Adaptability Quotient: Why It Matters?

Adaptability Quotient: Why It Matters?


What is Adaptability?

Adaptability is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as "the ability to respond appropriately to modified or changing settings; the ability to modify or adjust one's behavior in encountering different circumstances or other persons" This term has been expanded to encompass not only cognitive and behavioral modulation, but also emotional control in the face of change, novelty, variability, and uncertainty. This is known as the 'tripartite' adaptability standpoint

How is it formed?

Adaptation, according to Swiss Jean Piaget's theory, is one of the key processes governing cognitive growth. The adaptation process comprises two stages: assimilation and accommodation.

People assimilate the outside world's information by converting it to fit their own thoughts and concepts. Sometimes new knowledge can be easily integrated into existing knowledge.

Consider this to be a mental database. When information falls into one of the database's predefined categories, it can be rapidly and simply digested.

This procedure, however, does not always function perfectly, especially during initial development. Here's a good example: Consider a tiny toddler seeing a dog for the very first time. If the child already understands a cat, they may mistake the dog for one: It fits into their preexisting cat schema because they are both small, hairy, and have four limbs. Such errors are corrected by the following adaptation process, accommodation.

Essential Characteristics and Skills of Employees with a high AQ:

  • Compassionate
  • Problem solver
  • Curious
  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Mindful
  • Respectful
  • Life-long learner
  • Continuously working for improving processes
  • Willing to make and accept mistakes
  • Unafraid of the  known and unknown
  • Considerate about the future
  • Environmentally-conscious


Accommodation for Adaptation

People process new knowledge by modifying their cognitive structures to accommodate the new knowledge. When people come across knowledge that is wholly new to them or that challenges their pre-existing beliefs, they frequently have to create a new schema to incorporate the material or change their pre-existing mental categories

This is analogous to attempting to enter information into a database only to discover that there is no pre-existing categorization that will fit the information. To include it within the database, you must either create a new field or modify an existing one.

Not surprisingly, the process of accommodation is far more difficult than that of assimilation. People are usually hesitant to modifying their schemas, especially when it means modifying a sincerely held belief.

The toddler in the above example who originally mistook a dog for a cat may learn to discover significant distinctions between the two animals. The first barks, while the second meows. One enjoys playing, while the other prefers to sleep all day. After some time, the youngster will integrate the new information by developing a new schema for dogs while simultaneously modifying their previous schema for cats.

Impact of AQ

You can't directly plan for the unknown, although you can prep for it. Building the abilities necessary to adjust in the face of change and anticipating potential future outcomes can assist you in preparing for whatever comes your way.

Most businesses did not anticipate a pandemic sweeping the world in 2020, and almost as many were preparing. Businesses needed quick decisions, diversified solutions, and unlearning to survive. Companies that previously did not believe remote work was practicable needed a new approach and a fresh perspective on what was and was not achievable.

Businesses that actively prioritized problem-solving, adaptability, creativity and the use of new technologies were most prepared for an extraordinary year of change.

Every day, we are confronted with change. Those who can adapt can better adapt to the future, no matter how unknown.

Benefits of Adaptability Quotient for Organizations and Employees

AQ benefits for businesses:

  • Helps in making necessary changes in the business processes as needed.
  • Leveraging advancement of technology.
  • Learning from failures.
  • Preparation for multiple possible outcomes.
  • Prioritizing sustainable business practices.
  • Handling any unexpected crisis.
  • Surviving in the era of an economic recession.

Adaptability benefits for individuals:

  • Solving complex problems effectively.
  • Accepting and managing organizational and individual change.
  • How to be flexible, innovative, creative, and accommodating of others.
  • Learning and adopting emerging technologies.
  • Staying relevant, and updated in a career as technology advances.
  • Accepting transition of job specification, job roles or careers with ease.
  • Maintaining employment or change in an era of economic recession.

How to increase your AQ?

  • Accept and welcome change.

Regardless of whether you prefer it or not, change is inevitable. Change cannot be avoided, but it may be learned to accept and embrace. Simple alterations in the company, including technological improvements or changes in management or employees, can put some individuals into a tailspin. You can fight it and deny the shift, or you can grow progressively disengaged because things aren't the same as they were. These stages are normal, but you must progress through the transition curve to reach acceptance. Embrace change and explore the good in it. Accept change and seek benefits in your new circumstances. How may an impending change be turned into an opportunity? What can you take away from the shift? What issues must be resolved before moving forward with confidence?

  •  Examine your assumptions.

What used to be true will not always remain true. Everything in life changes, and simply because you believed you understood the best way to do something doesn't mean it will always be the greatest way. Different options and changing conditions may necessitate a new answer. People that are adaptable are always evaluating their preconceptions and are ready to adopt a new approach at any time. Ask questions and evaluate your procedures on a regular basis. Is there an alternative? What didn't you think of before? Requesting constructive criticism from others might provide you with new ideas on how you can develop.

Any rigid business enterprise is setting itself up for disaster and failure. It’s a fact that anything if not bent, it breaks. Promoting innovation and flexibility as an employer or manager help in better adaptation in the event of disaster or crisis. It creates an opportunity for employees to work in the best ways, and it helps better engagement, motivation, productivity, and well-being. • Encouraging Employs to Learn from Mistakes Making mistakes is never the goal, however, it’s a learning opportunity. Nurture a work culture that supports failure as a learning opportunity, it fosters creativity, adopting innovation, or trying new means of working.

The benefits of workplace counseling to business are many. Workplace counseling aims at providing positive feedback and fostering positive behavior modification. Managers should also be given training and required counseling skills to give positive feedback to employees, as sporadic and random feedback often becomes something to be feared. Business managers must learn counseling skills to prioritize constructive feedback and foster an environment of continuous improvement.

If you are searching for “Counsellor near me” connect with TalktoAngel India’s no.1 Online Counselling platform. 

Contributed by: Dr (Prof) R K Suri & Ms. Varshini Nayyar