Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity.
The US Army War College coined the acronym VUCA to paint a picture of the world that emerged from the end of the Cold War. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better description of today’s business environment than these four words.
What makes this VUCA world particularly challenging is the fact that our education and training didn’t prepare us for it. We’ve been taught to focus on our strengths and get really great at that one special thing we do. But extreme specialization doesn’t cut it any more.
So we’re left with some troubling questions: Are business leaders, managers and employees nimble enough to keep up? Do they have the agile thinking skills to execute on what has to get done today, see around corners to anticipate change, make meaning of a plethora of data and manage a wide variety of relationships?
Our research shows that CEOs do tend to have it—agile thinking has always been part of their job. Now it’s part of everyone’s job.
Many leaders, managers and employees struggle to take advantage of the
diversity of thought available to them, even in the best of circumstances. The
circumstances are now exponentially tougher.
Thinking agility® is all about the ability to consciously shift your thinking when
the situation requires it. The good news is, it can provide the antidote to an
increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
In this video, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi outlines four practical steps you can take immediately to shift mindsets and start developing agile thinking skills at all levels of the organization.
Many leaders, managers and employees struggle to take advantage of the diversity of thought available to them, even in the best of circumstances. The circumstances are now exponentially tougher. What are you doing to build their thinking agility?
How can you train your organisation to be agile thinkers?
Okay, you’re sold. So how do you begin strengthening the brainpower in your organisation? Here are a few starting points:
Make thinking top of mind: Our mental defaults work so well that we’re typically not consciously aware of them. That’s why the first step in increasing thinking agility involves meta-cognition – thinking about thinking. A validated assessment like the HBDI® can help employees identify their thinking defaults as well as the kinds of thinking they avoid, how their thinking contributes to and detracts from their success, and where to focus their development to increase their situational wholeness.
Provide opportunities to exercise different thinking muscles: Regular practice not only builds up mental muscles, it also establishes and reinforces a more whole-brained approach to work. There are a number of tools and models you can provide to make it easy for people to remember to stretch outside their comfort zones. The Whole Brain® Business Book, Second Edition also includes a seven-day program for exercising all four thinking quadrants.
Assemble “diverse by design” teams: In today’s environment, everyone
needs to be able to draw on all the thinking that’s available – and that includes the thinking of co-workers, direct reports, leaders and others. Especially when you’re dealing with complex problems or projects, a cognitively diverse team that is encouraged to listen to, respect and apply all of the resources it has will outperform all the others.
Whether as part of a fitness regimen or an employee training program, cross
training helps people push the boundaries on their previous limits and get a
fresh perspective on where they are and where they can go. Make sure your
programme includes the most important tool available: the brain.