Defining Adaptability and How to Build it Into Your Business
Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting
The famed quote by Charles Darwin may be cliche and overused in some ways but it is, now more than ever, incredibly relevant: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Covid-19 forced business and leaders to adapt to new and unforeseen circumstances and the result for many was failure because of an inability to adapt. However, those companies that have survived have, in many cases, also thrived and have shown us that adaptability in a business model and in HR is a necessity. In this article we will discuss some ways to incorporate adaptability into your business model and practices.
Adaptability is so important to the structure of a successful and lasting organization that the National Institutes of Health have defined the application of adaptability as it relates to business as follows:
- Understands changes in work tasks, situations, and environment as well as the basis for change.
- Persists towards solutions and goals in changing circumstances.
- Acknowledges new information and adjusts responses accordingly.
- Adjusts timelines, results and expectations appropriately to changing needs.
- Overcomes obstacles to achieve results.
- Thinks and acts effectively under pressure.
- Identifies ways to incorporate new practices into existing frameworks.
- Remains flexible and open to new ideas and encourages others to value change.
What we can take away from this is that adaptability in many cases shows up as the deep understanding of a business’ framework and the understanding that a business and its solutions are not linear. Harvard Business Review suggests that frameworking for unforeseen circumstances are at their best when input is taken, not just from HR, but from employees in every department who have a greater perception of how unusual circumstances can affect their metrics. This is a fairly innovative concept considering that before the Covid-19 Pandemic, HR was fairly separate from other departments in terms of operations; but it is a concept that can benefit any business.
As we continue to make our way through unforeseen circumstances in the workplace, it is important that we keep in mind that being adaptable will help us thrive as businesses and individuals. Using the points above can help us understand how to bring adaptability into our business and gives us a framework for building tools that will help our businesses thrive.