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Adaptability Training

Jarrad Asquith
Kaitlyn Loft

By Jarrad Asquith, Faciliator, and Kaitlyn Loft, Learning Designer,
1 January 2024

Thinka’s ‘Become Adaptable’ Workshop

Adaptability is an underrated skill. So many of us get stuck in the ‘same old, same old’ thought patterns because of a fixed mindset. But what if we could change this? What if we could boost our cognitive flexibility and think on our feet in more agile, responsive ways? It means we’d be better able to deal with ambiguity and tackle challenges with that creative edge.

What teams will explore

  • Cognitive flexibility and the future of work
  • Challenging fixed mindset tendencies
  • Critical thinking and perspective taking
  • Welcoming ambiguity and breaking through it
  • Link between adaptability and innovation

What teams will apply

  • A grasp of adaptability as an essential skill
  • Strategies for challenging fixed mindsets
  • Practical tools to inspire critical thinking
  • Strategies to encourage perspective taking
  • Skills to help the team handle ambiguity
Workshop Skill

Adaptability is currently having a buzz word moment in the workplace. But what does being adaptable mean exactly? Put simply, adaptability is about changing our perspective to see a person, environment or situation in different ways – and flexing our approach in response.

The rapid change brought about by factors such as the pandemic, the shift to hybrid working and the economic downturn means that employees are having different thoughts and feelings about their careers.

Being stuck in old ways of thinking (believing that things should be a certain way simply because they’ve always been that way) won’t fly in this current working environment. This kind of fixed mindset and lack of adaptability can contribute to toxic work culture and employee dissatisfaction.

So, how can you improve skills in adaptability? Take a look at our top tips below.

1. Banish Your Ego

Leaving your ego at the door can be hard when you’re truly committed to something, but acknowledging others’ opinions, pausing during challenging situations (instead of blindly reacting), and learning to let go, help to bring about solutions.

2. Open Your Mind

Be willing to pivot when things don’t go your way or when circumstances change. Practise active listening, don’t be quick to judge and try to come at a problem from various angles. Collaboration is usually the key to cracking a problem and helps us get unstuck.

3. Stay Out of the Comfort Zone

Have you heard the phrase “the comfort zone is where ideas go to die”? Well, staying in your comfort zone also kills your ability to adapt. This warm cocoon will never prepare you for change – instead, fresh and bold ways of thinking will help you strengthen your skills in adaptability.

4. Be Mindful

Many of us jump quickly to solutions, and while this might work a lot of the time, it can be a recipe for disaster for adaptability. Instead, stop, think, be present, and make sure you’re designing solutions that positively impact the future. Adaptability is about seeing all possibilities.

Like any other skill, adaptability improves when it’s continually practised – when you make a habit of flexing and cultivating different types of thinking.

If you’d like to learn more about thinking styles, check out this quick 3-minute video.

Workshop Purpose

Adaptability skills are essential for the future of work. When you have a team that is proficient in critical thinking skills, problem-solving and keeping an open mind, you’re better able to achieve outcomes. In this increasingly complex world of work, employees are faced with challenging situations more regularly and need skills like adaptability and flexibility to deal with these. The purpose of this workshop is to help leaders and teams embrace change and prepare them for a range of new situations that will inevitability come as technology advances and job roles evolve.

Working with organisations across Australia, we know that leaders and teams are facing new challenges in a changing environment. Here’s a few of them:

  1. Technology and rise of AI: Advancements in technology and the way we work will automate more manual work, changing job roles and what organisations consider valuable. Adaptable employees with skills like emotional intelligence, critical thinking and problem-solving will become increasingly desirable.
  2. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that both leaders and teams need to be able to cope with a changing environment that presents constant challenges. Covid recovery, economic instability and hybrid working have all changed the way we manage work-life.
  3. Work-life balance: Balancing work and personal responsibilities is challenging but adaptable employees are better able to flex and juggle across both. This gives them an edge on dealing with multiple priorities and means they’re more likely to take on new opportunities.
  4. Flatter hierarchies: More and more, organisations are becoming flatter with employees having more responsibility and autonomy than ever before – especially in hybrid working environments. Team members are expected to take ownership for managing projects and tasks and be accountable to results. Adaptability skills help with better project management and strengthen team member resilience.
  5. Constant upskilling: Professional development is not an event and upskilling is continually required in a world of work that is constantly changing and evolving. There are so many new opportunities for employees to access information and support online, so they can continue to grow competencies and stay current.

Overall, these challenges can make it more difficult for leaders and teams if they’re not skilled in adaptability and flexibility. However, with the right support such as Adaptability Training, coaching sessions, and support from leaders, employees can thrive in this complex world of work.

Workshop Benefits

With the help of Adaptability Training, skills that leaders and teams can put in place to enhance performance include:

