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Hiring for the Future: Why Adaptability is the New Must-Have Skill

September 18, 2023

Versatility, adaptability, and resilience are as important as a specialized skill in today’s business climate. A strong utility player is a good hedge against unexpected changes in the landscape 

As they say, the only constant is change. New technologies are emerging, markets are shifting, and customer demands are evolving. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to be able to adapt quickly. 

This is where versatility, adaptability, and resilience come in. These qualities are essential for success in today’s business climate. 

  • Versatility – like a utility player, the ability and willingness to play different positions is more valuable than ever as change continually unfolds. It’s no longer enough to be an expert in one specific area, and even highly specialized knowledge often requires versatility in its application. To thrive, you need the mindset that you are going to add value in whatever role you find yourself.  
  • Adaptability – the ability to cope with change and uncertainty. The last few years have clearly shown the distinction between people who can roll with the punches and be flexible in their thinking and those who experience significant stress from constant change. As Dennis Rodman famously said, there’s the game, and there’s the head game. Adaptability is mainly about winning the head game.
  • Resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks. This requires emotional maturity: you can’t be resilient if you are defensive or full of fear or other energy-wasting emotions. You need a life paradigm that provides a positive framework to manage setbacks, disappointments and difficulties. If your paradigm can’t do that, make your #1 priority seeking a better one.  

Why Are These Qualities So Important? 

Because businesses that have versatile, resilient employees are more responsive to changing conditions and can navigate through them rather than driving onto the rocks. They’re able to seize new opportunities, overcome challenges, and stay ahead of the competition. 

How Can You Develop These Qualities? 

There are a few things you can do to develop these qualities. First, think about your life paradigm. Does it really work? It all starts there. Second, stop worrying about whether you look dumb to someone else when you are learning something new. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Babies fall down all the time while learning to walk. They don’t quit in embarrassment – they keep going till they can do it. Keep that attitude. The biggest thing that holds people back from succeeding is their own fear of looking stupid or failing. Most people never achieve their full potential because of these self limiting behaviors.  Third, make sure you develop healthy boundaries with some margin in life so you have the energy and headspace to be your best. Nobody operates well on a drained battery. Just like your phone gets clogged with too many open apps, so does your life, and you can’t function in the areas you most need to if your life is clogged. You might need to get rid of some things – even good things – if they keep you so busy or spread so thin you can’t recharge. 

What Does This Mean for Hiring Managers? 

When hiring employees, it’s important to look for candidates who have these qualities, because they signify a solid personal maturity. Versatility, adaptability, and resilience are just as important as specialized knowledge and skills in today’s business climate.

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