Adaptability: A Lifehack for Leadership
What is adaptability?
The concept of adaptability, as developed by Dr. Michael O’Connor, co-author of The Platinum Rule®, is a two-part process:
- Flexibility is your willingness to adapt. It is your attitude.
- Versatility is your ability to adapt. It is your aptitude.
The first half of the high adaptability formula – Flexibility
- Confidence – you believe in yourself, you trust your own judgment and resourcefulness.
- Tolerance – you are open to accepting opinions and practices that are different from your own.
- Empathy – a deep understanding of another person’s situation.
- Positiveness – a positive attitude leads to positive events in your life.
- Respect for others – the sincere desire to understand and consider other people’s choices, commitments and needs in relation to your own.
Beware! These are traits that undermine your ability to successfully adapt:
- Rigidity -“It’s my way or the highway”
- Competition with others – “I’m smarter, prettier, etc., thank you”
- Discontent – “No, I don’t like it this way. Why can’t we…”
- Unapproachable – “Don’t bother me unless it’s worth my time and you agree with me”
- Difficulty with Ambiguity – “Let’s nail this down right now”
The second half of the high adaptability formula – Versatility
- Resilience – knowing how to overcome setbacks, barriers and limited resources. If you keep on going until you succeed, that is resilience.
- Vision – having the power to imagine, be creative, and suggest alternatives.
- Attentiveness – knowing when to act and when not to act. It means paying attention to more than your own needs.
- Competence – begins with expertise. In addition, it also involves a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your specialty. It means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
- Self-correction – once you initiate a project, you ask for feedback and place a high priority on problem solving, not on being right. It is being able to say, “I think this approach isn’t working. I’d better try something different.”
Beware! There are traits that undermine your ability to successfully adapt:
- Subjectiveness – “This is the way it looks to ME”
- Bluntness – “That’s a stupid idea!”
- Resistance – “This is the way we’ve always done it”
- Single-mindedness – “It’s my goal and nothing else matters”
- Unreasonable Risk-taking – “I’m going to jump, won’t you come with me?”
Adaptable people meet other peoples’ needs as well as their own. They know how to negotiate relationships in a way that allows everyone to win. With adaptability, you are practicing what I call The Platinum Rule® – treating other people the way they want and need to be treated.