Improving Adaptability In The Workplace

Improving adaptability in the workplace
Overview
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    In order for your organization to achieve a high level of adaptability, it is imperative that you focus on making sure you are agile, flexible, and diverse through challenges and trials within the workplace. Often, this occurs during the hiring process. By focusing on talented, diverse individuals that are exceptional contenders and already possess a certain level of adaptability skills, and then choosing to bring those exemplary candidates onboard (through the new hire process), your practice will have already won half of the battle. The war does not end there, however.

    Previously, in The Forefront of Adaptability, your organization was described as knowledgeable about how to recognize an individual’s ability to adapt to change. As you have identified the ideal candidate for your team, it is time to nurture their adaptability. Your employees, your leaders, your organization, its clients, and your overall values (or objectives) contribute to the development of adaptability.

    A practice must be prepared to improve it at every turn, regardless of the circumstances, if it is to produce adaptability and endorse it as a whole. Is your organization prepared? It is likely that your organization is not fully prepared for what this entails. In other words, you may have a great deal of flexibility within your organization but are unable to cultivate it in a positive manner. Perhaps cultivating it has become a challenge for your team. However, this does not have to be the case.

    Adaptability Skillset

    An organization that possesses a high degree of adaptability is able to embrace change to the benefit of all its members. Employees, leaders, and agendas that are valued in the workplace are included in this category. Flexibility alone will not suffice. Being adaptable encompasses much more than that.

    According to the Center for Creative Learning, there are three different components of adaptability that can help you to be flexible to change in the workplace.

    1. Cognitive Flexibility
    2. Emotional Flexibility
    3. Dispositional Flexibility

    Each of these components harnesses a different skill, ability, or even strategic advantage. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to use different strategies or even mental frameworks. Within the mind, multiple scenarios can be imagined, along with the changes they entail and the overall outcome that will be achieved. 

    The ability to manage your emotional reactions to other people’s emotions is referred to as emotional flexibility. Through the process of transition, this is recognized and allows people to vary their approach in dealing with their own as well as others’ emotions. They have the ability to move forward or change their agenda without being dismissive of others. Practicing dispositional flexibility allows you to remain both optimistic and realistic simultaneously. By balancing optimism, realism, and openness, a solution can be visualized in the future. 

    Through the various components of adaptability, you will be able to learn and practice behaviors that will enable you to become a more adaptable employee in the workplace. To foster adaptability at work, you may need to take into account more than these three components, although they will enable you to embrace change in a more effective manner.

    Improving Adaptability as an Organization

    The process of improving an organization’s adaptability can be challenging. It is ultimately intended to prepare your organization to become a leader in your field. In order to achieve this, you must begin from within your organization. Embracing these tips will contribute to long-term success by fostering adaptability. 

    • Take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them.

    “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

    – Henry Ford

    • We are all human, which means that we are prone to making mistakes, not only occasionally, but also habitually. Despite the fact that this can be dissatisfying, it is important to acknowledge these mistakes and to be willing to learn from them. In the end, some of our greatest mistakes will enable us to become the best versions of ourselves we can be. It is important that you understand where we went wrong in the past and improve on it in the not-so-distant future in order to improve your ability to be flexible in the future as an employee and place you on the pathway to becoming a (future) confident leader.
    • Learn from and embrace transformation.

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

    -Socrates

    • Inquisitive individuals have the uncanny ability to adapt to a variety of situations. By embracing change and being open to learning new things, you are able to adapt in the same manner. Develop your ability to progress towards new things, such as upcoming trends in the workplace, newly acquired technical skills, or even efficient methods for communicating with your team (and organization as a whole). Engage in regular discussions with other employees to challenge their need for innovation. Not only will this assist those employed by your organization in becoming more adaptable, but it will also help your organization to become more adaptable as well.
    • Test your team through team-building exercises. Having one person who has exceptional adaptability is good, but having an entire team of flexible, like-minded, but still diverse individuals who can come together and build on their soft skills even more so is the best way to an adaptable work environment. There have (without a doubt) been times when your team could benefit from greater amounts of flexibility, whether it is cognitive, emotional, or dispositional. Create team building exercises that allow them to work on all three components of adaptability regularly. Doing so will allow them to grow as individuals, as well as a team. Furthermore, that team will learn to adapt to situations within your organization more quickly and efficiently.
    • Use open-ended questions to stimulate discussion. The act of asking questions is an excellent means of learning and challenging others. Simple yes/no questions do not allow for adaptation, growth, challenge, or change as much as they should. Explain to your organization the importance of using open-ended questions in their daily work. 
    • Maintain a balance between risk and reward. For your team members to be able to achieve a great deal of balance between risk and reward, they must be able to flex a certain degree of adaptability. If control and work are added to the mix, the average employee may find it difficult to cope. Practice different scenarios and prepare for situations that may have a negative impact on your organization if they arise. Recognize that there is a healthy balance between risk, control, reward, and work. You should encourage your organization to make riskier decisions in order to better understand how much adaptability has been cultivated. A small amount of adaptability growth is preferable to none at all.

    Working Towards a Flexible Future

    Adapting today will ensure success tomorrow. Whether your organization has a short-term goal in mind in order to build a better tomorrow through adaptability or a long-term goal in order to reign successful over its competitors, you can be assured that they have started at the forefront of the company and are fostering adaptability throughout the organization now. No matter what challenges lie ahead, your employees, leaders, and organization are now prepared to face them in the most optimistic way possible.

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