Adaptability training may be the magic answer to survival beyond 2020.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus is known for saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Change is nothing new for humanity, but it is happening faster than ever before. Workplaces are seeing technology advance at an extreme pace, and in 2020, a pandemic threw everything we thought we knew about work out the window, forcing businesses to put new systems in place quite literally overnight.
In this article, we’ll dig into the importance of adaptability at work, how to improve adaptability skills, and how to implement adaptability training in your workplace.
Why Is Adaptability Important
Adaptability is defined as the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions. It’s how well and how quickly you readjust and what you do when faced with change. Do you fight against inevitable changes or do you embrace them, using change as a force for good?
Mike Raven, Co-Founder of AQai, a pioneering adaptability training platform, says, "We're going to see more change in the next 10 years than we have in the last 100 years. With that change will come hyper-uncertainty, and an epidemic of stress and anxiety, unless we can improve and leverage our adaptability, our AQ."
You can define adaptability skills with an Adaptability Quotient (AQ). Think of it like the new IQ (Intelligence Quotient) or EQ (Emotional Quotient). If IQ is a measure of your intelligence and EQ a measurement of your empathy, communication, and self-awareness, AQ measures your ability to roll with the punches and adapt to new circumstances.
Human beings are often creatures of habit. If one strategy has worked before, why wouldn’t it work again? While this thought seems sensible on the surface, nothing stays the same forever and falling back on what we know time and time again drags us further out of touch with reality.
Having a high AQ means constantly challenging your own deeply-held beliefs and convictions by always being open to new ideas and new ways of working.
- Problem solving
- Emotional health
- Being present and mindful
- Preparing for possible outcomes
- Allowing yourself to fail
What Is Adaptability In The Workplace?
The future success of your business and your career depends on your ability to adapt to the onslaught of change headed our way. The
How will your business survive an economic recession?
How will you do business in the midst of a pandemic?
How do you implement behavioral changes, such as wearing a mask, across your organization?
How do you leverage advancing AI technology?
How do you compete with robots that could take over millions of jobs?
How do you implement sustainable business practices that fight climate change instead of contributing to it?
Why Is Adaptability Important In The Workplace?
Adaptability is the only way your business can prepare for the unknown. Improving adaptability across your organization will help you face the inevitable changes on the horizon.
Examples of adaptability at work:
- Plan for various future economic, political, and societal outcomes
- Adapt to and adopt new technologies
- Prioritize diversity training
- Frequently update office procedures and style guides
- Offer flexible schedules that accommodate different workstyles
- Provide remote and work from home options
- Implement green practices and policies in your workplace
- Prioritize sustainability over profit
- Run team building activities that focus on improving adaptability skills
- Assess adaptability when choosing new hires
- Provide adaptability training
Adaptability training hones in on the key traits and characteristics that contribute to an employee’s AQ. Providing this training will boost your organization’s adaptability, and it will help you build a strong team that’s prepared for whatever the future may bring.
AQai is a company pioneering the research and application of AQ Assessments and digital-coaching using AI, the very technology bringing about so much change. The company’s Co-Founder, Mike Raven, says, “We believe that adaptability is a magic key, not only to survival, but to thriving into abundance—to a new, better existence for humanity. What got us here will not be enough to get us where we need to go to avoid major catastrophic consequences for the biosphere and our species."
AQai is focusing on deep collaborations to ensure the AQ movement gets the traction it needs. They provide AQ assessments, actionable insights, and they are working on a number of training options, including an AQ Certification program and a virtual AQ Masterclass.
How to Improve Adaptability in Your Workplace
Provide Adaptability Training
Adaptability training helps employees and businesses improve adaptability skills. Training can begin by assessing your team’s AQ to determine where each employee could improve. Once you have these insights, you can provide specific training that targets weak areas.
Does your team need to get better at unlearning, problem solving, or maintaining mindfulness? Provide training or team building sessions that address adaptability characteristics. Investing in your team today will help you survive the future, no matter what it looks like.
Accept and Embrace Failure
Being afraid to fail stifles creativity and innovation. If you are afraid to fail, you’ll never try something new, which will always hold you and your business back.
A team that is afraid to fail or afraid of the consequences of failure will never thrive. As a business, create an environment that accepts failure and treats it as a learning opportunity. Each failure is a chance to grow, a chance to be better, and an invitation for brand new ideas.
Question Your Assumptions
While it’s easy to rely on what’s familiar, nothing is going to stay that way for very long. The way you currently do things isn’t necessarily the best way, and if it was at one point, it might not be anymore. By questioning your assumptions, you condition yourself to be open to new or different possibilities.
Unlearning means purging a learned habit from your memory. If you have a habit, whether it’s good, bad, or simply no longer useful, unlearning is the process of forgetting it. Consider recycling. It used to be common practice to throw out aluminum soda cans with the rest of the trash. Once we learned how detrimental it is to our planet, we were forced to unlearn the habit and replace it with proper recycling practices and waste reduction.
Prepare for the Future
No one can predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Strategic Foresight helps people and businesses make educated choices about the future. Where will your business be in 10 years, 20 years, or 50 years? Where do you want it to be in 10 years, 20 years, or 50 years? What do you need to do to get there?
By researching possible economic, political, societal, technological, and cultural outcomes, you can map out possibilities for the future to prepare your business for change.
Strategic foresight is an in-depth process, but there are simple exercises you and your team can do to help ensure you get where you want to go. The Three Horizons exercise helps you examine where your business is right now, where you want to go, and what you need to do to get there. Step one: Outline your current way of doing things (H1). Step two: Outline an ideal future (H3). Step three: Outline how to get there (H2).
Try Three Horizons as a team building exercise with leadership or your entire team. You can work together to consider the future of your business or have each employee examine their own career path from these three perspectives.
Stop Saying No
How often do you say no? What are you saying no to? Do you even remember why you are saying no?
Reexamine your company policies. Are they still relevant today? Can an employee work from home? Maybe the answer was no at the beginning of 2020, but many businesses have found ways to make working from home possible. Become more flexible, and offer your employees flexibility to work in the ways that best suit them.
The next time you assume an answer should be no, consider why you are saying no. What would happen if you tried a new way of doing things?
Change is a constant in life; nothing you do will stop it. If you push against change and try to fight it, you’ll be the one who breaks. Technology, culture, trends, and ways of working will continue to evolve, and it’s up to you to decide if you adapt or get left behind.
Embrace change and learn how to make the most of it. Instead of cursing a new technology, figure out how you can use it to improve your business or work habits. Keep an open mind and understand what you know now may not always be. The way you work today won’t be the way you work in the future. After all, there are so many changes yet to come.
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