Adaptability in the workplace may be the single most useful trait a professional can employ in the current world.
The world is changing faster than ever – between changes in technology, the economy, the law, leadership, budgets, etc.
The only way to stay relevant, much less to get ahead, is to adapt to these workplace changes in a way that lets you take advantage of them, rather than be at their mercy.
What Does Adaptability in the Workplace Mean?
The straight definition of adaptability:
“Able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions”
The definition of “adaptability in the workplace” from BusinessDictionary.com:
“The ability of an entity or organism to alter itself or its responses to the changed circumstances or environment. Adaptability shows the ability to learn from experience, and improves the fitness of the learner as a competitor.”
In (Avish’s) plain speak definition:
Adaptability in the Workplace: The ability to change yourself and what you do when things change around you.
Sounds simple and obvious enough, and yet, so many individuals and organizations struggle to adapt when they need to.
The Importance of Adaptability in the Workplace
Adaptability is more important now than ever because the world is changing faster than ever. It affects:
- Survival – Companies that don’t adapt, go out of business (Kodak, anyone?). Individuals who don’t adapt get downsized, outsourced, or automated out of a job.
- Competitiveness – Beyond survival, if you want to lead your market, or stand out in your profession, you need to keep up with an ever-changing world.
- Profitability – People who are unwilling or unable to adapt tend to be frustrated, distracted, and scared. This affects morale, teamwork, and productivity. All of these affect the bottom line.
- Job Satisfaction – Stagnation leads to discontent. People who are adaptable in the workplace embrace change and find new challenges and directions to continue to grow and stay motivated.
- Stress reduction – The fear of change and the unknown is a major factor in stress. When people have good adaptability skills, they feel much less stressed about an uncertain future.
Key Adaptability Skills
Here are 7 skills that lead to greater adaptability (not coincidentally, they are skills that allow improv comedy performers to excel at what they do as well…):
- Present-Mindedness – The ability to focus on the here and now and not get distracted by things out of your control. People who are best at adapting put their energy and attention on the only thing they can control: what they can do right here, right now, with what they have.
- Creativity – Changing conditions require doing things in a way that hasn’t been done before. Without creativity, your team will not be able to come up with those new ideas.
- Future Vision – Adapting requires focusing on the present, but you must also have an idea of where you would like to go. People who struggle with adaptability want things to stay the same – or worse, go back to how they used to be! Adapting requires looking forward and moving ahead.
- Experimenting Mindset – The thing with adapting, dealing with change, and trying new things is that there is no guarantee of success. To effectively adapt you need to think in terms of experimenting, not “having it all figured out.” Try something, see what happens, make an adjustment, and try again.
- Letting Go – This is the simplest but often hardest. To adapt to new conditions you must be willing and able to let go of what has worked so far, what you may have sunk resources into, what you used to think, etc. The things that got you here may very well be the things holding you back from taking things to the next level.
- “Yes, And” – This is one of the most foundational improv skills of all. In every moment, you have the choice of responding with “yes, and” or, “yes, but.” Most default to “yes, but.” Sadly, “yes, but” is the language of rigidity and staying where you are. The more “yes, and” you and your organization are, the more adaptable you will both be.
“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
― Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do
It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.
― Charles Darwin
The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.
― Bill Clinton
Adaptability is the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win.
― Max McKeown
Organizations and individuals who try to go backwards are the ones that get left behind by the ones who say, “now that things have changed, how can we do things in a better way than we did before?”
― Avish Parashar (yes, I am quoting myself…)
How Improv, Ding Happens, and Avish can Help
Avish has a process that uses improv comedy tools, ideas, and principles to help people accept, manage, and take advantage of change. His interactive programs are fun, engaging, and highly relevant.
Avish can help you increase the adaptability in your workplace in several ways:
Speaking at Your Annual Meetings
Presenting ideas around improv and change to a large group of people in a short period of time (45-90 minutes). Avish’s presentations are fun, engaging, interactive, motivational, and designed to open-minds and get people started down the path of adaptability and innovation.
Training at your Workplace
Working hands-on with a smaller group of people for a longer time where the focus is on skills-transfer. Giving your team the skills and practice to implement these ideas in the real word.
Facilitation at Your Next Leadership Retreat
Taking your leadership team through a process that helps them create a plan of their own to increase creativity and innovation throughout the entire organization.
Contact us now to book Avish to help your team respond to, embrace, and take advantage of change in the workplace!