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Improving Leadership Capacity and Capabilities, Part II: Putting Strategy into Action

Improving Leadership Capacity and Capabilities, Part II: Putting Strategy into Action

If there is one thing we have learned in recent years, it is that change is a given in almost every aspect of our lives. It is a constant that is unavoidable, but with it comes opportunities to create a future that meets our shifting needs.

In Part I of our “Improving Leadership Capacity and Capabilities” series, we shared a three-pronged approach to mastering your unique, ever-changing circumstances and becoming an influential leader. Below, we outline how to begin adopting these approaches in your life and workplace, and how the implementation will support you in navigating the contours of change with confidence and courage.

Get Curious

With a beginner’s mind, explore your inner landscape — the hills and valleys of your emotional world.  What are your passions and your values?  What really lights you up and drives you to take action? What triggers you and sets the stage for disruptive thoughts and behaviors? Extend this curiosity to others as well; become an anthropologist fascinated by the inner experiences of others. Having a greater breadth of understanding and tolerance for the complexity of humanity changes how we relate to one another – how we navigate challenging conversations, problem solve, resolve conflict and navigate communal adversity.  

Embrace Accountability

Failure is often seen as something to be avoided at all costs, yet an impossible expectation. Recent wisdom from the likes of business gurus encourages failure as a way of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and taking risks. Simon Sinek encourages conceptualizing failure as “falling” in order to normalize the experience and highlight getting back up and trying again. Trying something new, falling, getting back up and trying again is a cornerstone of innovation. However, this is only possible when we can embrace accountability with courage and vulnerability.  Reframing failure and adopting the mindset that your shortcomings are simply opportunities for change or growth. It sets the foundation for agile responses and shifting our mental paradigms.

Flexibility

A useful and strategic practice is to hold things lightly. While maintaining direction, focus, and purpose, hold lightly to a desired outcome. Simultaneously embrace letting go and leaning in – show up with drive and dedication, control what you can and be prepared to realign or release when necessary.  

Additionally, being aware of the inherent obstructive qualities of our biases and preconceived notions allows them to be set aside, thus making space for ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and iteration.  

Unlearn and Relearn

So much of who we are and how we show up in our lives is predicated on past experiences. Leveraging strategies that worked before, to navigate a current challenge, is a reasonable approach. However, those tactics may be outdated or inadequate for the disruptions we are facing today. At the onset of the pandemic, government, businesses, and each one of us had to rapidly pivot how we functioned in order to survive circumstances never before encountered. We know firsthand the power of rapidly shifting our mindset for the purpose of survival. Intentionally leaning into the pivot, unlearning and relearning, is an effective leadership strategy. Discovering new ways of working and being is required now more than ever.

Look for opportunities to expand your knowledge base. “You don’t know what you don’t know” reminds us of the presence of potential blind spots and growth edges. Embrace this awareness as an opportunity to expand your capabilities.

Ask “What else is possible?”

Humans brains are designed to fill in the space between what we actually know and what remains a mystery. It is the essence of our survival to be predictive, assessing the potential threat in our environment and rapidly developing a plan for survival. When our survival is actually threatened, this instinctual response is necessary. The propensity to make sense out of our experiences, our interpretation of events or circumstances, becomes maladaptive when we anchor into the “story” as the factual truth. When we divorce ourselves from the “story” and open to the question, “what else is possible?” an endless stream of options unfold.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You may also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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Consistency: The Foundation of Good Leadership

Consistency: The Foundation of Good Leadership

Recently, I have been really thinking about consistency — or lack thereof — in my life. 

It all started after I received results from a medical test this year. The results were a resounding condemnation of the sedentary lifestyle I have fallen into; the confluence of circumstances that lead to my working hours at my computer in my home office. It occurred to me that I need to reevaluate how I work and where I put ME in the process of accomplishing my work responsibilities. 

The idea of “work-life balance” has been tossed around for years, but it became especially relevant when the pandemic moved most of us out of the office and into our houses. Our work life and personal life became roommates. 

