How fast are you able to adapt?


If you’re a #Leader of an organization today, or a #strategyconsultant trying help companies get unstuck, continuous change and new developments are constantly hitting you. Between trade policy, innovation, new competitors, shifting employee demographics, change is everywhere and this can be very daunting!

Perhaps like me, this heightened variability may have caused you to ask yourself some of these questions:

Why do great people struggle to work together?

Will I be able to have the right mix of talents on the right teams?

Why do solutions that have worked in the past no longer work?

If change is here to stay and even will accelerate, how will I and my organization stay relevant?

As I continue my search for answers to these questions, I recently came across a delightful article on the need to consider your organization’s adaptability on the BBC Worklife 101 Blog.

In this article, Seb Murray explains the need for leaders to focus on their Adaptability Quotient or AQ. This really resonated with me. For many years as a leader in the tech space, I have thought of as someone’s Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, to be "table stakes" to be in the room. I never had an issue of finding amazingly smart people to work with. The issue I faced was more how to get incredibly intelligent colleagues to work together, and have fun while doing it. Then some years ago, a focus on Emotional Intelligence, or EQ came into vogue. This offered a leadership language to focus towards developing interpersonal and communications skills to be more effective as a leader. EQ for me worked very well and aided me personally in growing technology firms incredibly fast around the world. However, more recently, EQ has been not enough. Upon reflection, the core focus my EQ efforts were to develop people and concepts inside my organization, not focusing on the outside trends and changes in the market place.

Enter now, AQ. Could this be an answer? In Murray’s article, he references Natalie Fratto’s Ted Talk on AQ. This was new to me and I must say that it was well work the viewing.

Murry summarizes Fratto’s remarks in this way: “AQ is not just the capacity to absorb new information, but the ability to work out what is relevant, to unlearn obsolete knowledge, overcome challenges, and to make a conscious effort to change. AQ involves flexibility, curiosity, courage, resilience and problem-solving skills too.”

The AQ concept really resonates with me, especially the idea of working out what is relevant outside your organization and make a conscious effort to change.

In our dynamic business environment, there is much noise coming at us all the time. I struggle at times to find the right signal, or beat, to focus on through this noise. I for one am going to look towards the language of AQ to find the right beat for my business and help keep me insatiably curious!

How do you find the beat of your business? How fast are you able to adapt?

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