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Reimagining our post pandemic world means each and everyone of us needs adaptability. Each of us will have to ask and answer questions that no human ever has had to ask before. And the time we have to find the answer and figure out our next steps will grow shorter and shorter.

That is one reason why AQ, or adaptability quotient, has catapulted in exponential fashion past both IQ and EQ on the list of essential job and life skills. In an intensifying race with the clock of change, humans must find a way to remain relevant and differentiate ourselves from technology that blurs science fiction and reality.

Fortunately, the adaptability quotient is just that uniquely human ability that will keep us relevant as we rapidly enter the Fourth Industral Revoluation and a Never-Normal era.

What is Adaptability Quotient

Let’s start with defining the adaptability quotient for beginners. The adaptability quotient refers to your ability to not just cope with change but to adapt and grow stronger because of it. AQ is about the ability to think about opportunity in the right way. AQ turns knowing when to keep going and knowing when to quit and shift directions into an art

So, let’s say that life throws you a curveball like a pandemic, the loss of your job, a divorce or separation. For business, it might be a new competitor that takes your best customers or an abrupt loss of market share. In this new world where abnormal is normal and uncertainty is certain, your ability to flex, bounce back, and endure is essential. Individuals (and organizations) with strong AQ will not only survive but thrive. People with low AQ will struggle with even the simplest disruption to the status quo.

AQ and Individuals

Of course, AQ is about more than just flexibility and agility, the ability to react to change. It’s more than grit and endurance or the ability to bounce back,

At the individual level, AQ also means you can quickly and adeptly consider the implications of thoughts and beliefs that might be contradictory to our own
reality. You can anticipate changes before they transform uncertainty into disruption. You can make decisions and accept that mistakes might be made. When change is necessary, high AQ individuals don’t just survive and endure but grow stronger as a result of it.

AQ and Technology

The mind-boggling speed of technogicial disruption over the last 20 years is a strong case for the importance of AQ. For example, arguments against working from home were critical in the slow adoption of a remote workforce. Then almost overnight in early 2020, millions of people were sent home to work due to COVID-19. And guess what? Despite a rough start, people and businesses adapted. Some survived while others thrived to the point that many organizations are adopting remote work as a viable and maybe even vital path forward.

Those with highly developed AQ typically reap benefits from learning, unlearning, and embracing technology to improve performance. AQ provides the
competitive edge over peers and competitors a like.

AQ and Business

AQ doesn’t just exist at the individual level. Organizations have an AQ too. Essentially, AQ is the change readiness metric that reveals how well your business will adapt when faced with unexpected and/or rapid technological or market force changes.

Kodak is probably the classic example of poor AQ at the organizational level. Kodak management framed itself as a chemical company. When a Kodak employee invented digital photography for them, they didn’t see the writing on the wall but a cannibalization of their business and industry. In AQ terms, Kodak was stuck in a Utilize & Improve mindset, playing to protect what they had and forgoing an opportunity to disrupt and pioneer the future of imaging. Kodak’s management lacked the AQ to shift its focus away from film long enough to recognize transformational innovation standing at its doorstep.

Importance of the Adaptability Quotient

Every business owner has seen an employee flounder when confronted by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Most business owners see competitors fail when they don’t adjust to paradigm shifts in culture or business. Just look at the remarkable failures of Kodak, Blockbuster, Circuit City, and Kmart. These lapses in AQ serve as highlights of how an organization’s change readiness and ability to exploit and transform can make or break a company or person.

Job-Specific Demands

Nearly every job going forward will require some ability to adapt. Research suggests that nearly two-thirds of all jobs will be at least one-third automated. In fact, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, “Up to 25 million jobs might be
eliminated in the next few years.”

Certain career fields come with more built-in change and unpredictability than others. For example, law enforcement professionals often find themselves in situations that degrade fast. Officers who can’t adapt on the fly put themselves, their partners, and innocent citizens at risk. But it’s not just
criminal activities that require a quick response.

Consider the volatility of race relations and response to social injustive we witnessed last year. High AQ ensures that law enforcement can not only manage a tense situation, but rebound and endure a tragic event. And maybe most important, high AQ allows you to identify the opportunities to do better and grow stronger.

Another example is this. The vulnerabilities of our fragile healthcare system were laid bare, thanks to the pandemic. Entering the third year of the pandemic and beds are still full, COVID tests are in short supply, and nurses and other providers are quiting in record numbers. Expecting and waiting for normal to return clearly isn’t the best decision one can make.

But let’s give credit where credit is due. It’s remarkable how many organizations and providers adapted quickly to war-like conditions. But everyone and everything has its breaking point. To ensure things don’t go back to “normal” and set us up for a future failure, health care management,
suppliers, and providers must look for ways to challenge old beliefs and evolve faster and stronger.

Our pandemic response was built for an era that no longer exists. The pandemic, however, isn’t an isolated event. Our lives will continue to be interupted and disrupted more frequently and more intensely, whether the shift forced upon us is caused by climate events, social tensions, or political unrest. VUCA (Volatile-Uncertain-Complex-Ambiguous) type change is our new normal . AQ will be required to design a dynamic personal and corporate approach to life that embraces perpetual uncertainty and transformative complexity.

Business Success

Business owners who want a business organization with a strong AQ must start with employees who demonstrate it and identify opportunities to help grow it in others. But future success will also require that Owners and CEOs walk the talk and develop their own AQ as well as create an AQ culture that supports VUCA-like change.

Beware of thoughts or statements like, “We’ve always done it this way,” from yourself or others. Overly rigid thinking, like Kodak’s fixation on film over digital or management’s belief that remote work won’t work, will always run contrary to AQ.

How Does the Adaptability Quotient Work?

An AQ assessment should measure and focus on three critical key areas of importance:

  • Your personal adapt-Ability
  • Your personality Character
  • Your personal and business Environment

The AQai, completed in 20-25 minutes, gives you a snapshot of your personal AQ. But like a diagnostic x-ray, the assessment tool doesn’t cure cancer. The AQai doesn’t improve your AQ but it provides a baseline and comprehensive blueprint on how to adapt, adjust, and grow.

AQai results compare your change readiness to others and suggest a roadmap for you to
improve your AQ. What the AQ assessment does tell you is where you can stand to make some improvements in your adaptability skills or what changes you need to make in your environment, aka company culture. The good news is that AQ isn’t a fixed quality in you or anyone else. You don’t pass or fail. All of us, no matter our job, industry, or our stage of life, will need to adapt. Adaptability is now everyone’s full-time job! The higher your AQ, the more likely you’ll grow and thrive.

Boosting Your AQ

Boosting your AQ works in much the same way as boosting any other skills. If you struggle with overall adaptability, you can make a habit of saying yes to activities you might normally take a pass on. The more you practice, the more courage, confidence, and hope you develop. Then when confronted with one of those uncertain and complex moments, you can respond to change forcefully and positively.

With social uncertainty and technological change everywhere, the adaptability quotient of you and your employees will play a crucial role in your long-term success.

If you know you struggle with key areas of adaptability, such as grit, resilience, or growth mindset, make a point to hone those skills and model the right behaviors for your employees. If you don’t know where you or they stand in AQ terms, consider getting the assessment for everyone in your organization. Each employee will receive a confidential report and roadmap to boost their AQ and you will receive a TeamAQ report that reveals your organization’s change readiness and reskilling index.

You have goals. We have a way to get you there.

Are you ready to make change work for you and your organization?

Success Performance Solutions specializes in employee and pre-employment testing and our founder is one of the 1st consultants certified in AQ data science, business insights, and report interpretation. Click below to schedule a free consultation or request a demo with our certified AQ advisor.