Like many of you, I have made efforts in the last two years to reestablish homeostasis: exercise programs, motivating morning routines, purposeful social time with friends and the like. I’ve tried these things not just once, but several times, and yet nothing seems to stick. As I began to reflect on the pattern of my failed efforts, I saw a common thread: lack of consistency. 

We have all heard things like “consistency is the foundation of good leadership,” “consistency drives performance,” or “consistency builds trust.” In fact, a quick Google search tells us consistency increases profitability, improves your reputation, gains cooperation, and offers stability. Some may argue that consistency is the basis of success for every other leadership behavior. If one is not consistent, the behavior falls short and the impact is blunted. The opposite is also true: consistent application of any leadership behavior is going to amplify its benefits. 

If consistency is the leadership behavior of choice, how do we determine which actions and/or behaviors to focus our consistent attention on? How do we decide what our team or our company needs to best drive success?

Set a Consistent Example 

When exploring consistency as a driver of good leadership, it is important to understand that our ability to lead others begins with our ability to lead ourselves. Developing good self-leadership skills — such as self-awareness, self-management, time management, and clean, clear communication — is imperative. 

How we show up in one area of our lives is endemic of how we show up in other areas. Another way of thinking about this has been inspired by sociologist and author Martha Beck when she said, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Therefore, it is reasonable when we begin developing consistent, personal habits and behaviors that we become more effective in our self-leadership. This cascades down to how we show up leading our teams and ultimately leading our organizations. 

Consistent Focused Behavior

What behaviors will best support your growth and development? Becoming clear about your motivation — your WHY — informs the behaviors necessary to focus on in order to reach your goals. The behaviors you pick for yourself must be relevant to what you want to grow and develop, in alignment with your core values, and resonant with your current situation. In other words, if your goal is to increase your cardio fitness, you may choose to join a trail running club since you thrive in the wilderness and have more success achieving your goals when you are accountable to others. 

An effective strategy is to choose one focused behavior from each of the following categories: 

Some leaders choose to begin with self-regulatory behaviors, such as: 

  • Establishing morning, afternoon, or evening routines
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutrient consumption
  • Family time 

Others may lean into a personal/professional development

  • Regularly scheduled times for reading or podcasts
  • Writing down thoughts and ideas
  • Attending conferences
  • Participating in mentoring or coaching programs. 

Leaders may also look towards wellness activities, including: 

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Meditation

Be mindful that progress is made when we attend to quality over quantity. It can be tempting to load your plate with multiple behavior goals, however, attempting to optimize or commit to too many behaviors will dilute your efforts and impact consistency, and consistency is the measure of success. You may consider picking a focus area from each of the categories above. For example, you may begin a morning routine that incorporates meditational writing and listening to a business-focused podcast while completing a cardio fitness workout. Or perhaps you begin a fitness program, take a leadership development course and begin each morning with a 15-minute meditation. The options to tailor your leadership development plan are limited only by your imagination.

Once you have successfully established consistent behavior and are seeing the impact of leading yourself, it is time to leverage the momentum and drive behavioral consistency with your team. The leadership strategy you will employ requires a thoughtful approach, considering your unique personal values, the organization’s values, and the needs of your team. Leadership is not a “one size fits all” proposition; be creative and have fun.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You may also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

When ending a coaching engagement with a leader, I consciously bring our attention to “finishing strong.”

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey. That is because it is important to reflect on who you were and you showed up before the coaching experience, as well as who you are now that the coaching window is closing. The transformation leaders experience is truly remarkable. 

