Many companies have taken to soft skills training for their employees to become more in tune with their mindset.
--BY NEEVA MATHEMA PRADHAN
The cyclical nature of our existence demands adjustments in our lifestyles. Companies encourage management teams to make their strategic goals align with the institution's vision. However, certain unforeseen circumstances dictate a change of course. It could be attrition-related or certain external factors that are beyond our control.
Nothing has taught us more than the recent years of the global pandemic where adjustment and adaptability mattered most. In his journal article titled Adapting to the Culture of ‘New Normal’, J.C. Corpuz writes: “To live in the world is to adapt constantly. A year after the COVID-19 pandemic, we have suddenly been forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’: work-from-home setting, parents home-schooling their children in a new blended learning setting, lockdown and quarantine, and the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields in public.”
Adaptation is one of the key points of human existence as a whole. Human beings biologically have evolved over time and adapted to newer environments. “Humans have evolved a wide range of adaptation strategies in response to localised environmental changes, which have contributed strongly to both biological and cultural diversity,” writes T.F. Thornton in his paper titled Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change: An Adaptation Process Approach Applied to a Case Study from Southern India.
In fact, it ensured the sustainability of the company. When we review our personal growth, it is evident that adaptation to change has been a part of our life from childhood, moving from home to school life, to college and the adult work world. The mind adapts to the impending nature of change when the situation demands. To this extent, we can comfortably say that the human mind is moldable and flexible.
What is then the key changemaker? Of course, we require practical training at the external level. We need techniques to switch over to the new system seamlessly. However, when we analyse from close quarters, there are two steps towards adjustment. The very first step is the act of acceptance by our own mind to the changes taking place around us. Non-acceptance leads to denial, conflict and frustration. The second step is coming up with a workable solution from a calmer state of mind, which is the result of acceptance. The mind is not at battle within itself.
We have found ourselves in various situations where our mind either agreed or adapted from within. While the process at first was challenging, it became bearable and easier with time. Other times it could have been the reverse where there was more resistance at the level of the mind and our entire system was rigid. In this state, the mind is in conflict, with more negativity, complaints and chatter within. Resisting change is fighting a losing battle which is a major cause of stress.
Only when our mindset is in acceptance mode, we can come up with practical solutions on the best way to move forward. We can be more focused and productive. From this aspect, keeping our awareness on the nature of our own mind becomes essential. How many of us can boast of watching the vacillation of our own mind on a daily basis? It might even sound out of line or rather weird but this heightened awareness of the activity of our own mind can save us from unnecessary stress factors whether at work, in social setups, or at home. In recent years, many companies have taken to soft skills training for their employees to become more in tune with their mindset.
There are techniques taught on a regular basis under mindfulness, meditation and mind matters to simply raise the level of awareness to the nature of a human mind. In fact, many cultures and countries have adopted this practice even at school levels as part of a curriculum. The age old saying that your mind can be your best friend or your own worst enemy still holds true. Developing this awareness to bring our mind to a more positive stand can dictate the direction of our life’s journey. There are many such practices across the globe and to name a few in Nepal, Vipassana Meditation, also practised globally and The Art of Living, Well Being programs, in around 157 countries have benefited many business houses and individuals for more than 40 years and especially during the pandemic.
We can also talk about the company culture. We have heard the famous quotation by Peter Druker on business entities - culture eats strategy for breakfast. From this, we can derive that a company’s overall culture to move with the time, and to adapt and adjust while coming up with viable solutions for the next step can be advantageous. We have seen many companies in recent years that have managed to stay afloat, have had a culture of flexibility and a creative approach to the current ongoing situation.
According to Greg Lyok, technology has always evolved faster than humans. Now for the first time, behaviour is changing faster than technology. The crises also forced companies to change their culture overnight and to adapt to the new reality, according to Lyok.
Much has been written about company culture to embrace agility and steer in a different direction to be relevant and profitable. The key component to this is still the human mind and our level of awareness to accept or refuse the impending change. Therefore, it may be safe to conclude that the key changemaker, the root of adapting to change, begins with the awareness and flexibility of our own mind. Any institution engaged in this practical knowhow and training of their employees on such mindfulness techniques creates a culture of adaptability towards change.
(Pradhan leads development and leadership initiatives with the corporate, professional and entrepreneurship groups.)