Boost Adaptability and Flexibility
Boost Adaptability and Flexibility

To succeed in our continuously changing world we must embrace new ideas and technologies, and strengthen Quester traits such as adaptability and flexibility described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life

Adaptability and flexibility have meanings which are broadly the same but not identical. Adaptable indicates long-term changes; flexible suggests more short-term alterations. One might adapt to the introduction of a new shift pattern, and be flexible enough to work late next Wednesday.

Teachers adapt lesson plans to accommodate for the physical and intellectual needs of each student. They must also be flexible enough to handle unexpected circumstances, such as sudden illness or emergencies

A building might be adaptable enough to accommodate a warehouse or a school (a long-term use), or flexible enough to vary the number of rooms by having easily-moved internal walls (a shorter-term change).

Adaptability Examples

  • Suspending judgment
  • Uncovering and mitigating risks
  • Using many resources to ace given tasks
  • Willingness to learn new tasks and strategies
  • Suggesting unique ways of increasing work output
  • Drawing new conclusions from changing information
  • Working part-time while pursuing college studies
  • Changing plans at the last minute
  • Taking risks! Moving into action without a plan - Planning on-the-go
  • Bouncing back from setbacks with a positive attitude
  • Developing a "can do" attitude to change
  • Shifting priorities in response to the demands of a situation

Flexibility Examples

  • Willingness and ability to readily respond to changing circumstances and expectations.
  • Admitting an oversight and suggesting alternative ways to avoid similar mistakes
  • Customizing cover letters to emphasize skills which correspond to unique requests of job targets
  • Delegating routine tasks to focus on priorities
  • Enabling workers to vary arrival and departure times as long a they work required hours
  • Keeping calm while managing challenges
  • Planning ahead, but having alternative options in case things go wrong
  • Thinking quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances
  • Persisting in the face of unexpected difficulties
  • Anticipating and responding positively to changing environments
  • Taking on new challenges at short notice
  • Managing changing priorities or workloads

Job categories that require workers to be adaptable and flexible include: Sales, Marketing, Advertising jobs, Event Manager, Publicist, Journalist, Broadcaster, Mental Health Administrator, Researcher, Teacher, Protective Services workers (military, police, firefighters) Lawyer, Management Consultant, Hospitality jobs (hotel and restaurant managers), Self Employed entrepreneurs.

Take the Quester Quiz to clarify adaptability, flexibility and other Quester traits:

Strengthening adaptability and flexibility
- Know who you are and what you want. Focus on desired goals, but be open to changing circumstances.
- Focus on the positive. Think about who you want to be and do. Believe in yourself. Look for and expect good things to happen. Avoid phrases such as, "I can't."  
- Don't hold grudges or blame others. Listen, understand, make needed changes and move on.
- Be open to new ideas and strategies and adapt to changing circumstances. Continue to learn. Read, take courses. Challenge conventional beliefs. Find better ways to do things. Place no limitations on yourself.
- Look upon something different or unknown as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If you don't try something new, how will you find out you can do it? View mistakes as learning experiences.
- Use intellect and intuition when making decisions.  Research needed information, then use intuition. For example, ask dreams a question before falling asleep, journal, meditate, relax in nature. 
- Be authentic. Do what you feel is right for you, not what others think. Your actions should be consistent with your thoughts and feelings. Don't succumb to peer or family pressures.
- Manage Fear. Identify worrisome issues. Minimize these by researching relevant information and resources. Live in the present. Let go of "attachments." Form a support system.
- Enhance courage to risk. Review three successful risks taken. Note what made these successful. Identify perceived barriers for taking another risk, and explore ways to overcome these. 
- Strengthen resilience. Approach problems from different perspectives. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Take things out of their ordinary context and create new patterns for them. Notice the number of ways you can use egg or milk cartons. Develop a playful, childlike curiosity. Ask questions, experiment. 

- Describe a work or personal situation where you showed flexibility. For example, working for a college degree while meeting changing demands of family members. In addition, recount a situation where you demonstrated adaptability.

Questers Dare to Change provides additional tips for bolstering Quester traits required for success in uncertain times:  
Author bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within You!  Dr. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Carole Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.