immediately upon hearing the word adaptability, what comes to mind? Maybe you consider your family, your personal life, the environment in which you live, or the culture in which you reside. Essentially, it is a term that employers and careers are learning to use in their daily work routines.
A person’s adaptability, also known as flexibility, is their ability to adapt to diverse modifications or trials in their work environment. As we think of adaptability in the workplace, we often consider how leaders are able to respond to skills, circumstances, behaviors, adjustments, technology, or growth. Nonetheless, this is more than just a skill set that leaders should maintain. Your company, as well as those employed under its umbrella, should be able to adapt to changes in a timely, efficient, precise, and profitable manner. Your business’ success depends on their ability to achieve this goal.
Start with New Hires
It is imperative to possess the skills of adaptability (or flexibility) in order to manage situations, without the presence of a great deal of command or guidance. A great leader is molded in this manner. It should be noted, however, that great leaders are not created out of thin air. A remarkable leader is capable of recognizing their mistakes and rising above them in order to become even more successful in the future. In doing so, they will be able to adjust quickly to their roles in order to stay on track as well as on track to achieve the organization’s goals.
Nevertheless, these skilled leaders had to begin somewhere, didn’t they? Indeed, that is the case! Skilled, adaptable, and well-thought-out leaders were once exemplary managers who accomplished tasks when needed, without necessarily being recognized. Formerly, exemplary managers were hard-working employees who never took a day off unless it was absolutely necessary because they strived to accomplish more and be present more than anyone else in order to succeed.
The same hard-working employees were also unpaid interns who worked twice as hard as anyone else while receiving (little to) no compensation for their time, energy, and efforts. What about those unpaid interns? Initially, they were spectators on the outside of your corporation, looking in, as they attempted to navigate their way onboard your organization to better themselves, advance their career, and contribute to the greater good of your organization.
Throughout the narrative, the moral is that everyone must begin somewhere. When you begin with the recruiting process, you are able to bring someone on board who has an array of unique and diverse talents that are beyond measure. You hold the key to transforming that remarkable individual into someone who can pivot and flex to change, no matter what the issue may be, no matter how negative or minor it may be.
During the application and hiring process, how do you recognize this critical skill? Here are some tips on how to direct an interview toward determining the most suitable candidate.
- Ask your candidate to describe a time when they had to learn a new task (at their previous job or internship). Make sure the candidate elaborates on the topic. By doing so, it is possible to elaborate on their ability to pivot throughout their career. In order to determine whether they are capable of learning new skills, it is imperative that they list both their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
- Open-ended questions should be used during the interview. If you only ask yes/no questions, you will not be able to learn more about their ability to be flexible in stressful situations. Answers will vary from person to person but will help you gain a greater understanding of who they are as a person and as a potential employee.
- Find out what motivates them to be successful in their profession. The transition to a new career or a career change often requires a considerable amount of effort, motivation, and time. Inquire as to why they would like to be a part of your corporation or in your field of expertise.
- Provide the candidate with a creative writing exercise to complete. While this may seem unimaginable, giving them the opportunity to exercise their skills through creative writing can provide insight into how they would respond in the workplace. Would they be quick to draw conclusions or would they consider multiple obstacles to ensure that they were taking the appropriate course of action? The purpose of this exercise is to provide insight into a person’s personality type and how well he or she responds under pressure.
- Examine their views on the importance of being open to new ideas. Simply asking a candidate if they are open to new ideas or thoughts may not be the best approach. Specifically, why? Let’s face it, people have a tendency to embellish their words in order to appear more appealing. Reroute the question to emphasize their ability to be open-minded without letting them know that’s what your company is seeking. Several methods of recognizing this include reading their empathy towards a problem, telling them they have made a mistake, or offering them some expertise on a particular part of their interview or application process. Observe their reaction. Those who appear easily angered may not be as open-minded as you would like to employ at your company.
- Evaluate their ability to participate in group or team exercises. In spite of the fact that it may seem unorthodox, consider inviting a few interns or employees of your company to work with your candidate on developing a solution for a problem. It may be a simple issue, such as a printer that is no longer working and technical support is not available at this time. The team should work together in order to come up with a viable solution. Fellow team members can provide their insight regarding a candidate’s ability to work well within a team environment. It is often difficult to predict how someone will react without the aid of a group.
- The ultimate test of adaptability is to ask a few “what if” type questions. This will enable you to gauge their performance in various scenarios as well as their past performance both on and off the job. By expressing these scenarios, you can stimulate the candidate’s brain in order to gain a better understanding of their thought process. In addition to being able to observe their response time, you will also be able to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Why is Adaptability a Critical, Much Needed, Desired Skill?
We cannot deny the fact that automation is in our midst. Today, it is even more significant than ever before. Consequently, it is essential to have the right team members available to answer the call whenever something goes wrong within the organization or a new technology skill needs to be learned and applied. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is considered a soft skill. This is sometimes referred to as a people skill or a character trait that can influence how you work with others. Individuals who are adaptable are capable of changing their behavior or action in order to make the most of the current circumstances.
Some organizations may refer to this as the ability to think promptly into the future in order to better predict the outcome of a given situation. As a result of being adaptable, an individual is able to balance work, control, risk, and reward in order to achieve the most successful outcome.
Globally, as the world rapidly changes, everyone can benefit from adaptability, both in the workplace and outside of it. An important skill, this one is much needed and desired by corporations, but is rarely taken into account by them.
Adaptability may be an understated struggle in your organization, but it does not have to be. Identifying individuals who possess this critical skill at the forefront of your organization is the best way to ensure your organization’s success. It is an ability that can be cultivated over time, but without the right individual who possesses it, your organization may not be able to succeed in the long term. Start at the top and prepare to foster adaptability now that you have the capability to do so.