You’ve heard it before: The only thing that remains the same in today’s organizations is change. Change is inevitable but it is also more copious, rapid and complex than ever before.

Knowing it exists is not the same as dealing with it effectively. [click to tweet] Organizations rise or fall based largely on their ability to react to, manage, control, and introduce change, but you may have little or no understanding of or training in navigating the process of change.

If you can gain insight into the behaviors that make up adaptability – a term thrown around a lot without a concrete definition or understanding of what it means – it will help you face change and transition.

To help clarify, learn the three main components of adaptability: cognitive, dispositional and emotional.

Cognitive Adaptability

Adaptability requires effective interpretation of change. Acknowledge that change has occurred, then address key aspects of the change.  Identify how the change will affect the way the organization functions.

  • Formulate alternative strategies and be a divergent thinker.
  • Let go of old roles and ideas, identify and embrace new roles, come up with new tactics and action plans, and contemplate totally new directions.
  • Consider the implications of change for others and communicate it throughout the organization, including top management.

Dispositional Adaptability

The ability to remain optimistic — but, at the same time, realistic — is one of the linchpins of adaptability.  With dispositional adaptability, you need to remain highly involved during times of change — not “checking out” emotionally or physically, but staying excited, energetic, and engaged.

  • Approach change not as a threat but as an opportunity. [click to tweet]
  • Take the attitude that you can continue to be effective in the new environment.
  • Encourage others in the organization or  team to go with the flow of change.

Emotional Adaptability

Resistance to change is natural; recognition and awareness of change are the keys to the emotional element of adaptability.  It’s all right for you to admit resistance to change – denying your emotions eventually will resurface and have to be dealt with then.

  • Don’t let emotions get the best of you.
  • Maintain balance and remain on task.

Please add your own suggestions for successfully adapting to change.

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