Becoming AntiFragile in an Ever-Challenging South Africa

It cannot be denied – South Africa, as we used to say back in the day, is a tough place – it’s not for sissies. Between scheduled load shedding and unscheduled power outages, and a devil may care approach to traffic laws, South Africa is life on challenging mode. And yet, South Africans keep on rising to the challenge.

“South Africans are, for the most part, a people who are not easily breakable,” says Lindy McClymont, Head of Faculty at The LLC Academy. “Despite the challenges that South Africa faces, we have -and will – continue to rise to the occasion. That said, when it comes to the world of business, we need to go one step beyond being merely resilient. We need to become AntiFragile.”

So, what exactly is AntiFragility? And how can it help us, specifically in business?

“AntiFragility is about more than simply being able to bounce back from adversity and stress,” says McClymont. “Bouncing back suggests that you remain unchanged from your experience – which means that you did not necessarily learn from it. AntiFragility, however, means that you have been tempered by the fires of challenge. Your skills and expertise were put to the test, honing them for future endeavours.”

“An AntiFragile person is one who becomes more able to cope when given a number of adverse experiences,” says McClymont. “They are not worn down by stress, in fact, they seem to thrive on it. And the reason they thrive is usually because they see the challenge as an opportunity to learn, rather than simply an opportunity to succeed.”

“As with many things in life, AntiFragility is largely about a shift in your mindset,” says McClymont. “When people pride themselves on their resilience, they often become more rigid, more resistant to change. This can lead to exceptionally high levels of stress and, eventually burnout. With AntiFragility, the focus becomes not on overcoming the challenge, but rather, learning from it.”

“Take, for example, an employee who is given a new project at work,” says McClymont. “Let’s say this project, while it does play to their strengths, is nevertheless slightly out of their skillset. A resilient employee would probably grin and bear it, knuckle down, and get on with the challenge. They would overcome the challenge by applying what they already knew, make the most of it and they would get through the work.”

“The AntiFragile employee, however, would see this as an opportunity to stretch themselves,” says McClymont. “Not only would they apply what they already knew, they would most likely make the attempt to learn more, try different approaches, and see what would work best, rather than simply applying what has worked in the past.”

“When it comes to rising to the challenge, both approaches work,” says McClymont. “However, the ideal is, of course, an employee who learns how to fight through better, and apply those skills to the next fight, rather than simply rolling with the punches.”

The LLC Academy offers a range of programmes designed to upskill yourself and your workforce, whilst contributing to the Skills Development element of your B-BBEE Scorecard. Furthermore, the fact that we are 73.57% black owned means that we are a qualifying Enterprise and Supplier Development Beneficiary. If you want to know more about how to become AntiFragile, and how to help your workforce to become the same, speak to one of our expert consultants today.

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