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2021 and beyond. Adapting to continuous change.

by Svetlana Vityugova


Be ready for the next “black swan” when it comes.

Resilience has become a cliché, but it wont loose its significance in 2021. Pandemic has proven that humans are very adaptable. We can adjust to new change and live with it. The more changes we experience, the more adaptable we become, and resilience can be developed. At individual level, we need to constantly reflect on this and find strategies to strengthen our resilience. Organizations are more complex systems where change takes time. The speed of change inside the organization is slower than in the outside environment, and the gap is increasing every year. Assessing change readiness and building continuous change management capability has to be a priority to address this gap and build organizational resilience.


Developing skills of the future. What are they?


New technologies significantly change the job market landscape. There were a lot discussions about future of work trends in 2020, and what sounded as a consulting buzz, became an unfortunate reality for many skilled workers who were made redundant and not only due to pandemic, but because their job was automated. Either we want this or not, there are jobs which will eventually disappear in the organizations (operations and administration clerks, accountants, payroll specialists etc…any process which can be replaced with algorithm will be eliminated as job), but there are good news - new jobs will be created to support the technological infrastructure. As it is showing in the Coursera and World economic Forum research, transition into the jobs of the future can happen relatively quick as learning new skills only require 2-3 months. But, it takes personal determination, growth mindset with the focus on continues learning and personal development This is a real shift in the Skills of the future: from technical to self- management. Ability to adopt to change, communicate and listen effectively, strive for personal advancement and self- regulation will impact people’ future at the workplace. And it not only about frontline workers. The leadership skills and capabilities will be affected by this transformation. Pandemic has revealed the qualities of a leader which are more effective and needed. The leadership focus will shift from strategy and execution to empathy, support, collaboration, culture building, more effective employee engagement. Leaders need to develop ability to engage people and navigate through complex changes with a shared vision and purpose. Leadership is about being resilient and humanistic in the decision making.

Another big shift in leadership is driven by the remote work. Leading teams in a collaborative remote environment will require different approach to communication, engagement, performance management and overall leadership capabilities. We will see a new profile of transformational leaders emerging in 2021 and beyond.


Organizations where people are happy to work


We spend one third of our life at work and all of us seek for job satisfaction. After this pandemic, people will be more and more focused on finding a healthy culture and organization where people are open to collaborate, trust and share their creative idea. Culture can enhance the organization capacity to absorb changes. Number one challenge for leaders in 2021 will be to ensure that cultural conditions are in place to support the change during the pandemic and help faster recovery after that. This is more difficult than to identify the tangible and practical things that are needed. This means equipping people with the motivations and attitudes to engage with the change and make it work.

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