A few questions I recommend leaders ask themselves include:

  • What is the impact of these changes on your leadership capacity, the individuals you lead, your productivity, and your organization? 
  • Are you more or less engaged in the work you do, the people you work with, or the job you perform? 
  • What else in your life has changed as a byproduct of the leadership work you have done?
  • What is the impact on your physical and emotional health, your personal relationships, or your work-life balance?
  • What skills or traits did you leverage to drive the change? 
  • Did you learn something new or reinvigorate something previously mastered? 
  • Did you recognize a superpower that was previously underutilized? 
  • Have you come to see yourself differently through the process of introspection? 
  • How do you imagine these new tools will inform your leadership plan moving forward? 
  • What is your leadership plan to keep the momentum going? 
  • What tools will you continue to evolve, what books might you want to read, what classes might you want to take? 
  • What do you see as the next growth edge to tackle?

Understanding the answers to these questions emphasizes the growth and resulting impact of our work together. Perhaps most importantly, by witnessing and highlighting the effort, fortitude, new skills, and personal attributes, we reenforce and drive ongoing iteration. 

Finishing Strong as a Business

As we come to the end of the year, this same strategy can be applied to your business. Many organizations are looking at “closing the books” on 2022 and beginning to turn their focus to goals, strategies, and action steps for 2023. We at Conscient Strategies argue the most important part of a success plan for 2023 is a thorough 2022 review and a conscious “finishing strong” focus. 

Dan Sullivan, in his book The Gap and The Gain: The High Achievers’ Guide to Happiness, Confidence and Success, explores the concept of measuring “the GAP” versus “the GAIN.” The GAP is the distance from where we are to where our ideal lies; the target just beyond our reach. On the other hand, “the GAIN” measures our current self against our previous self. When we take the time to measure what we have accomplished — the GAIN — we are often stunned by the results. The change of focus is stimulating and sparks motivation which can be leveraged for more success. 

Beginning the process of review for your business requires a broad understanding of what areas of growth matter to you, your team, or your organization. How will you measure success? This is a critical question that only you can answer.

Your success criteria evolves from who you are, what you value and, as a result, what goals you have put in place. The criteria you use to define success becomes an internal reference system that informs focus and action. 

Think about these criteria as buckets that you have been filling throughout the year. These buckets will coordinate with the goals you had set for yourself and your organization, or perhaps areas of priority you identified and pivoted towards as the year progressed. 

The diagram below identifies four aspects for review: 

  • Financial
  • Employee Retention/Satisfaction
  • Personal Growth
  • Customer Satisfaction 

As your awareness expands to consider the GAIN and how full your bucket is now as opposed to at the beginning of 2022, a more balanced picture of success unfolds. 

Understanding Your Reflections

Now that you have a clear picture of what you have achieved this year, what surprises you? What stands out as noteworthy? Is there a link between focus and outcome? Were there areas where you felt like you were pushing a train uphill or places where a little focus resulted in unexpected results? What did you learn and how did you grow? What new tools did you add to your arsenal and what did you let go of? How did you adapt?

By examining your answers to these questions, you have exhaustively considered all the nooks and crannies and pulled forth your valuable nuggets from 2022. You have thoroughly unpacked 2022, ending strong, and are ready to explore what’s next for 2023 with momentum and focus. Let your success, the surprises, and the lessons be the driving force propelling you towards the next iteration of yourself and your organization.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You may also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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Leadership Lessons from Kindergarten

Leadership Lessons from Kindergarten

I was talking to a client recently who was overcome with the shenanigans occurring in her organization. She bemused, “I wish they would just remember what they learned in Kindergarten.” The conversation continued as we quickly Googled, “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghums, and I began to ponder what Kindergarten could teach us about leadership. 

One doesn’t need to have direct reports to be a leader. In fact, leadership begins with one’s ability to lead themselves through the challenges of life, the impact of which cascades across everything they touch. I would argue everyone has the opportunity to be a leader.

We hear daily how the state of humanity is at a critical juncture. Divisiveness and opposition are common; families and friendships are at risk of the polarizing influence of “cancel culture;” employees are leaving organizations en masse; supply chain challenges plague every industry; anger and hatefulness are spewing from every corner. It is all impacting the way we work. 

