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DCE Magazine

You Can Learn to be Adaptable

CareerZOT Talk by Kathy Seaton

Winter 2020

How do we define adaptability? It's our ability to react to a world of change, and lots of it, and how we respond with forward thinking strategies. Being adaptable is a form of intelligence and can be measured, tested, and improved. It's the strength to ask “what if” as opposed to making decisions and reacting based on past results or experiences.

Our world certainly isn't slowing down, and we have to understand how to process things and information in a world that keeps speeding up. Adaptability is increasingly more important as we consider new jobs, plan for upward mobility, or are searching for ways to create something that no one has ever seen or encountered before.

Nolan Ryan said, “Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent.”

I'm suggesting three ways to become or alter your decisions and behaviors to be more adaptable.

  1. Ask “what if,” not worrying about the past, to force yourself to be more creative and inspirational. This will prompt thinking about the future to create visions that are new. New is important because old is boring and the only element that we can prepare for is change.
  2. Don't rely on what you already know. The probability of becoming an adaptable leader lies in developing the potential that challenges the past. Beating the status quo that things are fixed, not fluid, is how you perpetuate change.
  3. Surround yourself with people that are willing to explore. People that think “outside of the box.” Those that are willing to take a huge risk. Those people that are constant seekers.

The most exciting thing to think about is to avoid falling in love with a process or an idea. It's the willingness to embrace constant change and the prospect of being better.

Each of us has the capacity to become more adaptable. Think of it like a muscle–it's got to be exercised.

Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Read more at CareerZOT.