Life is a journey filled with ups and downs, successes and setbacks. And adversity, in its various forms, is an inevitable part of this journey. Whether it’s a personal challenge or a professional slow down, how we respond to adversity can significantly shape our lives. In the face of adversity, the question that arises is, ‘How should we focus on adapting or recovering?’
Both adaption and recovery play crucial roles in one’s ability to not only survive but also thrive in the face of challenges. “It’s not a matter of choosing between adapting and recovering, but how adversity is confronted and addressed. Both adaption and recovery play crucial roles in one’s ability to not only survive but also thrive in the face of challenges,” says Kamlesh Dangi, group head-HR, InCred.
According to him, “The crucial consideration is how to confront adversity, the immediate challenges that come with it and the subsequent recovery process.”
The goal, says Dangi, “is to effectively navigate challenges as they arise and then transition into a phase of healing and restoration once the adversity has subsided.”
“It’s not a matter of choosing between adapting and recovering, but how adversity is confronted and addressed. Both adaption and recovery play crucial roles in one’s ability to not only survive but also thrive in the face of challenges.”
Kamlesh Dangi, group head-HR, InCred
Praveen Purohit, deputy CHRO, Vedanta Resources, opines, “Adversities are a constant presence, and are bound to persist amidst the pursuit of growth, disruption and innovation. However, the crucial distinction lies in whether these challenges are perceived as adversities or as opportunities. This perspective is the key determining factor.” The key lies in whether these challenges are approached as setbacks or as chances for advancement.
For instance, situations involving mergers and acquisitions are inherently challenging due to their novelty. However, adopting an opportunistic mindset transforms these challenges into stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. This transition hinges on embracing the newness and converting it into an opportunity for growth.
Putting forth a similar perspective, Deepti Mehta, CHRO, Interface Microsystems, explains, “The ability to pivot strategies and transform challenges into opportunities becomes a hallmark of the organisation’s approach to helping the employees tackle any adversity that may arise.”
Both the approaches require a different mindset and strategies to navigate through such challenging times. For instance, when learning to adapt to adversity, resilience plays a crucial role. It is resilience that provides people the ability to withstand and thrive amidst significant difficulties within the context of adversity.
“The ability to pivot strategies and transform challenges into opportunities becomes a hallmark of the organisation’s approach to helping the employees tackle any adversity that may arise.”
Deepti Mehta, CHRO, Interface Microsystems
However, when shifting the focus to the phase of recovery, a different set of skills comes into play. “The recovery is centred around the lessons learned from adverse situations. It involves formulating preventive mechanisms to enhance preparedness for future challenges of a similar nature. These elements form a crucial part of the recovery process,” clarifies Dangi.
In Purohit’s words, “Resilience works as a significant factor while adapting to adversity and equally important is the role of perseverance. In such scenarios, I find coaching and mentoring to be a valuable source of motivation.”
While both the concepts are interrelated, each one demands a different shift in mindset and strategies to tackle the situation better. However, there are ways in which individuals and organisations can navigate such challenging circumstances more effectively.
Communication and transparency play a significant role here. “A company’s vision and mission are pivotal in guiding actions. The dynamic interplay of these factors, coupled with the dedication of the team, lead7s to accomplishments that are adaptable and future oriented,” believes Mehta.
Maturity is important here, especially on the part of the leadership. “With a sufficient degree of maturity and experience, people are less likely to succumb to panic, enabling them to devise effective strategies to confront adversity. Essentially, this embodies the very essence of resilience,” asserts Dangi.
“Adversities are a constant presence, and are bound to persist amidst the pursuit of growth, disruption and innovation. However, the crucial distinction lies in whether these challenges are perceived as adversities or as opportunities. This perspective is the key determining factor.”
Praveen Purohit, deputy CHRO, Vedanta Resources
Citing an example, Dangi explains, “There are various leadership training programmes available, which provide insights into diverse scenarios that one may encounter. The discussions around different adversarial instances prompt individuals to contemplate their own experiences with adversity and consider their responses.”
He goes on to add, “Adversity is a universal experience at all levels of leadership. Whether one is a sales manager or a people manager, distinct challenges will emerge. These experiences compel individuals to exhibit resilience, seek solutions and perhaps adopt innovative methods to adapt to the situation.”
Companies can also help employees in many ways to tackle challenging situations. For instance, they can always work towards enhancing the quality of life of their employees. “Regardless of whether it’s a startup, a mid-sized firm, or a large-scale company, prioritising the provision of quality of life beyond the basics — such as compensation and career advancement — is pivotal. By offering an improved quality of life, employees can experience a sense of ease and comfort. Consequently, they are better poised to settle in well and deliver optimal results for the organisation,” enunciates Purohit.
It is important for the organisation to leverage the strength of its employees to come out of such challenging situations. Mehta recalls her own experience when her previous company was acquired by another big firm, and the former helped the employees with a smooth transition. ‘We capitalised on the strengths of our employees, aligning with the core DNA of the organisation. We ensured that our trajectory was in sync with our vision and mission, despite the numerous obstacles we faced,” she recounts.
“Adaption and recovery often work hand in hand. The journey to adapt to adversity is about exhibiting strength in the face of adversity and finding ways to address challenges innovatively. Recovery, on the other hand, is about gleaning insights from adversity, devising preventive strategies and bolstering one’s ability to navigate through similar challenges in the future,” concludes Dangi.