Opening your mind to the new world

Just over a year ago, we began talking about how businesses would be facing a daunting “new normal” because of the coronavirus pandemic. As the first half of 2021 draws to a close, we realise now that there is no new normal, but an evolving normal.

Few of us could have imagined the devastating effects we would face and continue to face today. While many people are resistant to it, change is the only way to move forward, and the only way to be successful is if we’re open to change.

Since last year, we’ve been told that we need to move with change and to adapt with speed — to be agile in other words. However, what we often forget is that this change isn’t a step-by-step process that helps us reach a certain destination. It is a continuous journey of keeping up and ensuring we stay ahead of the game.

When it comes to change, we think about how we can train our people and ensure they keep their skills and learning up to date. But we sometimes overlook the most important element — the foundation — and this is our mindset.

Often, when we think about change, we jump into the behavioural aspects that we can change. While this is not wrong, it isn’t the first thing we should develop. Behaviour can be adjusted more quickly than our mindset, but it cannot always be sustained for the long term. When we approach it with the right mindset, we not only sustain change long-term, but also can sustain our business more effectively through periods of change.

We have entered a new world that we’ve never known before, one where change has accelerated. Without the foundation of our mindset, we might not be able to sustain our businesses through adversity.

Without a shift in mindset, we cannot even think about doing new things. And if we cannot do new things, we cannot expect that our businesses can keep up with change. Here are some insights into how opening our mindset can help our businesses in concrete ways, beyond mere concepts.

First, opening our mindset to the new world can help us be more aware of where we stand as individuals, as well as where our business stands today. Often, businesses aren’t able to open up to the new world because they’re too busy reacting to the changes around them.

Taking a step back can be beneficial in this case as it can help business leaders understand the situation better and consider alternative ways of doing business.

From a leader’s perspective, this can also help in understanding the people in your organisation and role modelling the shift with change that your organisation needs.

This brings us to the second point — an open mindset can help influence change in our environment. While mindset influences our behaviour in sustainable ways, it can also help us understand others better and influence changes in our surroundings.

The right mindset must begin from within. Starting from within, you need to truly understand others by placing yourself in other people’s shoes. This helps in understanding how you can shift behaviour and ultimately influence change in your direct environment and in the people around you.

Third, opening your mind can reinforce positive perceptions to change and failure. It is a given that in this new world, we are going to make mistakes and fail from time to time. While it is normal, it doesn’t make it any easier for us as business leaders or for our people.

To sustainably drive results for the organisation, we must also be comfortable around failure, and this can only happen when we open ourselves to the new world.

Finally, opening your mind means constantly learning new things to keep up with. When we think about learning in an organisation, we think about training. While this can help people learn new things, it doesn’t necessarily mean doing new things. We must be open and ready to learn and develop in everyday situations, not just during formal training.

While there are many mindset concepts, there’s truly no right or wrong way to approach opening your mind to the new world. The aim is to ensure that we will be able to sustainably push our careers and businesses forward despite the uncertainty we face.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at or Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at

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