Stay flexible in chaos
The Year 2020, with its cohort of earth-shattering events, has at least taught us to say, “I don’t know”, and “I’m not sure.” It has also taught us the need to listen better and to be more flexible in our thinking.
The murder of George Floyd led many businesses to hold structured conversations about unconscious prejudices. These conversations can be uncomfortable, and you often don’t know how to get the ball rolling, because there is no script. In such chaos, your only good option is to listen, really listen, and to be ready to say “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure.” And to continue to do this, regularly.
In the world that is taking shape before us, one of the essential qualities you need to develop is this ability to stray from certainty; to look at things from all angles so you can quickly pick the option that best meets the needs of the moment. Be a frictionless mind. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an opinion! Quite the contrary. But you should be prepared to abandon your beliefs quickly and easily so you can adopt other views and question the validity of your underlying thought. You need to face up honestly to your own prejudices and blind spots; to what extent are you prepared to quickly change your point of view?
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that this characteristic will be one of the key leadership skills of tomorrow.
Adam Bryant, (Strategy +Business, October 2020).
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