhauled the business environment, not least in terms of crisis management. As restrictions have endlessly clamped down, shifted and lifted, we have had to put crisis management mechanisms in place at lightning speed in order to minimise business disruption. In this way, the pandemic has highlighted the need for professionals and their teams to be responsive and to fine tune their change management and risk management practices.

Going forward, consider strengthening professional abilities through continual learning with such courses as APMG International Change Management and APMG International Project Planning & Control training programmes, which we offer here at ILX. Both courses can arm project professionals with knowledge of processes to be able to react, adapt, monitor and progress.

Agility and innovation

No one could have anticipated the rapid transitions businesses have had to make this year, and fewer still would have anticipated how successfully businesses were able to adapt. The agility organisations have shown is unrivalled, and this is without doubt down to the individuals and teams who have demonstrated great innovation.

Outside the box thinking can greatly improve your agility as a business. Innovation goes hand in hand with successfully being able to adapt to change and navigate situations of uncertainty. Companies that have been responsive and that have innovated at speed have triumphed. Taking this forward, we must look to further advance and embrace agile practices, as they have proven to be the difference between failure and success when things are unpredictable. Take a look at our PRINCE2 agile training courses. Skills development could be of great benefit to you and your team.

Leading an improved culture

Leading your team takes great skill and is bound to have been particularly testing this year. But it is those nimble leaders who can retain the organisation’s core values whilst also being flexible who have the advantage during this very unique situation. Managers who have displayed great adaptability in the face of the pandemic are sure to have had a positive impact on their employees and the wider business culture too.

Leading by example and shifting your business culture to one which prioritises adaptability will set you up for the future and whatever it throws at you. This year has taught us the importance of championing your team to be strong and flexible, and the great value in engaging, inspiring and motivating.

Stronger teams

Our teams have been vital to us this year, and we must not overlook how much has been expected of them. Their teamwork and support with each time-critical challenge has made all the difference. They too have had to adapt and change their every process, demonstrating skills such as flexibility, innovation, on-the-job learning and resilience, all with reduced resources. Such traits will undoubtedly enhance careers.

In this way COVID-19 has also taught managers the importance of focusing on such skills when taking on any new recruits. Team members with adaptability in their skill set will be key to helping the organisation survive the ongoing pandemic and any future crisis.

Beyond 2020…

With so much lost at the hands of this coronavirus, we must manifest ways in which the experience of twenty-twenty can be a driver for change. Rather than longing for the return of business-as-usual, let’s look to how we can adapt to do business better and come out of this year stronger. Whether that’s with stronger teams, better leadership, an improved culture, great agility, more innovation, sharpened crisis management, or all of the above!

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