Welcome to the third industrial revolution where uncertainty is the new normal. Exponential technological advancements combined with a generational mindset shift in how we view the world is driving environmental upheaval, that has many uncomfortably questioning how to remain relevant.
If it feels different it’s because it is different. We are entering the Human Age, according to Jeremy Rifkin, we are globally moving from ownership to access, markets to networks, consumerism to sustainability and market capital to social capital. Stuck in the daily 'busy' rhetoric a societal struggle ensues to create the space to understand the broader implications of this new age, and the new skills to thrive.
The Future Of Work has arrived and those who fail to adapt will quickly find themselves left behind.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin
How adaptable do you think we are as a society, as workers, and as individuals? How skilled are we at embracing change and leveraging it as a foundation to innovate and drive equality? Judging by the significant rise in mental health issues and the correlation with the rapid introduction of new technologies I believe we have a serious adaptability skill gap on our hands and the time to address it is now.
Whether you’re a business leader, educator or an individual, your secret weapon to build a foundation to thrive in the human age is to high grade your Adaptability Quotient (AQ).
What is AQ?
AQ is the measure of how skilled you are in making intentional change in an environment that is evolving at speed. According to the Harvard Business Review, it is the new competitive advantage. Every time I raise the opportunity AQ provides with business leaders their faces light up. Leaders are searching for the 'how' to skill a workforce in a future of unknowns, how do they fast track the talent that will drive a future-focused culture with innovation at its core?
A quick search of Google and you will discover social scientists and psychologists sharing their perspectives on why developing AQ is considered even more critical than EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) and IQ (Intelligence Quotient) in the current environment. Without AQ, EQ and IQ are like a two-legged stool, unstable, and likely to fall. In the near future, we will see AQ measures embedded and used as an indicator of future success in education and organisations.
Each and every one of us is born with differing levels of adaptability but AQ is not fixed, which means that we have the ability to high grade our AQ over time, with commitment and persistence. I’m not saying it’s easy, improving AQ is about shifting mindsets and behaviours, which are often the hardest changes to make, but it’s totally possible.
How Do I High-Grade My AQ
"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." - Alvin Toffler
Having lived, breathed and taught adaptability over the past 20 years, BKindred has taken the next step in AQ education. We have created a six-pillar AQ model, underpinned by an AQ measurement platform to teach individuals and organisations how to amplify and track their AQ. Sharing these pillars, and a simple hack with each is our way of helping you to kick-start high grading your AQ.
There’s never been a better time to unlock the inner child and allow curiosity back into your life. Create a curiosity list, write down all the things that you are curious about in the context of the future, but know little or nothing about. Go back and highlight the one curiosity that jumps off the page at you, and then get out there and learn as much as you can about it. Use YouTube, books, Meetups, General Assembly, reach out to random strangers doing great work in this area for a virtual coffee. Share what you’ve learnt and the curiosity list concept with your team and make it a feature at your team meetings.
I’m continuously surprised by the number of people I meet who no longer feel they are in control of their time and how they spend it. Self-accountability is about being honest with yourself and taking responsibility for your actions. Your time is yours and you have the power to choose how you spend it. If you feel that 'busy' has become your norm, consider removing it from your vocabulary and using 'positively occupied' instead. If once you start using this new term you feel like it’s not true, then hold yourself to account and ask yourself why am I doing what I am doing? What would happen if I stopped doing as much of this, or ceased doing it all together? Consider what you would love to do with your time if you weren't so 'busy' and look at what you can let go of in your day to create space for more 'positively occupied'. I have discovered that sitting in my inbox all day does not have me positively occupied, so I now only check it twice a day, the world hasn’t stopped, and I have more space for meaningful work.
According to Dr. Cal Newport in his book Deep Work we have created a generation that is neurally programmed to be nothing but in a constant state of distraction, impacting our ability to perform deep focused work, a critical skill for the future. Create the space once a day for undisturbed work. Turn off every notification on your computer, shut down your email and turn your phone off, if only for an hour a day, and watch what happens. Use this time to do the work that matters to you or to explore your curiosity list. This simple practice over the past months has seen my productivity skyrocket.
Teaching courage to thousands over the past years has made me realise how humans are capable of so much more than what they think. The practice of getting comfortable with discomfort is life-changing and often starts with acts of micro-bravery. Challenge yourself to do one small thing every day that scares you, like introducing yourself to a stranger, signing up for a new challenge with no experience, putting your opinions out into the public domain. Small acts of bravery over time build the courage and confidence to undertake bigger risks. Possibility is only realised at its fullest potential when we learn to use fear as a lever rather than a barrier.
5. Human Connection
Opportunity lies at the other end of human connection and so do many key skills required to thrive in the future like the ability to have difficult conversations, problem-solving, building trust. Consider how you can create the space for more human connection in your every day. Be open to meeting random strangers and striking up conversations. Don’t open conversations with 'what do you do?', instead, consider asking 'who are you as a human being?'.
Without reflection how can we become perpetual learners? Scheduling just 10 minutes at the end of each week to ask yourself, 'What did I learn this week and how can I apply it?', can be a powerful way to challenge yourself and those around you.
If you’d like to high grade the AQ of your team or your organisation we’d love to have a conversation. Reach out to us here.