Adaptability is the ability to change according to the times using technological and social innovation to attain success. It is a necessary skill required in this world. One must master the technique of anticipating the future and change course if necessary.
Life is Unpredictable Even for the Successful so Learn to Adapt
Tiger Woods, a famous golf player, faced a dip in his career in 2009. His performance was affected due to his personal issues. His sponsors left him due to many rumours. But this did not bring him down. He showed the importance of adaptability when faced with troubles. He worked hard and got back his number one rank. Woods is the perfect example of “High Adaptability, High Achievement People” or HAHAs. People who can laugh when they are faced with setbacks and find their way back to the top. They focus on the solution rather than the problems. They look at the bright side of life even during troubles and are determined to achieve their goals. They will ask for help and support when they need to reassert themselves.
Perfect the Art of Adaptability to Succeed
During the financial crisis of 2008, the US government offered aid to the car manufacturing company Ford. But they declined the offer. The aid could solve their short-term liquidity issues but not all their problems. They launched an alternative strategy to produce more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars. This led to an increase in their global share from 7.3% to 15% in 2005. Their constant search for improvements allowed them to stay ahead in the market and helped them anticipate market changes before their competitors.
Adaptability Might Also Mean Swimming against the Current
One way of adapting is defending the status quo. Resisting trends and following one’s own path has helped a lot of companies. Jeans manufacturing company Levi Strauss has changed their traditional way of producing jeans which consumed a lot of resources. They not only focused on their profits. They found a way to improve their manufacturing process such that it reduced the water consumption by 96%.
Adaptability an Innate Part of the Way Brain Functions
In 1985, Pedro Bach-y-Rita, a Spanish teacher, suffered from a massive stroke and was left paralyzed. His doctors claimed that there was nothing they could do. However, his sons who were medical students were unhappy with this diagnosis. They tried to physically re-educate their father. They taught him to crawl and later moved on to difficult tasks like catching balls. He made progress and a year later he went back to his work as a teacher. The undamaged parts of the brain took control of the damaged ones. The human brain has the capacity to adapt and change, it is not static.
Learn from Mistakes and Resist the Urge to Go Back to Square One
Learning from mistakes, ideally from others is a technique of adaptability. In the 1950s, every British car manufacturers were producing powerful, fuel consuming cars. They overlooked the young, urban, and environment friendly people. German car makers took advantage of that situation and produced compact micro-cars and British car manufacturers suffered a huge loss. One company learned from the mistakes and produced a new style which catered to the needs of the customers.
Experimentation is Crucial to Adaptability
Experimentation is the foundation for effective adaptation. In 1940, Hitler ordered the shut down of all the weapon development research that took more than six months. This had a huge negative impact on them on the Second World War as their oppositions allowed experimentation of the weapons. This not only helped them in war but also in businesses. Whenever the new products of Apple get negative reception, they dive back into experimentation and bring in a superior alternative. When the first hand-held computer was error-prone, the designers used the prototype to create iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Don’t Rush and Don’t Fail to Think Ahead
While driving, if you push your car too hard, you will lose control and crash. This is similar to a business. Netflix realized the future of movie streaming before its competitors. They streamed ahead but were too early for customers. During that time, rentals were more common. When they pushed their customer base, it backfired. Eventually, they got better and adapted. However, they could have their success much earlier if they haven’t pushed harder.
Failing to expect changes does even more damage. Blockbuster was number one in the movie rental business. They were unaware of the streaming revolution in the market. They had a more favorable market than Netflix. Had they changed into streaming they would have been more successful. They went bankrupt as they failed to adapt to the realities.
Success can breed complacency and you will lose sight of your goals. The dominant position of Starbucks in the market made them ignore their customers. This resulted in the closing down of over 900 stores. It was the radical reforms of Howard Schultz that brought back Starbucks. He trained all the baristas and closed down 7000 outlets in the USA. He realized that to maintain customer loyalty one has to give a good cup of coffee along with a selection of cakes and pastries. Adaptability is important when you are faced with struggles. Don’t rush. Keep experimenting and have an open mind.
Adaptability is looking ahead and reading the signs to take the necessary steps. Once you learn this, you can plan ahead and avoid sudden changes. Be ready to change, experiment for new solutions and adapt to the needs of those you cater to. Believe in yourself and in the impossible.
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