Posted Feb 24, 2021 by Austin
“If you think the pace of change in your organization is overwhelming now, hang on. We’ve not nearly reached peak acceleration yet.” That’s from Rick Maher, president of Adaptive Human Capital, LLC. He’s a veteran of the workforce development industry and a recognized leader in the fields of managing organizational change and the strategic management of human capital.
Maher has been working on the issues of disruptive change and how people and organizations can better cope with change for nearly 30 years. He believes that unless leaders and workers become more resilient and adaptable, many companies - perhaps entire industries – will be at risk for failure. (Think Blockbuster and venerable retailers like Sears.) “It’s urgent that we work on changing the mindset of the American workforce and develop the skills it takes to adapt quickly in response to chaos and uncertainty.” In other words, he wants leaders to decide that disruption will be baked into their business model: Maher calls it “Disruption by Design.”
That’s the theme of Disruption by Design: A Leadership Series program being featured this month by the GSETA Institute (the training arm of New Jersey’s Garden State Employment and Training Association, which is the professional association for the state’s workforce development system). The Workshop will be conducted in two virtual sessions and will include Adaptive Human Capital’s Individual Resiliency Assessment – a private, online, self-assessment that will help individuals better understand their natural response to change and uncertainty.
Maher says the old adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is truer today than ever. Resilience is the key to success today and Adaptive Human Capital’s research indicates that individual resilience is only about 50 percent genetic. In other words, resilience is a learned behavior that can be developed like any other skill.
How can organizations increase resilience in their workforce? Maher says leaders should focus on 5 key traits to lead themselves and others through disruptive change – to create a more agile organization. A critical one, he says, is making your team a safe place to experiment and fail. “We want people to fail; it means they’re trying new things,” he says. “But failure has to become a learning experience, not an existential threat. If we punish people for trying something new that didn’t work, we’re stifling innovation and inviting disruption by outside forces. “We want to foster Disruption by Design” he says.