Could it be that the answer to these troubles is found in Kindergarten? Let’s take a look at the core lessons learned in a Kindergarten classroom.

1. Share everything.

What benefit is a great idea if you keep it to yourself? Holding onto creative ideas stifles innovation. Thought partnering, brainstorming, and mind dumps are a key to generating groundbreaking strategies. Remember, Teamwork makes the Dream work

2. Play fair.

A quick dictionary search reveals the definition of “fair” to be just, equitable, honest, upright, trustworthy, impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, nondiscriminatory, and nonpartisan. It seems reasonable, then, that “playing fair” is to behave with integrity; to observe the principles of justice; to resist putting people in “Us and Them” buckets; to avoid the temptation of “right and wrong” and “good or evil.” Sit next to one another and listen, really listen to other perspectives. We sometimes refer to this as “listening to understand” as opposed to “listening to respond.”

3. Don’t hit people.

This seems simple enough — after all, it is against the law to physically assault someone. However, “hitting” can also be interpreted as back channel critical conversations about a colleague, a social media post condemning another or denouncing a point of view, elevating a hateful social argument, and/or sending texts or emails eviscerating another’s character or ability. Emotional, verbal, or psychological “hitting” can be profoundly traumatizing. Sticks and stones may in fact break bones, but words can break souls.

4. Clean up your own mess.

Mistakes happen. Sometimes we try something a bit out of the box and it fails. When courageously leading, failure is expected. In fact, some would say, “if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” It’s a concept first coined by fitness guru Jillian Michaels that was rapidly assimilated into business and leadership models. So you failed — now what? It is time to be responsible for the decisions you made, accountable for the consequences, to look for the lessons learned, and to quickly adapt and iterate.

5. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Respecting the property of others is just the beginning. Looking at it a bit more broadly, another person’s story is not yours, either. In our work lives our eyes and ears may receive information in the form of rumors, assumptions, logical theories, etc. If the story is not about you, it is not yours to share.

6. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

At some point it is likely that our words and/or actions, whether intentional or not, will cause another to react negatively. Being able and willing to be accountable for your actions is paramount for leaders. Simply saying, “I apologize if my actions or inactions have caused you discomfort,” acknowledges another’s emotions showing empathy and compassion.

7. Wash your hands before you eat and flush.

At first glance, washing your hands and flushing is an obvious respectful human behavior. However, when we look at “clean” as a metaphor for intention, it gets a bit trickier. Our interactions with others, our communications and our behaviors are all motivated by our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about a situation. Those same thoughts, beliefs and feelings give rise to our intentions. Intentions are the predecessor of integrity, direct communication, problem resolution, and innovation. As a follow-worthy leader, having clean and clear intentions is paramount. To get clarity about your intentions, begin by asking yourself these questions:

•   What is the outcome I would like to see?
•   Does this outcome serve the greater good of all involved?
•   Are my thoughts in alignment with this outcome?
•   Am I approaching this situation from a place of integrity?
•   Are my words and actions clean and clear?

8. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Who doesn’t love warm cookies and a glass of cold milk? But what can they teach us about leadership? Nurturing and taking care of yourself is essential, and by being a good role model, you teach others to do the same. When your tank is full, that means you’re well fed, well rested, and you have the ingredients necessary to fully apply yourself to the task of leading. Get outside and walk at lunch; schedule a massage or coffee with a friend; listen to a favorite playlist; take a warm bath, meditate, or exercise. While those are not as tasty as cookies, they are my personal favorites. And of course, drink lots of water.

9. Live a balanced life ~ learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work a bit every day.

Each of us are unique and complex beings with loves, passions, desires, and dreams. We often refer to this as a “work-life balance.” However, I like to think of it as purely life balance. A holistic approach to life sustains us and enables us to be our best whole selves, regardless of where we are and what we are doing.

