“Adaptive agility” is a must if you don’t want to fall into the inability-to-adapt trap. To be successful, women must be savvy at handling the many changes they face in everyday life, says Christine Riordan, PhD, president of Adelphi University.
Dealing with change—using what she calls “adaptive agility”—was the focus of a talk Riordan presented at the AMA Women’s Leadership Center’s 1-Day Professional Women’s Event in March.
Using adaptive agility to succeed through change
Riordan explains that adaptive agility is a skill that will help you thrive despite constant change. She shares six career strategies to help women successfully adapt to change:
Learn to recognize change in the environment. Avoid wearing blinders. Instead, be savvy about what’s happening so you can act accordingly.
Home in on how work demands are different. Recognize that you need to be different because the environment is now different. Determine how you need to be different.
Assess your capacity and willingness to adapt. Decide if you’re willing to adapt to the changes. In some cases, you may decide that the change isn’t for you and opt for another environment that better aligns with your goals.
Adapt! Develop a new mindset, new skills, and new behaviors. Riordan shares a useful tool women can leverage when considering or going through a change. She suggests they think through a change they are experiencing and articulate where they are moving from and where they are moving to (or desire to move to). Then, they can list the behaviors needed to accommodate the change.
For example, if you are moving from being an individual contributor to a supervisor, your needed behaviors might include being confident, open-minded, tactful, or credible. The exercise can help women discover insights for framing strategies to accelerate their careers. By taking the driver’s seat, they can proactively manage the change.
Evaluate your performance results. Do your own performance review. Evaluate how you’re doing as a result of the change. Awareness yields opportunities for further transformation.
Develop your resilience and continuously improve. Building a resilient muscle will set you up for success. In her workshop, Riordan shares stories of resilience, including one about a runner who was slowing down and thought he would have to retire soon. But he learned of a new training technique that was different than how he’d ever trained before. He tried the new regimen and soon was having record-breaking results. This was achieved through his resiliency and his desire to constantly improve, Riordan says.
Preparing for what’s next
What changes are you dealing with, and how will you equip yourself with new learning to better adapt to the changes? “People who have adaptability have a sense of continuous improvement,” shares Riordan.
As a next step, women must earmark some time to think through the roadmap for their career. Remember to recognize change, document how you need to be different, assess your adaptability meter, adapt, evaluate your performance, and stay resilient.
AMA’s Women’s Leadership Center is where women build supportive networks and learn skills to help them succeed at work. Find out about the benefits of WLC membership as well as upcoming events.