In today’s changing world we regularly experience business owners who are overwhelmed with problems and often get stuck in not knowing how to move forward.  In all fairness, change often requires that we take a course of action that is new and unproven, however, procrastinating a decision can amount to a great deal of stress, while the problem may be left unresolved.

When business owners reach out to us for help, we usually engage with them in a brainstorming session as we examine options and put forward recommendations.  Ultimately, they are the ones that need to decide on their choice of action based on potential new possibilities. When you sit and analysis what was needed to for a business owner to move forward it always comes down to adaptability. Think about it. Our ability to be open and adaptable to change is often the key element to our success. Experts agree that when we get stuck in a rut and in rigid thinking, the lack of flexibility and adaptability to strategy is often the cause of our failure in business.


In 2011, Harvard Business Review published an article abouthow adaptability was the “new competitive advantage.” Flash forward 10 years, and resilience is beyond a trend. To succeed in a globalised world where we not only compete against each other, but have to also deal with ongoing technology advances, adaptability is vital for any form of success.

So, what does adaptability mean, and how can you strengthen it in your business life? In 1996, Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dr. Michael O’Connor published The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success. They took the Golden Rule of “doing unto others as you would like done to you” and tweaked it. For them, the driver for success became doing unto others as they would like done to them.


In an article by Dr Alessandra, published much later, he explained the meaning of adaptability. In summary, the quality of resilience has two essential components. The first is flexibility, and the second is your attitude. As Alessandra expressed about adaptability, it combines flexibility with versatility. Flexibility is your willingness to adapt – it’s your attitude. Versatility is your ability to adapt. It’s your aptitude.


Alessandra described five components someone should have to attain a high level of flexibility:

  • Respect for people
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Tolerance
  • Positiveness

He also said that someone who did not have a high degree of flexibility may have challenges with ambiguity, being discontent and being in continual competition with everyone else.


Alessandra also pointed out that people with a high degree of versatility have specific characteristics: attentiveness, competence, and resilience. Versatile people have a vision for the future and the ability to self-correct. People who are not versatile are resistant to change and single-minded. As an example, when someone becomes so paranoid about one aspect of the business, e.g. their poor sales figures, and neglect to identify the issue that is holding back the sales.


When we brainstorm with a business owner the breakthrough comes when they are willing to self-correct and recognise that there was another course of action that they needed to implement.  To achieve this, they need to be willing to be adaptable and try a different approach.  For example, if the figures aren’t coming in, they may need to check if their services and products are a little outdated and need reviewing and updating to better meet their clients’ needs. This is often a common issue that we encounter – their services are several years behind what current consumer have come to expect.  


To create a high degree of adaptability, you should develop more meaningful business relationships with others. If you are mindful of being respectful to others or having empathy, your relationships are only bound to deepen. In other words, when people see that you care about them and caring enough to service their needs, rather than focusing on what will bring the dollar into your business, this will gain their trust and make it easier for them to invest in your recommendations. When you help someone without expecting anything in return, something happens. You get goodwill returned to you.


When you increase your aptitude for your adaptability, you develop strong skills that will be useful in your business. For instance, no business owner can be successful without vision. It is vital to see a future for the success of your business because it inspires your team to follow you. Also, when you self-correct by asking for feedback, you allow yourself to get out of your head. Listen to what others have to say about your business to gain new ideas, insight, and ways of doing things.

If you feel stuck and wish to bounce some thoughts with an expert, why not call APAN and book a session. We are here to help 07 55930360  These sessions are free of charge for financial members.