How to Develop Adaptability Skills

Noun: adaptability

  • The quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.
  • The capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.

Why adaptability is important

Organizations are constantly adapting to changes in technology, the market and consumer preferences. Jobs are less defined than they used to be, and employees are more valued if they can keep up with the adjustments. Adaptable employees can also work independently or with team members.

For example, if you’re used to handling the sales statistics and reports internally, and you can also meet with clients to discuss such information, you can be used in different roles.

In 2011, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) released a survey that among its findings showed that less than 10% of employers surveyed felt that post-secondary education prepared students for successful careers. Adaptability was listed as one of the skills they found lacking.

How to develop adaptability

Now that you know this is a valuable quality, how do you develop it? Here are a few things you can practice:

Be open to new ideas.

This is the first step. Be willing to look at things from a different angle and hear other’s opinions. It may not come naturally at first, but as you stop and remind yourself to be open, you’ll become more used to thinking this way.

Get used to saying yes.

If you make it a goal to always say yes when you’re asked to do things, you will learn to be open and discover what you’re capable of.

Roll with the punches.

Being adaptable means sometimes things will go wrong. That’s okay! It’s a part of life, and you should try not to be afraid of mistakes. When they happen, tell yourself that everything will be all right and that you can fix the problem. Learn to trust yourself.

Fake it till you make it

Here’s the real secret: being adaptable isn’t about how you feel but how you respond and the choices you make. For some people change is scary; you don’t have to remove the fear of change from your personality, you just need to project confidence and work through the fear.

Use skill development opportunities

Many organizations provide opportunities to learn new skills; taking advantage of this can prepare you for change. Then you won’t just have an adaptability mindset, you can also take confidence in your ability to adapt.

If you aren’t one of those lucky people who is adaptable by nature, you can follow these steps and develop this important skill. If you’re looking for a new job, highlight your adaptability during the application process. If you’re looking to grow in your current role find opportunities to show your employer how you meet change with a good attitude and enthusiasm.

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