Adaptability and flexibility have meanings which are broadly the same but not identical. Adaptable indicates long-term changes; flexible more short-term alterations. One might adapt to the introduction of a new shift pattern, and be flexible enough to work late next Tuesday.
Teachers adapt lesson plans to accommodate for the physical and intellectual needs of each student. They must also be flexible enough to handle unexpected circumstances, such as sudden illness or emergencies.
A building might be adaptable enough to accommodate a warehouse or a school (a long-term use), or flexible enough to vary the number of rooms by having easily-moved internal walls (a shorter-term change).
Examples of adaptability
- Suspending judgment
- Uncovering and mitigating risks
- Using many resources to ace give tasks
- Willingness to learn new tasks and strategies
- Suggesting unique ways of increasing work output
- Drawing new conclusions from changing information
- Working part-time while pursuing college studies
- Changing plans at the last minute
- Taking risks! Moving into action without a plan - planning on-the-go
- Bouncing back from setbacks with a positive attitude
- Developing a "can do" attitude to change; Enthusiastically responding to unexpected situations
- Adjusting methods to address emergency situations
- Shifting priorities in response to the demands of a situation
Examples of flexibility
- Willingness and ability to readily respond to changing circumstances and expectations.
- Admitting an oversight and suggesting alternative ways to avoid similar mistakes
- Customizing cover letters to emphasize skills which correspond to unique requests of job targets
- Delegating routine tasks to focus on priorities
- Enabling workers to vary arrival and departure times as long a they work required hours
- Keeping calm while managing challenges
- Planning ahead, but having alternative options in case things go wrong
- Thinking quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances
- Persisting in the face of unexpected difficulties
- Anticipating and responding positively to changing environments
- Taking on new challenges at short notice
- Managing changing priorities or workloads
- Handling unexpected circumstances or emergencies
Jobs that require workers to be adaptable and flexible include: Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Event Manager, Public Relations, Journalist, Broadcaster, Mental Health Administrator, Researcher, Teacher, Protective Services (Armed forces, Police work) Lawyer, Management Consultant, Hospitality jobs (hotel and restaurant managers), Self Employed entrepreneurs.
Strengthening adaptability, flexibility and winning Quester traits
- Focus on the positive. Think about who you want to be and do. Believe in yourself. Look for and expect good things to happen. Avoid phrases such as, "I can't."
- Continue to learn. Read, take courses. Challenge conventional beliefs. Find better ways to do things. Place no limitations on yourself.
- Look upon something different or unknown as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If you don't try something new, how will you find out you can do it? View mistakes as learning experiences.
- Use intellect and intuition when making decisions. Research needed information, then use intuition. For example, ask dreams a question before falling asleep, journal, meditate, relax in nature.
- Be authentic. Do what you feel is right for you, not what others think. Your actions should be consistent with your thoughts and feelings. Don't succumb to peer or family pressures
- Manage Fear. Identify worrisome issues. Minimize these by researching relevant information and resources. Live in the present. Let go of "attachments." Form a support system.
- Enhance courage to risk. Review three successful risks taken. Note what made these successful. Identify perceived barriers for taking another risk, and explore ways to overcome these.
- Strengthen resilience. Approach problems from different perspectives. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Take things out of their ordinary context and create new patterns for them. Notice the number of ways you can use eggs or milk cartons. Develop a playful, childlike curiosity. Ask questions, experiment.
- Complete this exercise:
a) Describe a work or personal situation where you showed flexibility by rearranging plans to cope with changing circumstances. (e.g., undertaking a university degree while meeting changing needs of family members;
b) Describe a situation when you demonstrated adaptability.
Questers, described in the award-winning Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, are adaptable, flexible and have other winning traits: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/150840893
Take the Quester quiz: http://www.questersdaretochange.com/services-2/quester-quiz/