Friday Highlight  

Adopting a resilient mindset to get through the pandemic

Adopting a resilient mindset to get through the pandemic
Credit: Pexels/Pixabay

In psychology, we know that how a person interprets a situation is key to their psychological response to it, and habits of helpful thinking lead to better mental health.

Whether we are aware of it or not, getting through the pandemic is, for most, more about mindset than skills.

Some call this a resilient mindset, others like the Møller Institute of Churchill College in the University of Cambridge call it an 'Explorer Mindset'. 

Based on qualitative research with leaders of firms, The institute found that explorers - those who transform organisations through their leadership - share a natural curiosity, resilience, determination, focus, preparedness, entrepreneurial risk appetite and sense of higher purpose. 

These skills can, thankfully, be practised and taught. 

Watch out for the always-on culture

The pandemic has created an 'always-on' culture, probably in large part due to most people working from home, which results in working long hours and being on their phone from when they wake up until they go to bed.

I know first hand that this led to an expectation of receiving a response during the hours of 7-11 pm, and even an expectation that I can answer emails in the middle of a zoom call.

This might be efficient for business, but it also breeds a highly reactive culture where you implicitly reward a quick response over a well-thought-through response.

When do people have time to stop responding and step back to be creative, proactive or strategic?

As a leader, you need to make sure you give people that time, insist that they diarise and protect it and explicitly permit them to take that time regularly. Doing so will increase yours and your team's focus and resilience.

Take stock to look forward

Many of your stakeholders have already changed, and their business models have shifted.

So, take stock of what has changed, and see where the demand is likely to come from.

Encouraging your team to speak to peers in your industry, read trade publications and ask your clients what they need now that they didn't need before.

Giving your team time to make these types of interrogations will encourage forward creative thinking about new ways to win new business.

Where is the momentum going to be, and how does it match up with your plans? Take time to prepare - it will pay dividends in the future.

Be curious

Ambiguity can be paralysing if not depersonalised and reframed as a thinking point. Start by breaking down the ambiguity by categorising and defining what is unknown.

Be self-aware and honest about what your biggest business fear is. Rather than dismiss the fear, explore it - what is it, what would it mean if it came true?

Does it need to be mitigated? If so, how? Next, determine the level of certainty you need until you can mobilise, creating something of a timeline. Consider whether you are minimising risk to your detriment or aren't exploring growth opportunities.