Why Does Adaptability Quotient (AQ) Matter

A Beginner’s Guide to Adaptability Quotient

In a world that’s spinning at warp speed, where change is the only constant, there emerges a superpower so vital, yet so overlooked—welcome to the era of Adaptability Quotient (AQ). It’s not just about surviving the whirlwind of digital revolutions, AI disruptions, climate shifts, and global pandemics; it’s about thriving in it. AQ isn’t a fancy buzzword; it’s the invisible cape that today’s heroes wear as they navigate the uncharted territories of tomorrow. So, why does AQ matter? Because in the grand chessboard of life, it’s the master move that turns obstacles into stepping stones, challenges into opportunities, and the unknown into a playground of possibilities. Strap in, as we embark on a journey to decode AQ, your secret weapon in mastering the art of turning the tide in your favor, no matter the storm.

But don’t worry if you’re not familiar with it. Keep reading my guide on what the adaptability quotient is and why it matters.

What is the Adaptability Quotient?

Let’s start with the adaptability quotient for beginners. The adaptability quotient essentially refers to your ability to cope and adapt when changes happen around you.

So, let’s say that your boss comes up to you at noon and says you must ditch your current project and hurry up on a new project. Someone with a strong AQ will roll with that change and get up to speed on the new project in a hurry. Someone with low AQ will struggle and likely resist with the transition.

AQ and Individuals

Of course, adaptability quotient is about more than just mere adaptability. Someone with good adaptability can embrace a bad idea as easily as a good idea.

At the individual level, AQ also means you can identify what is relevant to a given situation. You can identify changes before they become pressing needs and make conscious choices that prepare you for them.

AQ and Technology

The mind-boggling speed of tech advances over the last 20 years is a strong case for the relevance of AQ. For example, cloud computing was largely the domain of massive corporations and tech specialists ten years ago. Now, small business owners can and often do run most of their business software applications from the cloud.

Those with solid AQ typically reap benefits from learning and embracing things like tech advancements as they occur. It provides them a competitive edge over peers and competitors alike.

AQ and Business

AQ doesn’t just exist at the individual level. You can analyze an entire business for its adaptability quotient. Essentially, you examine how well businesses adapt when faced with rapid technological or market force changes.

Even when reading out of the same playbook, it’s also common for management, managers, and the rest of the workforce to be on different chapters. Often management’s vision and plans are transformational while managers and employees cling to status quo. It’s also not uncommon for management to dig in their heels while employees see opportunities to grow and innovate.

Kodak is probably the classic example of poor AQ at the organizational level. A Kodak employee effectively invented digital photography for them. Yet, Kodak’s management and culture lacked the AQ to shift its focus away from film long enough to recognize the achievement as a license to print money.

Importance of the Adaptability Quotient

Every business owner has seen an employee flounder when confronted by something new. Most business owners see competitors fail when they don’t adjust to paradigm shifts in culture or business. These failures in AQ simply serve as highlights of how the adaptability quotient is important.

Job-Specific Demands

Certain career fields come with more built-in change and unpredictability than others. Law enforcement professionals can often find themselves in situations that evolve fast. Officers who can’t adapt on the fly will struggle.

Surgical, emergency, and acute care medical professionals often themselves with patients who deteriorate fast. Poor AQ will hinder response time in those situations.

Even computer programmers need strong AQ since new frameworks for programming come out all the time. They need adaptability to learn and implement those frameworks quickly.

General Job Success

The need for good AQ isn’t solely a matter of importance in jobs where lives are on the life or for tech pros. It also matters in any job with a lot of customer-facing interactions.

Retailers don’t want cashiers who can’t cope when a customer’s credit card fails and they don’t have cash. Garages don’t want mechanics who won’t learn how an electric engine gets serviced.

Business Success

Business owners who want a business organization with strong AQ must start with employees who demonstrate it. Owners and CEOs must also possess or learn good AQ skills themselves.

Overly rigid thinking, like Kodak’s fixation on film over digital, will always run contrary to AQ. Beware of thoughts or statements like, “We’ve always done it this way,” from yourself or others.

How Does the Adaptability Quotient Work?

A basic AQ assessment measures a few key areas of importance, such as:

  • How gritty and resilient you are
  • How growth minded you are and the level of risk you might take
  • How likely you are to seek another viewpoint
  • How much you prioritize learning

The results give you a snapshot of your AQ as it stands right now. If you took an adaptability quotient test recently and didn’t score well, do not panic. AQ isn’t a fixed quality in you or almost anyone else.

What the test does do is tell you where you can stand to make some improvements in your adaptability skills.

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. This forces you into managing change and uncertainty.

You can boost growth mindedness through strategies like reframing and seeking opinions from neutral third parties. Start with a 30-day YET-I growth challenge. Identify a skill, ability, or attitude that might be limiting your potential. Instead of focusing on why you can’t do something such as “I’m not good with computers,” add “Yet,” then “I will [take some action.]” Make an exercise of it until it becomes an ingrained habit.

Prioritizing learning by setting goals for yourself, such as enrolling in two seminars this year or taking one distance learning course in your industry by the end of next quarter.

The Adaptability Quotient and Your Business

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, make a point to assess both the AQ abilities of your employees as well as the impact your company and its culture might have on people’s ability to grow and innovate. If you don’t know where you or they stand in AQ terms, consider getting the AQTeam assessment for everyone in your organization.

AQPlus is a leader in the future of work. If you want a read on your team’s AQ, contact Ira S Wolfe at AQPlus today or click on the link below to schedule a free consultation.

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First things first: what does grit even mean? You’ve probably heard the advice “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” attributed to coach Kunte Rockne. That quote captures the essence of grit.  The character trait of grit often refers to passion, the consistency of interest, and perseverance, the ability to endure tough times.

For instance, we’ve all experienced setbacks. They could range from struggling to learn a new skill, recovering from an injury, losing a job, or even bankruptcy.

What Does Grit Look Like?

People with high levels of Grit are confident in achieving long-term goals. They are often described as ‘determined’ and ‘hard workers’. No-pain-no-gain might be the grit motto. Gritty people tend to keep going until the work is done. They take pride in finishing what they start. Their mental focus and emotional stamina are very high. They don’t let short-term gains, negative feedback, or hectic schedules deter them. People with high grit are not discouraged easily; they see setbacks and obstacles as challenges that can be overcome with commitment and hard work. Grit, however, is not always a good thing. Gritty people are often so focused on their goals that they get blinded-sided by outside influences and have blind spots when it comes to alternative ideas. 

People with low levels of grit give up quickly. Setbacks and obstacles easily discourage them. When change happens they can find it difficult to stay on course with long-term goals. They flee at the first sign of trouble and often blame others. They start a lot of projects but get discouraged easily. 

How Grit Can Help Your Business

Why is grit something you need to look for when hiring and developing employees? The future of work is full of opportunity but the journey will be anything but certain. Perseverance and passion will be needed in abundance. These are some scenarios where employees with grit become a beneficial trait for your company.

They Understand That Good Things Take Time

Millennials have often been criticized for their need for instant gratification. While it might be true for some of them, grit had to be part of this generation’s makeup. Now in their 30s and 40s, they have endured school shootings, 9/11 terrorism, and the Great Recession…and they are now growing and thriving. It’s only human to get frustrated when we don’t see the instant rewards from our work. Contributing to a project day in and day out, and not getting recognition or confronting bureaucratic idiocy, is disheartening. Many employees may be tempted to just quit.

If your employee has grit, however, they know good things take time. Setbacks are not failures, but part of the journey.  When personal interests align with goals, it’s easier to persevere and feel that your efforts will be rewarded. People with grit stay and push through.