“It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the ones that are the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin (1860’s)

Are you surprised that adaptability has become the key predictor of success in our current work world? People who can complete whatever work they’re given and anticipate what’s coming next jump ahead of workers who stay tethered to a specific job description and scope of work.

It’s no longer enough to do the job you were hired to do, you also need to do the things that get thrown at you randomly. Like this: “Yes, we hired you to write a blog, but we need you to make sure it’s SEO optimized, too. Oh, and push it out to social media.” The adaptable worker will say, “Sure!” and figure out how to make it happen.

Need some help becoming adaptable? Try these.

1) Stay current.

Read about your industry, your favorite skillset, and trends regularly. Don’t get caught in a meeting or conversation not knowing exactly what social media is, or CX, or whatever the hot topic/concept is in your business. People who can talk intelligently about the latest info in their industry show that they’re staying ahead of the learning curve. You can find industry info on LinkedIn (do not not not say you’re not on LinkedIn – it’s standard business practice to be on it – do it – and join some industry groups). Don’t get caught with an obsolete point-of-view.

2) Say “yes” to requests.

Even if you don’t understand how to execute (how do you optimize SEO anyway??). Even when you’re screaming “I have no idea” in your head. Say yes. No, I’m not gonna tell you what SEO is. See #3.

3) Google the things you don’t understand.

Google and YouTube are the keys to success. Trust me on this. I’ve learned my whole business on LinkedIn, Google, and YouTube. They are the keys to the kingdom. The more you use them, the more effective they become – and the more adaptable you become.

4) Ask a younger (or older) co-worker for help.

Their point-of-view and input will give you a different perspective. Please don’t make the mistake of discounting them just because of their bad press. If you can identify the movers and shakers in the younger set (or the older set) and learn from their point-of-view, you will automatically become more adaptable. And, bonus for everybody, you will give them an opportunity to shine. I love working with people in their 20’s. They keep me on my toes with their fresh ideas and approach towards work.

5) Keep saying “Yes.”

To new experiences. To different responsibilities. To things you don’t think you can do. The keys to adaptability are grit and resilience. The grit to persist until you figure out what to do and the resilience to try again if (when) you fail.

Practice!

When you practice being adaptable, you become adaptable. And people who are adaptable learn faster than those who aren’t.

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”  Arie DeGeus (2000’s)

Watch. Read. Learn.

Read: How to Demonstrate Adaptability via chron.com

Read: 4 Powerful Ways to Figure Out What You Should be Doing in Your Career  via Forbes.com

Read: How to Brainstorm Like the Best of Them via themuse.com

Watch: Adaptability

Watch: The 90% Rule via Marie Forleo