Many organisations currently find themselves operating in highly unpredictable environments characterised by decreasing levels of stability. Such organisations often find themselves having to adjust a projected course due to unanticipated external factors. An organisation’s lifespan may be at risk if their prognosis for change is low. 

When considering recruitment and/or development of an individual, what informs your decision? Top of mind would usually be: having the suitable capabilities to perform the role, as well as possible alignment of values and culture fit. While these are essential, the individual’s ‘prognosis for change’, in other words, their potential to appropriately and successfully adjust to change and uncertainty, may be equally important. 

When interpreting a set of assessment results, we invariably overlay them with a lens of ‘Trainability vs. Changeability’: just how changeable and trainable are the non-negotiables that the individual will need to develop to comfortably fulfil this role, and possible roles into the future. Understanding the ‘prognosis for change’ highlights risk, time/potential to perform, and required development initiatives. Trainable elements are often knowledge-based and one can rather clearly anticipate the process of learning and measuring these. Although this may take time, if the individual has the drive and thinking ability to learn these skills, a development area here would usually be of low risk.

Certain characteristics are more difficult, or sometimes impossible to develop. These are characteristics which are dependent on the individual’s motivation, ability, and desire to change. Many aspects of EQ and integrity sit here too. If these are lacking, there is no formal course that can magically elicit or build them. The development of these is driven by the individual’s desire to grow and change, coupled with a well-timed and suited training method that is aligned to the individual’s preferred learning approach. Some capabilities cannot be learned and are largely inherent, for instance, one’s ability to manage high levels of complexity and ambiguity – skills essential to strategic levels within complex, and changing organisations.

Leadership and personality attributes however, differ in their malleability. Those that are more skills based, such as managing conflict or communicating clearly, may be practiced and learned, whereas others such as empathy are more challenging to learn and change.

Thriving in a highly dynamic world requires organisations to adapt quickly to changing markets and technology. An individual’s prognosis for change can be a powerful metric to add to your people analytics toolbox. To learn more –

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