10. Take a nap every afternoon.

What do naps and NASA have in common? A study involving napping NASA pilots concluded that just 26 minutes of shuteye improved alertness up to 54% and job-performance by 34%. Additionally, power naps are said to improve memory and learning, relieve stress, boost the immune system, and elevate your mood. The benefits of a short nap are indisputable and sure to support your capability and capacity as a leader.

11. When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

We humans were meant to co-create by living and navigating the world together. These past few years have challenged how we interact and connect. Yet we have all heard stories of resilience, perseverance, and the exceptional efforts to stay connected and care for one another. A follow worthy leader invests in relationships by discovering what is important to others, listening to the joys and the sufferings, expressing concern for their wellbeing, and providing support.

12. Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Vigilantly look for something that stands out as exceptional or that surprises you. Bring all your friends and colleagues around and share the magic with them. With each shared experience the energy is magnified and momentum is generated. Leverage that momentum to do great things.

13. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup — they all die. So do we.

Every day is a gift. In fact, every moment is a gift and blessings are abundant. We only need to assume that childlike curiosity and look for the ever-present wonder that life offers. Even in the most challenging times, flowers bloom, butterflies emerge, strangers offer a smile, rain falls, or the sun shines. How can you bring a random act of kindness into your daily routine to enrich someone else’s? Consider sharing a simple gift, spreading a little sunshine. The effort will not only impact the receiver but is sure to alter your day as well.

It has been a while since I was in Kindergarten, and I have to tell you this review has been insightful. Nearly everything I teach about leadership originates in one of these short lessons, and while they sound simple, the truth is they require devotion, practice, patience, and repetition. 

With the curiosity and wonder of a child, I challenge you to imagine what might be possible. How could you leverage these age-old lessons into your leadership strategy? How might you show up differently in all the important realms of your life? How might your significant relationships change? What challenge or passion would you initiate? What impact might you make?

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You may also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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Improving Leadership Capacity and Capabilities, Part I: A Three-Pronged Approach

Improving Leadership Capacity and Capabilities, Part I: A Three-Pronged Approach

Many of us in the workforce have come to realize that  “normal” no longer exists – if it ever existed in the first place.  

Recent work transitions have created a sense of disequilibrium, leaving so many of us  scrambling to find our balance. For others, the transitions have been an opportunity to recalibrate and reconnect with our values and passions. Regardless of where you stand on this adjustment scale, a few things are certain; change is pervasive, and uncertainty defines many aspects of our lives. Like so many other moments in time, leaders have to rethink how they stay relevant and create value in an uncertain environment. 

There are benefits of operating in an environment of significant disruption.  One such benefit is the opportunity to create a future state that more adequately meets your needs and the needs of your organization.  Your workplace is not a set destination, but rather a continuum of rapidly changing dynamics that require mental flexibility, emotional state awareness and regulation and versatility.  

As we grow, we trade our childlike sense of wonder, curiosity, and spontaneity for fixed preferences.  We stop pushing the edges of our own comfort and our growth slows, eventually plateauing as we become specialists in our personal and professional lives.  But the world does not stay still.

As the leader of your own life and your organization, being able to navigate any given marketplace requires a unique set of tools to strengthen your capabilities as well as your capacity. The tools are available to anyone who is willing to challenge their mind and push past their current perspectives. Your mind, and the lens you use to view your world, are your greatest resources.  

Here is a three-pronged approach to positioning yourself to master your unique, ever-changing circumstances and become an influential leader.  

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), a concept first coined by Peter Salavoy and John Mayer in the article “Emotional Intelligence” in 1990 and later expounded upon by Dan Goleman in his 1995 book titled Emotional Intelligence, is defined as our ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.  It is our ability to perceive and understand our own emotions and those of others; to express our emotions effectively and to manage our emotions.  The science of emotions has shown that our emotions guide our thinking and our behavior and that these abilities are not part of our personality.  The theory of emotional intelligence postulates that these traits are more like skills that can be improved over time when given attention and training.  

