Adaptability as a skill refers to the ability of a person to change his actions, course or approach to doing things in order to suit a new situation.
We constantly change our lifestyles because our world is changing always. When there is shortage of a commodity in the market, we switch our demand to substitute goods. That is an example of adaptability.
Adaptability is not just about changing something or adjusting to a situation. It encompasses being able to effect changes in a course of action with smoothness and timeliness, without any major setbacks.
For as long as there are many uncontrollable factors in our environment such as laws and economic factors, it is necessary to acquire this skill.
Importance of adaptability
It is quite easy to downplay the essence of adaptability. However, it is one of the key skills or factors that keep many multinational companies running. It is also the reason why some professional connoisseurs never get outdated – Their services are in high demandalways.
Supposing your manager just installed a new manufacturing machine, how quickly will you get used to its operation? What if you just got a new superior who is extremely strict and almost impossible to please? Would you be able to cope with him for long?
For a businessman, entrepreneur, or manager, the ability to adjustan organization’s internal systems easily to conform to other external environmental factors such as raw materials and economic variables is a very necessary skill. It is an effective way to sustainthe business and reduces the risk of suffering organizational crisis.
For employees, it is imperative that you develop adaptability skills. New educational programs and courses are introduced every now and then, new rules and regulations spring up within organizations and industries etc. It is therefore necessary to adjust smoothly and quickly to such changes with very little difficulties.
How to improve on the skill of adaptability
Adaptability is a natural skill. It can be developed and mastered as well. Here are some tips to help improve this skill.
- Observe and monitor changes in your environment: You will not see the need for a change until you notice changes in your environment. Adaptability must not be easy only but timely as well. Always make a conscious effort to monitor trends, values, attitudes etc. Compare present observations with past ones and find out what has changed. For instance: Low customer retention rate despite an increased sales figure is an indication that there are disgruntled old customers who need to be attended to.
- Be willing to learn: Observation alone is not enough. If the result of your observations suggests you need to learn something new, do not hesitate to do so. While you can learn some things on your own when furnished with appropriate educational resources, others may requiretutorials from specialists. Don’t decline to use the services of a professional tutor if necessary.
- Avoid procrastination: Don’t just be willing to learn. Take the necessary course of action. Remember that adaptations are more effective when the action is taken earlier. For instance: Your competitors started diversifying after the industry faced a decline and an inevitable collapse. However, you started a new trade after the old industry had collapsed totally. By then, while you are now a novice with a very small customer base, they would have a built a wider network of customers and suppliers in the new industries.
- Acknowledge the fact that changes are bound to occur: Though it is difficult to let goa norm, you should know it is people who matter, not you. If customers or employees no longer need that product or expertise of yours, accept it and try newer ventures.