Becoming Adaptable

Are you adaptable?

I am reminded of a conversation I had with Greg Hartle who spent 18 months doing something I thought was crazy.  He started with $10 and a laptop and travelled around the US meeting people in transition and helping them.  He blogged about it, took odd jobs when he could, and spoke to groups about his journey (fyi – before his trip he almost died from kidney failure – so there was quite a story there).

One observation he made was that the key ability he saw as critical to the people he was meeting in career transitions was the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn.  For me, it was a simple, yet profound statement as I work with organizations and leaders in growth transitions.  Here are two thoughts . . .

1.  It does not mean abandon your values and beliefs.  Adaptable is ‘able to change or be Are you adaptable?  Success in business and in life means understanding and managing the changes that approach.  Transitions as leaders, parents, spouses, friends are full of moments where the current way of doing things/reacting will not work, and we have to ask ourselves – in order to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose.’  If you have to work for an organization with a social focus – great!  If we are being asked to build a process around sales so others can do what we do and do it the same way and we resist – hmm?

2. It does mean that when we find ourselves stuck or frustrated, the first question we need to ask is “What about this situation frustrates me?”  At the core of our answer is the issue, and in my experience most often the issue is in our recognition of the change and how we will have to adapt to operate in the new normal.

One habit that helps this – When entering change conversations – once we process the issue and the end goal, to simply ask “To be successful, what do we need to: Keep doing? Start doing?  Stop doing?”

As a person – I go back to Greg’s observation – “Based on what challenges I face – What do I need to: Learn?  Unlearn? Relearn?”