When we have a greater awareness of our emotional responses, we are able to see the impact those emotions have on our thoughts and how those thoughts are impacting our behavior.  Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Psychologist, Holocaust survivor, and founder of logotherapy, wrote “Between Stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose a response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” He recognized the power of a response born from self-management, taking space to recognize, understand and manage one’s emotional response.  The growth and freedom he speaks of, is the result of expanding emotional intelligence.  

Our ability to understand and navigate our own emotions and the emotions of others, and to respond appropriately to challenges, enables us to develop healthy relationships. Leveraging those relationships in challenging times increases success in overcoming adversity.  Additionally, increasing our EQ affords a personal awareness that opens the door to self-reflection and self-exploration — a growth mindset.

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is a concept identified by Dr. Carol Dweck nearly 30 years ago.  In contrast to a Fixed Mindset, people with a Growth Mindset believe achievements are about effort, not simply inherent talent; they learn from mistakes and find value in criticism; they believe intelligence and ability can be enhanced through effort, learning, and resolve.  People with a Growth Mindset lean into challenging tasks that stretch their current level of performance.

A Growth Mindset supports increased resiliency when faced with setbacks.  Seeing adversity as a challenge to overcome or a lesson to be learned drives persistence and determination, increasing the likelihood of achieving one’s goals. 

In the face of uncertainty or seemingly insurmountable changes, someone with a Growth Mindset is more likely to see opportunities to learn, grow, or pivot rather than feel overwhelmed or threatened by potential failure.  The Growth Mindset creates fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and adaptation.

When you face adversity with a Growth Mindset, you believe that your capacity and capability are unlimited with the right type of effort and attention.  This positive attitude fosters optimism and confidence when future challenges are encountered. How a person faces challenges, how they process failure and how they adapt and evolve is regulated by their mindset, thus increasing resiliency, creativity, and innovation.

Adaptability Quotient

Adaptability Quotient (AQ) is a more recent hypothesis founded on the belief that a person’s level of adaptability can be enhanced and measured.  The importance of our capacity to adapt is not revolutionary and in fact takes root in Darwin’s theory of evolution.  However, as our world has become increasingly complex, uncertain, and volatile, our ability to deftly navigate these conditions has become indispensable.  Notably, our ability to learn, grow, and re-calibrate, not only after a setback, but as a predictive strategy, will drive our success.  

An individual with a high AQ will seek new learning experiences, increasing knowledge and/or skills necessary to navigate challenges more effectively.  They will look at multiple perspectives, update mental models and beliefs, and test assumptions.  By managing their stress levels, time, energy, and attention, they will have increased resiliency, thus fostering an awareness that problems and conflicts are opportunities waiting to be explored.  

Most importantly however, is that adaptability drives the question, “what else is possible?” This one simple question embodies all three pillars – Emotional Intelligence, Growth Mindset and Adaptability. Curiosity and inquisitiveness – the childlike sense of wonder, coupled with a passion for adventure, positions us to be agile in creating our future state.  

Putting it all together

How effectively a person can lead themselves and others through these tumultuous and fortuitous times will depend on their EQ, Growth Mindset, and AQ.  As you can see in the Venn Diagram on Page 1, all three of these pillars are intersecting, each influencing the other and all strengthening the overall impact on leadership.  A well-developed EQ sets the foundation for embracing our growth edges and/or blind spots (Growth Mindset).  A Growth Mindset drives inquisition, a propensity to take on challenges with confidence and a belief that potential is ubiquitous (AQ).  Higher levels of AQ support a willingness to override old data with new information, effectively unlearning in order to approach challenges with a beginner’s mind.  To have a beginner’s mind requires believing in one’s innate capacity (Growth Mindset) and self-awareness (EQ). 

Understanding the interconnectedness of these three distinct mental fitness strategies, and striving to improve mental flexibility, emotional state awareness, regulation, and versatility, all while grounded in a Growth Mindset, will increase your success in leading yourself and your organization during any time of change, uncertainty and work-life challenges.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You may also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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