The Highlands Company Blog

The Collision of Workplace Agility and Career Resilience

We are all familiar with the concept of workplace agility, the ability of a business to offer its employees multiple, flexible platforms to accomplish their work according to their own schedule and location. Middle of the night? No problem! Traveling across the world? Still possible to efficiently get the work done. Two years ago, workplace agility was discussed as a future-oriented strategy that businesses and organizations could adopt to remain competitive. It was a choice and an option, and was primarily the responsibility of organizations.

At an individual level, there have been countless articles about career resilience, a term generally used to describe how a person can make adjustments and meet the demands of changes in the world of work. Career resilience has traditionally been the responsibility of individuals.

Today, both work place agility and career resilience are requirements foisted upon the world of work by a global pandemic. After acknowledging the significant losses they’ve suffered, and grieving for unplanned change, organizations and individuals are finding ways to create a new future. Think of the collision of workplace agility and career resilience as producing an outcome with the potential of a new beginning.

If ever there was a time to engage workers at all levels and benefit from untapped potential, this is it. Given that we are smack in the middle of change, with no real way to evaluate outcomes that have not occurred, it’s too early for most to feel celebratory; however, there may be room to feel hope.

Self-Awareness is Key

Whether you are a leader navigating the direction of an organization, a manager responsible for a part of an organization, a supervisor overseeing a department, a team lead coordinating a project, or an employee with specific responsibilities, you likely:

  • have to accomplish your work responsibilities differently;
  • must make adjustments at a moment’s notice;
  • must be open to new responsibilities;
  • and need the self-awareness to really know what you are capable of as well as your limitations.

Leaders and managers in the current “forced” workplace resilience environment must shift their focus from how the work gets done to identifying who can get the work accomplished. They would be wise to tap into the potential of their workers, understanding more than ever the value of employees who can articulate their strengths, and who also understand their limitations.

Individuals striving for resilience want clarification about their potential and a language to describe their capabilities and limitations. They want to feel confident in their ability to use their talent while making a living. From either the workplace agility or the career resiliency perspective, self-awareness is key.

Reframing the “collision” as a “new relationship,” formal leadership can manage this new relationship by providing tools to increase employees’ self-awareness about their capabilities. It levels the playing field and creates a shared responsibility for employees to manage themselves to create an optimal workplace outcome. Leaders and managers do not have to bear sole responsibility of knowing how to do all the work if their employees know how they can contribute.

The Highlands Ability Battery

One important self-awareness/self-management tool is the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB). Unlike most assessments, the HAB gathers information about a person’s natural abilities through an objective series of timed tests. There is no self-reporting with the HAB; rather, individuals complete online activities known as worksamples that evaluate a broad spectrum of abilities, including visual speed and accuracy, verbal aptitude, analytical reasoning, and more. The 30+ page personalized report that is generated upon completion of the HAB offers insightful analysis into each person’s individual makeup.

For leaders and managers, the benefit of providing this kind of individualized, objective analysis is invaluable. Employees can share with you areas of untapped talent and potential pitfalls, as well as opportunities for skill building. For individuals, seeing objective evidence of his or her strengths can boost confidence and facilitate smarter career decisions with greater clarity.

We are not in control over the global impact of diseases or natural disasters, or other unforeseeable phenomena. However, we can recognize the opportunities that these times of turbulence create, and meet them with an attitude of learning and growth. Workplace agility and career resilience are gifts that will benefit organizations and individuals, regardless of what happens next.

To raise the self-awareness of the individuals in your organization, or to better understand yourself as a leader, an employee, or a freelancer, contact us today.

Dori Stiles, Ph.D. “My 25 years as a Highlands Consultant includes working with leaders, managers and employees of organizations including more than 20 years with the Terry Business School’s Institute for Leadership Development, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, and private businesses such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Manheim Automotive and Kaiser Permanente.”

Dr. Stiles is the Director of Training, Research and Development for the Highlands Company, as well as the owner of Turning Points Coaching and Consulting. To learn more about Dr. Stiles, click here.