Adaptability of an organism is to alter itself or its responses to the changed circumstances or environment. This blog on ‘Adaptability and Learning’ is a part of workplace readiness which focuses on handling change and acting according to circumstances. As humans are adaptable beings, we adjust ourselves to the environment around us. Though it is a human trait, not everyone is adaptable to environment very easily. We must have adapted to the school and college environment by changing our behaviour, getting used to the general challenges, probably developing strategies. But workplace requires different set of adaptability traits. Adaptability here mostly means handling change. Not being affected by sudden change in plans or projects, accepting it instead of being averse to change is what is required by adaptability at workplace.
According to a famous scientist, Charles Darwin, human survival is not by being most intelligent or strongest but by being most adaptable to the situation. Though we have an adaptable approach, we must stay committed to our goals because being adaptable doesn’t mean changing ourselves completely by forgetting our core ethics and values. Also, in the Indian context, a lot of people ‘adjust’ in life thinking they are adapting, when in real life they are either avoiding conflict or accommodating to make sure there is no issue with anyone. Adapting, is about fully understanding the pros and cons and then taking a decision to follow it with full conviction.
In the blog we will talk about the following –
- Understand the need for change
- Convey willingness to adapt to a changing situation
- Project a positive image towards change
First let us see why we fail to adapt –
- Habit: ‘We have always done it this way’
- Rigid Structure
- Insufficient experimentation
- No compelling reason: ‘Why should I do it?’
- Don’t know HOW to do it
- Fear: ‘What if something goes wrong?’
What are the ways by which we can adapt –
- Developing coping mechanisms and survival tactics
- Developing traits of flexibility
- Changing our behaviour according to the situations
Why is adaptability important for employers?
Changes in technology and diversity in work make employers look for employees who are open to new ideas, methods of work, who can adapt to work pressure and plan alternate solutions when things don’t go as planned.
Traits of an adaptable person
- Fits in work culture easily
- Open to new ideas and change
- Looks for creative solutions
- Can move out of comfort zone
- Productive even under work pressure and stress
- Balances life (professional and personal)
- Experiments and learns new things.
How to become adaptable?
- Accept change
- Try to understand ‘why change’
- Focus on benefits
- Control your emotions
- Be positive
- Understand personal reason for resistance
- Stop defending the old way as the right way
- Embrace the idea of learning and doing something new
- Think Creatively
- Ask for help!
Accepting change is the first and most crucial step. You must be ready for surprises and be willing to learn new things. New job roles or projects will bring new fears and challenges to work on and you must be ready to give your best. Believe that “Change is the only constant” and say more ‘yes’ than ‘no’ to change. Another vital cog in the process of adaptability is to work on solutions. Be open to various perspectives and keep renewing and upgrading your knowledge constantly. Also, work closely as a team to brainstorm to alternate plans.
Adapting at Work
Here are some points on which you will have to adapt quickly in an organization –
- Work Style
- Attitude of Leaders
Showing your colleagues that you are ready for the job role and challenges –
- Show alertness in behavior
- Be upfront and excited
- Be strong in your body language
- Try not to complain..it shows on your face!
Telling your colleagues that you are ready for the job role and challenges –
- Use positive phrases.. Yes. Of course. Sure
- Support the change maker.. I agree with you
- Tell them you are with them
- Offer extras.. Please tell me if there is anything extra you want me to do
- Point to a positive end… We will be able to do this
Remember, constant learning is the key to handle constant change. What are the ways of constant learning?
- Reading magazines on current affairs
- Free ebooks download
- TED talks
- YouTube self help/technical/educational videos
- Reading the newspaper
- Audio books
- Researching ways to continue specialization in a certain field
- Find courses- online or otherwise and join them
- Interact more with people who are knowledgeable, and hear their ideas and concepts
- Distance learning courses