Adapt. If You Can’t, Don’t Waste Our Time

Adapt. If You Can’t, Don’t Waste Our Time

Teachers today have the huge task of preparing students for the future workplace. The majority of today’s schoolchildren will have jobs in the next few years that don’t yet exist according to history.  If teachers don’t yet know what these jobs will be, how can students prepare for them? I think the answer is, we really don’t know, so teachers must teach them to at least be adaptable.

Workplaces want employees with an ability to learn and a level of comfort with change.  Skills today have a short shelf life, especially in technology roles. Therefore, people will need to be lifelong learners and adapt to change.

Along these lines enters adaptability quotient, or AQ, the ability of individuals to adapt. In conjunction with the intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), AQ has a place in hiring.

If you could incorporate AQ into the selection process of potential hires, it will improve your effectiveness of your staff.

How do you assess adaptability to impact your workforce?

Discussing adaptability by asking candidates about their past work history helps illustrate how they’ve been adaptable in previous positions.

Ask questions using practical scenarios and random exercises in the interviews. Get your hiring managers involved in the process with questions and observe how they answer the questions.  This style of questioning allows you to hear just how adaptable someone is.  Randomness is key to this process. Adaptability is the opposite of predictability, so random exercises can prevent people from preparing for the test up front.

A combination of valid assessments and behavioral interviews are effective tools.

The hiring managers should understand the role for which they are hiring and what it requires; not all roles will need the people performing them to be adaptable. Use assessments tools that have proven research and validity in measuring certain attributes.

For leadership skills, behavioral based questions in the interviews help to assess adaptability.  Ask for specific situations in which the candidate faced a challenge, how they responded to it and the outcome. If they shifted and shows resourcefulness, then there’s a good chance that they will do the same in the future. Most find that one of the best predictors of future behavior is their past behavior.

The ability for business leaders to adapt sets the tone for the company to change as the book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’, by Marshall Goldsmith explores for the reader.   Companies with agile leaders have more of an ability for their organization to adapt to market forces and ultimately perform better when they create a culture of change when the change is better.

While individuals do need to adapt and learn new skills to remain marketable in the workforce, companies must also change.

With a tight labor market, companies often must reach new hires outside of their industry and thus change onboarding and hiring practices. Hiring managers need training on how to find these nontraditional candidates, and internal leaders must change their expectations of staff. Individuals from a variety of backgrounds might bring with them new ways of thinking that managers could find threatening or abrasive, especially in a company that resists change.

When companies have a culture that does not adapt, there exists the danger of hiring those who have low adaptability quotients and yes, they will fit that organization’s culture, but the organization may be dying a slow death.


If you are looking for a good assessment tool, let me know and I would be glad to share with you some that we feel are most effective for understanding a person’s adaptability quotient.

Onboarding sets the expectations up front for new hires. If you would like more info on executive onboarding, just ask for a free article and we will be glad to share it with you.

Here a great article on 4 steps on Developing Your Adaptability Quotient.

Travis Jones, CEO of Career Development PartnersTRAVIS JONES CEO

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a certified Life Options Retirement Coach and is certified to facilitate and deliver the Manager As Coach Learning Series (MACLS) through CPI, and a certified Career Coach. He previously served on the board of Career Partners International (CPI) and is an equity partner in CPI, offering a global reach with over 350 offices.



Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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