Adaptive mindset: A skill for 2020 and beyond

Having an adaptive mindset is a valuable skill to have in times of disruption and a critical skill for enduring this year in particular. In having the personal and professional ability to adjust to change and maintain one’s positivity, while dealing with disorder, pressure and setbacks – in a resilient and proactive manner – is a practical capability for enduring life’s ups and downs.

An adaptive mindset resides in the rapidly emerging research on how future workforces will harness a person’s brain, not just their hands. This means organisations need employees and contractors who are more self-aware, curious, persistent, and who have the motivation to keep going when things get tough or uncertain.

The importance of adaptability was highlighted this year but it’s in the defining and measuring of having an adaptive mindset trait that makes the Human Capability Framework so important. The standards can quantify this skill – allowing us to determine which courses and experiences deliver this result, and ranking it at a level, ranging from 1 to 5, to help identify candidates who possess this skill.

Under the framework, indicators of proficiency of this capability include:

  • Systems thinker
  • Able to engage with others to exchange ideas, information or thoughts
  • Deals with ambiguity and complexity
  • Embraces challenges and new situations
  • Doesn’t procrastinate
  • Actively seeks new experiences and learning opportunities
  • Envisions what is possible and seeks strategic opportunities

People with adaptive mindsets don’t have to be told to change; they know that success – personal and collective – relies on working under pressure, developing ways to cope with stress and anxiety, and continually learning from their experiences. This means every experience contributes to improving agility and action for people, teams and the organisation.

Having the ability to harness this resilient trait and being able to more easily identify those who possess it provides an advantage for employers seeking this skill, for course administrators in promoting their course and for candidates looking to stand out from the crowd.

For more information about the Human Capability Standards please contact us at or 07 3858 1230.