Adapt or Die …? What the Adaptability Quotient means for Talent Management.

It doesn’t take much for us to see the exponential rate of change that is happening before our very eyes - and it’s a hot topic of conversation.  Technology innovations, coupled with new and emerging business models, are making the workplaces of today extremely fluid. Businesses are in a situation where transformational change is the new normal, and the need to  to be agile and continually adapt to stay relevant is crucial. In this ecosystem of persistent flux characterised by rapid change, unpredictability and uncertainty, individuals need to follow suite.

The skills required to perform effectively in the workplaces of today date relatively quickly, and the traditional notion of a formal education based on “once and done” is fast becoming irrelevant.  These days, to truly set yourself up for success - and apart - in this hyper competitive environment you need to be a lifelong learner. At the center of this new paradigm is the ability for individuals to be highly adaptive through learning, unlearning and relearning in a world where existing baselines continually shift.  

The importance of AQ in the workplace.

Described as the ability to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving ecosystem, the Adaptability Quotient (AQ) is has emerged as a key factor for individuals to be able to navigate this new world - a world where continual disruption and volatility is “business as usual”.  Alongside the well-established Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ), AQ is now quickly evolving as a key competency to determine if employees will be successful.

Scholars are drawing attention to the fact we need to transit away from traditional IQ-based thinking, to the innovative AQ-centric approach - the ultimate objective is being able to successfully advance in this rapidly changing world with agility.  We’re already seeing that to be successful in this new world, you need to be able to adapt in real-time to all the external indicators that herald in these changes.

Using A.Q for future organisational success.

The skills required to adequately perform in our roles is rapidly evolving, and most companies learning, training and development processes are not keeping pace to meet these needs. It has become clear that individuals need to take control of this to ensure their long term success. With the adoption of automation this will quickly become a society issue and a recurring topic on the board agenda . To maintain competitiveness, organisations need to enable and empower workers to transform and continually update their skills -  because as we know, the skills mismatch will rapidly become a chasm.

Leading practice firms know that their organisational AQ is simply a collective of individual employee AQ’s.  These organisations are proactively introducing ways to empower their teams to adapt. By having adaptability and resilience top of mind, and in their DNA, they will remain competitive in this world of new business realities. The importance placed on this is clear. The investment in leadership roles like “Chief Adaptability Officer” and “Chief Learning Officer” shows us that organisations know they need to “adapt, or die”.

Even though companies are investing and focussing on hiring employees with high AQ, they also recognise the need to foster a work environment where staff can acquire, refresh and continually update their skills with agility.  Micro learning options through bite-sized modules are now seen as the optimal way to quickly and effectively adapt. More and more we are seeing that people no longer enter a “job for life”, but rather, they’re actively  seeking out opportunities where career progression is a series of developmental experiences. They are more focused on personal and professional growth – as opposed to a hierarchical promotion.

Are you in control of your personal journey in this regard?  I welcome your personal experiences and thoughts on these shifts we are witnessing.