A few years ago, I trained students of organizational development, leadership, entrepreneurship, respectively.
I realized during the period that, the willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changed surroundings or environments, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders and business owners alike. Luckily, I have just finished reading about ‘everyday survival: Why Smart People do Stupid Things’ by L Gonzales. In the book he talked about the dumb mistakes we make ‘when we work from mental scripts that does not match the requirements of real world situations.’ I hope you read my piece early on titled we don’t need to debate about the realities of the challenges of the invisible deadly foe – Coronavirus Disease – COVID-19.
Moving forward, there is a well-known proverb that says that the wise people adapt themselves to circumstances, and that ‘water molds itself to the pitcher.’ So, adaptability is in this era. More simply adaptability, is a skill for all manner of persons and is also an important competency in emotional intelligence, nonetheless.
In 2008, a study by the ‘Economist Intelligence Unit, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the years ahead include: the ability to motivate citizens; the ability to work well across cultures; and the ability to facilitate change.’ The least important were technical expertise and bringing the numbers. This is precisely what H.E. President Akuffo Addo is completely practicalizing right now in Ghana as we try hard to fight COVID-19.
As a leader, he is making a concerted effort to understand the people of different cultures and encourage cultural adaptability across the country. Adaptability has presently become a real leadership imperative. No doubt about that.
Another example of a leader who epitomizes this prized quality is ‘Robert McDonald COO of the Procter & Gamble Company who spent much of the past two decades in various overseas postings.’ In a way as the COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in doing, it has created behavioral scripts of heavily loaded mental models that automate every action that we take these days : hand washing, hand sanitizing and wearing nose or face masks regularly. The old mannerisms we foster growing up, before the pandemic broke out, has had to be changed.
We have to give the behavioral script written on our minds COVID-19 precautionary protocols. We must not do away with social distancing. You heard me. In fact, behavioral scripts simplify and make us more efficient. These have all been stultified the Coronavirus pandemic. Don’t let the ‘models or script’ push you to disregard the realities of contemporary health challenges. Stay alert and safe.