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The New Strongest Trait for Leaders in the Fast-Changing Digital Environment

male professional jugging balls atop a moving plank

We now live in a world where the rate of change is getting faster and faster. It’s just that what our ancestors used to do a hundred years ago is already not being done again today. 

One of the great movers of change is technology. When the geared clock was first invented in the 11th century, it resulted in a change so massive that its effects are still felt today. But there is a fundamental difference between the change that the people of the past have experienced compared to the change that we experience today. The technological change that we experience nowadays happens at a fast pace that it can become hard to keep up with. 

Being adaptable is to survive

However, that is no reason for us to shy away from change. Knowing how to adapt can have a great impact on everyone. In fact, according to Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, it is not the smartest or the bravest of the species that survives but the one that is most adaptable to change. 

We might think that change is a harbinger of problems but think of it this way, change can play into our favor and when that happens, we often perceive it as luck. But to attribute all of success to luck is a faulty way of thinking. Technological change actually brought a great opportunity for a lot of individuals and organizations to innovate but it is also driving other companies who fail to adapt to extinction. 

Apart from technology, the COVID19 pandemic has been reshaping our lives. This is a kind of change of epic sci-fi proportions that leave us ruminating over the thought of time travel. Just so we can assure ourselves that humankind did pull through these trying times. But time travel is still a scientist’s pipe dream. 

For so long, we have operated on a system wherein the value of something relies on data and information. The current pandemic throws us off because we lack the information to understand it. We see the effects of this in the way that we weren’t able to perform some sort of mitigation.

Businesses and organizations find it hard to operate with the current situation. With reduced mobility, it is quite hard for other businesses to thrive and survive. But if we try to adapt to the new normal, we could get a grip of the difficult situation. 

A New Perspective

Technological change has the ability to redefine value. In a sense, technology is the one that dictates the value of something or someone. With new technology, it both empowers one thing while making the other obsolete. Change brought about by technology is inevitable.

Think of technological change in the surfing context. It is a towering 12 foot wave and the only thing you’ll be able to survive is to get on board and ride it. 

But as we might try to be adaptable, there is a huge problem when formal institutions do not try to adapt themselves. We were taught that the path to success is clear. Study and you get a degree; you get a degree and you get a job. But let’s face it, in this fast changing world, in no time, jobs will become automated with machines replacing manpower. To be adaptable in a future painted this way, we must break away from traditional thinking. We must fix our thinking that higher education is equivalent to getting a degree. 

The future where change is the new norm revitalizes the advantages of apprenticeship. In formal higher education, we are being taught a bunch of theories until we graduate. But the moment we find a job, there’s no job that will ask you whether you know that particular theory through and through. But with apprenticeships, instead of going to university and spending a lot of money for four or five years, you are already training for the job while doing the job.

That is why it is really important for us to have a different approach to the way we educate the children in universities or colleges because we are not teaching kids to be adaptable. And, we know that in this time, adaptability is very crucial because the most adaptable will survive. 

Adaptability starts with leaders

The previous paragraphs discussed the benefits of adaptability. But the only way that adaptability can become a reality is if there are systematic actions with it in mind. And the only people who can implement such a systematic shift are our leaders. Which is why it is imperative that we must hone our leaders to be champions of  adaptability. 

Everyone has the potential to be a leader. So, everyone should realize that we are in the age where the rules and goals are constantly changing, the long-term winners aren’t those who simply try to make it to the next level but the ones who continually adapt. The future is full of change. And change is the future. The only thing that we can do to prepare ourselves for the future is to be adaptable. 

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