CJ Mills - FWSA Novel & Adaptive Thinking Skills Coach
FWSA: You are the FWSA Novel & Adaptive Thinking Skills Coach. How did you become interested in this subject?
CJ: I founded my company, Creative Adaptive Thinking, with the idea of creating solutions by adapting processes and thinking strategically. I officially became interested in the subject of Novel and Adaptive Thinking when Donna introduced me to the IFTF. I saw how it was crucial to our success in the field of project management and immediately realized how much more there was to learn. To this day, the principles of fluid and creative thinking continue to provide experiences that drive my desire to learn more.
FWSA: The IFTF listed your skill as one of only 10 essential for engagement in the Future of Work. Why do you think your skill included?
CJ: Novel and Adaptive Thinking is included by the IFTF because situational adaptability, mental flexibility, and the ability to create are all abilities that we need both to differentiate ourselves from machines and also to cope with a world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. And that is what the future looks like. You can see how quickly and dramatically things changed with the global pandemic. Now that we are all interconnected shocks are not confined so much to cities, or countries. Shocks impact us all. And whilst we had the luxury of time on our side in the 20th Century today we need to be able to adapt quickly. And we need to let go of fixed mindsets because they obstruct us from moving, from acting, from changing. And if you consider Novel Thinking well that is what we are all now required to do. We can’t wait for someone else to give us the answer particularly when it relates to our personal or family security or how we function effectively to do our jobs. I this fast-paced world we all need to get used to understanding and solving the challenges we face both as individuals and teams.
FWSA: What is your human superpower?
CJ: I’ve discovered my human superpower is the ability to teach. This question was a funny one for me because I immediately had to ask several people about this as I was naturally curious about what others had to say. Ultimately the answers were consistent, which surprised me as I expected more variation as I purposely asked people whom I felt knew different sides or had different perspectives of me. But I think my wife said it best when she said, “You’re an analogy king.” Go figure.
FWSA: Who is your favourite superhero and why?
CJ: This question was tough for me initially as I had to think of all the different superheroes and who I thought was the best. As I got to thinking, I had to go back to my childhood to find the answer. As a child, I always watched Batman. I liked that he was a regular guy who trained hard in disciplines like martial arts and the use of tactical weaponry. I also loved that he created the majority of his infrastructure, tools, and arsenal. As an adult, I appreciate the fact that Batman has a sidekick, Robin. He was part of a team and wasn’t afraid to ask for help. No great feats in this world are done alone, so Batman’s my number 1 superhero.
FWSA: Can you share your top tips for refining your Novel & Adaptive Thinking Skills?
CJ: First, shake self-doubt and the fear of failure, make sure you infuse dissent and seek alternative viewpoints, and finally leave your ego at the door. Let me explain. We learn more in defeat and failure then we do in success. If you’re worried about being perfect, if you doubt your abilities to achieve the results regardless of the number of attempts, then you’re already climbing an uphill battle. Instead, don’t be afraid to fail your way to success. Along the way, assume your knowledge is limited and bound by your individual experience in life. Be sure to seek out folks who think differently and who see things from a different lens while maintaining a level of openness to considering the complete opposite of what you feel. Finally, we are brilliant because we know we are not. Leave your ego behind, and you will be amazed at how much more you accomplish when you have an open mind and create the space for new knowledge. I hope this helps!!!