Change is constant, and so is one more thing: People and organizations resist change. As innovation accelerates, we must learn to adapt. It’s also critical to integrate adaptability into organizational structures. This may be the most valuable skillset an individual or an organization can develop.
Adapt Existing Assets Towards a New Purpose
One of the most exciting developments of the last ten years? The interconnectedness of a vast array of products, services, software, and skills. David Walsh Bronxville calls this “the Exchange of Everything.” Companies such as Care.com and TaskRabbit integrate human services with a software platform that makes it easier for skilled workers and their clients to connect. Companies like Airbnb, Expedia, and TripAdvisor did not build their own properties or airlines. Instead, they leveraged existing systems and developed a way to help people find what they need.
Within smaller companies, too, there are assets not being used to their full potential. These are many keys to success. Rather than build from scratch, organizing existing people (both staff and customers) and resources (both within the company, and in the community) can better align with shared challenges.
Cultivate Adaptability as a Skill
When your employees have high adaptability, they are more easily able to adopt new technologies, learn new procedures, and develop new skills. Adaptability is an important skill to look for in a potential employee.
You can assess adaptability as a skill in your job candidates during your interview. Ask them to tell you about a time they had to take on work outside of their usual expertise. You can also ask when they had to learn a new skill or how they handled a sudden change in a project in the past. Negative answers indicate the candidate feels resistive toward change and may have difficulty adapting.
Leadership is crucial to get the right people engaged and believing they can be part of the future, according to Bronxville’s David Walsh. Identify people and assets within your company, including new talent, that can be adapted towards a new purpose. Then, the leader should clearly define goals and action plans to ensure the team is committed.
Resistance to change is not a design flaw. To protect a body and a culture that is distinct from the background noise is key to survival. However, it’s critical to adapt and realign oneself to better function in a changing environment. Companies and individuals that embrace change and cultivate adaptability are well-positioned to thrive in a changing world.