Things change in life. To be successful, we also must change. We have to keep up with trends in the market, with the growing capacities of our kids. We have to keep up with technology, economics, politics, and the latest music, food, movies, and reality shows.
Adaptation refers to an individual’s ability to adjust to changes and new experiences. Adaptation relates to a person’s ability to accept new information, to integrate that information and then alter his or her behavior accordingly. A high degree of adaptability is a positive trait in rapidly-changing environments such as business, a football match, or a home with young children.
To be honest, the society we live in today is keyed to rapid change. Whatever does not keep up with the times is discarded. Anything from a candy bar to a religious philosophy can be tossed on the rubbish pile of history if those in charge do not adapt to the times.
Not everyone is highly adaptable, but adaptability is something you can learn or relearn. The first simple step is to remember that what you know about other people is subject to change because they are adapting too. The same is true of businesses, trends, music, you name it, if it’s keeping up with the times, it’s changing.
So how can we possibly keep it with it all?
The first step is decided what is really critical for you. Assume most of us will choose with home or office as our #1 priority. At home, the question is do you need to be as in touch with what is up in your kid’s life or if just be a bit familiar is sufficient. Being the coolest mom or dad might not be your thing. I certainly didn’t wish to listen to the music my kids liked in their pre-teens and teens. Not my style, at all.
On the other hand, I did want to know what they were studying in school, what new trends in education were being implemented in the curriculum and I passionately followed their sports endeavors. I may not have been the coolest dad, but I was in touch enough to have a meaningful conversation at the dinner table, the few times we all sat down together.
Adapting in business is a completely different animal. A business that doesn’t have a focus on adaptation is a business on its way to the dustbin of history. Technology pushes everyone forward, or it pushed you aside. Let me give you an example.
I was given an electric smoker by some friends who visited last year. We showed them a good time, their thank-you gift arrived a week after their visit. A brand new electric smoker. Now I do grill, they were treated to at least two of my grilling meals while they were here, but I have never been a smoker.
One Sunday afternoon, I read the manual, assembled the apparatus and went to my local meat market for some ribs and sausage. The first attempt went well and the following weekend, I thought I would try again, but I wasn’t sure if Don’s Meat Market was open on Sunday. I checked the web and found at least half a dozen business listings for Don’s but none of them had the business days or hours. I drove over, he was closed.
The next day, I stopped by and told Don about my experience on the web and he said: “I’m not really a techno-guy.”
“Tell you what, Don,” I said, “I’ll fill out those forms, enter your hours and add those specials you have on the board. You let me know next time I’m in if you notice any increase in business.”
Two weeks later, I stopped by for some ribs for the smoker. Don wouldn’t let me pay for them, he told me over a dozen new and old customers had mentioned getting information on his business from the web.
You have to adapt to survive. Whether it’s your own small business, your company, a big corporation or you family, kids and other relationships. The world is changing faster than we can keep up. So chose your priorities, put together a plan to keep yourself updated.
Remember the technology that is accelerating our world, also provides us with the tools for adaptation. Learn to use the bells and whistles that come with your operating system and your browser.
Adaptation is necessary in this ever-faster world, but the tools are there for you to keep up.
The saying used to be: adapt or die. Today, it’s more like adaption keeps you up-to-date and in-the-know. More like use it or lose it. Adaptation can be your friend.