Image by Jessica Rockowitz

ADAPTABILITY

 “A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.”

"Adaptability is the skill of actively driving change in an agile way instead of becoming paralyzed by fear."

Identifies the following traits of adaptable people: they are experimental, see opportunity where others see failures, they are resourceful, they think ahead, don’t whine, talk to themselves, and don’t blame others. They also don’t claim fame, are curious, open-mind , see systems, and stay current.


How to improve this skill?

Change Your Thought Process

Let go of the “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality. While change can be scary and intimidating, embrace it and look at change as an opportunity to improve, learn, and grow. It can open the door to creativity as well. This also means, however, being open to the thoughts and opinions of others, i.e. different perspectives.

Force Yourself to Take Risks

Little progress is made without risk. For some, the idea of risk is so adverse that they will run from it as fast as they can, but taking risks is key part of being adaptable. Start small and to increase comfort, discuss risk taking as part of team meetings, which can serve as a system of support.

Encourage Others to Be Open Minded

One of the best ways you can develop an open mind is to encourage others to do the same. This creates a more open atmosphere in and around you, thereby further encouraging your open-mindedness and to continue the cycle. It also serves as a means to shut down closed-minded thinking, such as “Well, that’s how we’ve always done it.”

Embrace Learning

As noted in the Forbes article, people who are curious and stay current tend to be adaptable. This means you need to embrace learning. Read up about new technologies in your industry sector, go to seminars on how to cut costs while maintaining efficiency and quality, learn about process improvement, connect with colleagues who have this kind of vision and learn from them, read what they read, etc.

 

Self-Guided Activities

  • Leaving your comfort zone

  • Build up your ability to adapt and respond positively to change by changing your response next time faced with change.

  • When faced with a problem try listing out many ways to solve it. Experiment and test out your ideas.

  • Stretch yourself in small ways. It’s not always big challenges but small ones that can make or break the day. Try small changes. 

  • Develop a curiosity and ask questions about how things work. 

  • Find a new use for an old tool.

  • Take a step back and re-evaluate priorities.

  • Consider mentoring someone else. We can learn by teaching others. 

  • Find a process that isn’t working as well as it could and find a way to improve it. 

  • Develop a spirit of persistence.

  • Find the silver lining.  

  • Be willing to make mistakes. Learn from them. 

  • Take a class in something different than what you typically do every day. 

  • Instead of responding to change with “how it won’t work” try thinking of ways to help it work out. 

  • Observe and list out all the changes in your environment. 

  • Take your list of change observations and figure out from that list if you need to learn something new. 

  • Become self-aware of how you affect those around you. Practice active listening. 

  • Try to think ahead of today and predict an outcome for an event, trend, or process. See if it comes true. Even better, try to predict and positively influence something that may happen in the future. 

  • Develop a change support network. Surround yourself with people who positively adapt to change. 

  • If something is typically upsetting or pulling an emotional trigger from you, resolve to remain calm. 

  • Accept additional responsibilities and figure out a way to manage time differently to adapt to the change. 

  • Set a new goal and set out to accomplish it. 

  • Research and read about new trends in your industry or field. 

  • Invite someone to lunch and learn about their work, their barriers, and how they adapt to change. Learn from them. 

  • Change how a meeting runs to encourage a team to respond differently to topics. 

  • Offer to help someone out that may seem overwhelmed.

  • Let go of something you can’t control. Get some sleep and rest on the fact that change can be good.

Mediation

Body Scanning, Breathing , Mindful Attention. Empowerment and Deep Meditation