  1. Critical thinking skills: When employees seek out information, evidence and data, they make better decisions. Instead of moving too fast into ‘solution mode’, they properly assess problems or challenges to decide on an action plan. Critical thinkers call out bias and are willing to challenge decisions when there is contrary data.
  2. Problem-solving: New situations, projects and ever-changing work environments call for constant problem solving. Team members are better equipped to deal with ongoing change when they have strong skills in assessing the root cause of a problem, applying strategies to solve problems, and sharing learning experiences with colleagues.
  3. Emotional intelligence: This involves the ability to cultivate self-awareness by recognising and regulating one’s own emotions and maintaining healthy relationships with others. Employees can improve their emotional intelligence by engaging in self-reflection, by seeking feedback from others, and by developing empathy for those around them.
  4. Becoming active learners: Active learning is a critical skill for employees in today’s work environment, as they often need to upskill quickly to keep up with current trends and expectations. Employees can develop their active learning skills by keeping an open mind, seeking out new opportunities, and developing a range of learning strategies.
  5. Perspective taking: Conflict can arise when there are different perspectives in the workplace, but employees who have the know how to flex their style will excel. Team members increase their adaptability skills by staying calm and objective in situations, truly listening to others, and working collaboratively to find solutions.
  6. Priority setting: Adaptable employees successfully manage tasks and responsibilities to stay focussed on priorities and goals. Employees can develop this kind of skillset by identifying high value versus low value tasks, clarifying expectations and deadlines, and being open to feedback.
  7. Strategic thinking: Effective employees can think strategically; anticipating challenges and seeking new opportunities to achieve outcomes. Employees can improve their strategic thinking skills by being learners, staying informed about industry trends and developments, and practising creative problem-solving.
  8. Decision making: Team members make well-considered decisions with confidence when they’re flexible and see all points of view. Employees can build this this capability by working through different scenarios, researching and establishing best practice, and by weighing up both positive and negative impacts.

By developing competencies in these practical skills, leaders and their teams can grow capability in adaptability and flexibility and manage complex challenges and change in the workplace.

 

Workshop FAQs

What is Adaptability Training?

Our Adaptability Training workshop is specifically designed for leaders and teams to develop skills in adaptability and flexibility. It aims to provide participants with the skills, tools, resources and confidence necessary to manage increasingly complex work environments. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many leaders and teams across Australia and draw from case studies and shared experiences to offer meaningful advice, practical strategies, and stories to learn from.

Why should my organisation offer Adaptability Training?

Being part of Adaptability Training can help teams to improve their ability to see each other’s perspective, solve problems and collaborate. It can also help participants to break through bias that might otherwise hold them back from accessing new opportunities. The workshop experience is designed to help leaders and teams learn from each other and see how they might flex to accommodate different styles.

Who can attend Adaptability Training?

Adaptability Training is designed for teams. The skills we focus on builds competency in perspective taking, critical thinking and embracing change. However, this training can be easily customised for emerging leaders, frontline leaders, or middle management as well. A team leader might want to be involved in the session with their team too.

Is Adaptability Training only available in person?

Adaptability Training can be delivered in an in-person, virtual or hybrid format; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support on the job application. The training can be complemented with coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and building fresh confidence and capability in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of eLearning modules and other forms of media.

Workshop Case Study

Capability Development Program with Carlisle Homes

 

1. What was the objective?

Over the course of a 12-month professional development cycle, we worked towards improving the capability of leaders and team members using a range of workshops that targeted a specific skillsets. These skills were in line with the business needs and the latest data out of the World Economic Forum’s ‘skills for the future’.

2. How did we do it?

Carlisle Homes’ professional development approach meant employees could opt in or be nominated by their leader to attend workshops. Each workshop focussed on critical thinking skills, mindset and adapting to change, data-driven decision-making and innovation. The workshop formula was activity-based and used real work case studies to give a reference for applying the learning. This training course was aligned to the career development approach Carlisle Homes had designed to prepare their people for the ‘future of work’.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

The learning was integrated through the use of post-workshop application tasks. The main impact was seen in the improvement of Carlisle Homes’ data culture, with each leader being able to make more informed choices and embrace change. Employees were better able to see trends and adapt to new ways of thinking and working.

The whole workshop was very professionally done and packed full of useful tips and information.

Become Adaptable participant, Port of Townsville

Workshop Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Workshop

Virtual Workshop

See Demo

Key Outcomes

1. Team members who can challenge their fixed mindsets.

2. Team members who knowhow to think critically and on their feet.

3. Team members who can appreciate a variety of perspectives.

4. Team members who can welcome and work through ambiguity.

5. Team members who are geared toward adapting and innovating.

Target Audience

Teams
Leaders

Learning Approach

Experiential and application based learning

Workshops to pair me with:

Enhance Collaboration

It’s about a team’s ability to work together,
explore problems and find solutions.

Collaboration Skills Training

Promote Empathy

It’s about understanding, supporting and
challenging others.

Build Empathetic Teams

Our in-person workshops maximise opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – our in-person workshops build a formidable bridge between exploration and application. We have a 10 person minimum for an in person workshop.

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Our virtual workshops breathe fresh life into the online experience with their almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built workshop materials, participants can be assured of a lively, dynamic session that has a distinct bias to action. We have a 6 person minimum for a virtual workshop.
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This audience includes team members who are developing skills to perform their role with greater capability. The skills are geared toward increasing personal and professional effectiveness and are transferable across different contexts – making them last as they move through their career development journey.
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This audience includes ‘middle management’ leaders who support team members in capability building. The skills are geared toward increasing leadership effectiveness and driving performance in team members in modern work contexts. These skills are flexible and built to grow with individuals as they evolve in their leadership journeys.
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Thinka believes that every learner needs to walk away being able to do something differently once they’ve engaged in a learning solution. The real power is in every individual applying their learning. Our behaviour-based methods, supported by the latest research, are key to making the steps for change relevant and realistic.

Thinka supports with methods like storytelling, experiential activities or rich questioning, but ultimately, we know the integration between solution and real world is the most crucial part of the learning experience. That is why we look for ways to ‘build a bridge’ between the solution we provide and what happens back out on the job.

Whether it’s an application template, a set of strategies, some tips or a ‘how to’ model – we work hard to provide every learner with not just information but the tools they need to make a real difference.

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