Tag Archives: behavioural

The Adaptive Skills and Behaviours Required to Succeed in Future Work Environments

There is a lot being said about the future of work, and what this means for the type of skills, attitudes, and behaviours we will require to succeed.  With this future already upon us, it is important that we pick up our pace  of change, and look to build capability that helps us to adapt, thrive and succeed within an ever changing world.  Best selling author, Jacob Morgan, describes in his latest book ‘The Future of Work’ five trends shaping the future of work;

  1. New behaviours
  2. Technology
  3. Millennials
  4. Mobility
  5. Globalisation

These trends are bringing a dramatic shift in attitudes and ways of working; new behaviours, approaches, and workplace expectations.  Whilst many of us are sensing these rapid changes, we aren’t necessarily sure why these changes are happening, what they mean, or how they will impact us.

As Jacob Morgan says:

“The disruption of every industry is also causing a bit of unrest as people struggle to define where they fit or if they will be obsolete.  It’s forcing us to adapt and change to stay relevant while giving rise to new business models, new products, new companies, new behaviours, and new ways of simply existing in today’s world”.

So, the burning questions are:  what exactly do these changes look like for employees, managers, and organisations?  And, what skills, attitudes, and behaviours do we require to succeed?

What we do know is that modern employees are more self-directed, collaborative in their approach, and want to shape and define their own career paths instead of having them predefined for them.  They are continually seeking out learning opportunities that fit with their personal purpose and professional aspirations, and are looking for development opportunities that benefit them holistically as a ‘whole person’.  They seek the skills, confidence and healthy mind-set to challenge the status quo, to think on their feet, and to continually adapt within highly fluid and ever changing organisational environments.  They are looking to learn and develop emotional and social intelligence;  to work within increasingly networked communities;  to lead, collaborate, innovate and share.

Consistent with the above is five crucial behaviours, identified by Morgan, as being required by employees in the modern workplace;

  1. Self-Direction and Autonomy – to continually learn, and stay on top of important tasks within manager-less organisations
  2. Filter and Focus – to be able to manage the cognitive load associated with increasing amounts of pervasive information
  3. Embracing Change – to continually adapt to new working practices whilst demonstrating resilience and healthy mind-sets
  4. Comprehensive Communication Skills – to support collaborative work practices, and to communicate ideas and provide feedback succinctly
  5. Learning to Learn – to be willing to adopt a pro-learning mind-set; to step outside comfort zones, reflect, and make meaning of experiences.

Organisations also need to adapt to the future of work to support these trends and demands, and ensure they are attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.  A good place to start is by fostering and embracing the principles of organisational learning.  Peter Senge suggested in his book ‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art of the Learning Organisation’ that in order for an organisation to remain competitive within the complex and volatile business environments that we find ourselves operating they must build their capacity for continually transforming.  This involves developing cultures that;

  • Encourage and support employees in their pursuit of personal mastery (the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, and seeing reality objectively)
  • Encourage employees to challenge ingrained assumptions and mental models
  • Foster genuine commitment and enrolment through shared visions.

Here at OPRA we are developing a carefully selected set of best-of-breed, soft skill learning and development programmes to help individuals and organisations embrace these current and future trends. Our programmes are designed to equip professionals with the emotional intelligence, healthy thinking, learning agility, collaborative team behaviours, and motivation required to demonstrate exceptional performance within the modern workplace environment.  We have grounded our programmes on the principles of positive psychology, and an understanding that REAL learning and engagement only occurs when self-awareness, participation, and a tangible sense of progress are present. Therefore, and in light of this, all our programmes are designed to;

  • Develop self-insight and raise awareness of individual and collective strengths
  • Utilise proven research based content, delivered by expert and accredited practitioners
  • Provide access to on-going professional coaching opportunities to further deepen learning
  • Incorporate social learning methodologies to encourage and enable collaboration and sharing
  • Provide applied on-the-job challenges and reflection to embed and sustain behavioural changes.

Watch this space for further announcements about OPRA Develop over the coming months. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss how OPRA can support your learning and development with proven, researched based soft-skill development programmes, then please contact your local OPRA office:

Wellington: 04 499 2884 or Wellington@opragroup.com

Auckland: 09 358 3233 or Auckland@opragroup.com

Christchurch: 03 379 7377 or Christchurch@opragroup.com

Australia: +61 2 4044 0450 or support@beilbyopragroup.co.au

Singapore: +65 3152 5720 or Singapore@opragroup.com


Healthy Thinking

According to Wikipedia, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviours and cognitive processes. CBT achieves these outcomes through a number of goal-oriented, explicit systematic procedures. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most widely used clinical interventions. It is thought to be effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions related to mood, anxiety, and personality. Given the success and widespread application of CBT it is surprising that it is rarely referred to as the basis or a component of work-place training or intervention. This is even more so surprising given that so many aspects of various training courses have elements of CBT and in particular the key premise that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and behaviour.

Many practitioners steer clear of using psychological terms to describe their interventions. This is somewhat of a shame as it leads to a situation where watered-down interventions result. The reality is that there are a range of quality techniques that have their genesis in the CBT movement and have huge application to improving workplace relations and work place productivity.

One workplace intervention that is explicit about links to CBT is Healthy Thinking, as developed by Dr. Tom Mulholland. Healthy thinking, or HT as it is commonly known, is at its core a reframing technique. The programme teaches participants how to become more aware of the impact of their thinking on their emotional state and how this leads to behaviour.  The programme also has a range of simple to remember and simple to use cognitive cues that people can use to evaluate their thinking process and whether it is indeed a help or hindrance.

As with all the products and training that OPRA promote we tend to adopt an approach of trialling internally first. Our motto is that unless we are convinced of a solution’s merits it is unlikely to have value to our clients.

While I had many insights that I could share from my experience with HT the one that I found most salient is that for psychology to have an impact it must be useable. HT works not only because it is in part based on aspects of CBT but that Dr. Tom has packaged it in such an easy to remember framework.  Being able to identify what type of unhealthy thinking I often resort to, and have an antidote at the ready has been invaluable for being able to have a positive impact on my thinking. Being able to TWIG (an mnemonic for processing a thought before allowing it to drive emotion and behaviour) ensures that I now have a process by which to evaluate whether a thought is useful or needs to be replaced. The removal of ‘Moan-Zones’  (places to have a whinge!) in our office has resulted in a much more positive working environment.

While the concepts of CBT may be perceived as the domain of psych professionals I strongly encourage all our clients to take a look Healthy Thinking and identify applications to improving workplace performance. Whether it is a training course, the e-learning or just a book on how to be a healthier thinker I’m confident that there are lessons that all our clients will find enhancing. Click here for more information on Healthy Thinking.