What’s the Adaptability Quotient and Why is it Important?

Step aside IQ and EQ; there’s a new quotient in town.

For years, it’s been believed that one’s intelligence quotient (IQ) is the sole predictor of one’s success in life, but it turns out this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, according to Amin Toufani, beyond the first two years of the job, IQ isn’t a predictor of success.

And this isn’t the only research to show IQs’ limited correlation to employee success; other articles such as Does IQ Really Predict Job Performance? By Ken Richardson and Sarah H. Norgate also warn about the consequences of assuming IQ can accurately predict employee performance.

After years of similar findings, IQ was all but thrown out the window and quickly replaced by the new and improved quotient, emotional intelligence (EQ).

EQ is defined as a person’s ability to understand people and work cooperatively with others.

Finally, there was a way to equate for the “people side” of business, and EQ became particularly useful in guiding leadership and employee development in the workplace.

While EQ boomed in the 90s and 2000s, it still missed the mark in understanding what made some employees more successful in their jobs than others.

Enter adaptability quotient (AQ), the way of the future.

While IQ and EQ are still important factors of employee growth, they don’t act as an accurate indicator of overall performance—especially in today’s exponential economy.

As technology continues to redefine the way we work faster than we could ever imagine, the skills we need to succeed in today’s job market continue to evolve at an equally accelerated rate.

In this fast-paced world, it’s no longer enough to assume that the professional skills you learnt at the beginning of your career will last you well throughout your entire career.

Instead, professional skills will become obsolete faster than ever before, and employees must continuously develop their work competencies.

As a result, our AQ will soon become a primary predictor of career success, and that’s why we need to start talking about it NOW.

AQ will soon become a primary predictor of career success.”

In this article, I discuss what AQ is and why it matters to you. You will learn why AQ is important for individuals, teams, and within your startup’s business strategy.

What is AQ?

While AQ is still considered a form of intelligence, it differs from EQ and IQ.

Since AQ is the new kid on the block, there is still no universally agreed-upon definition, making it difficult to understand what AQ is precisely.

The consensus is that it’s used to measure performance in the workplace and assess individual potential.

Amin Toufani defines AQ as the ability to realize optimal outcomes based on recent or future changes.

Thornley and Slater define it as measuring the abilities, characteristics, and environmental factors that impact people and organizations’ successful behaviours and actions to respond to uncertainty and new information effectively or changed circumstances.

The common theme among both definitions is that AQ generally refers to one’s ability to respond to change.

The ability to change your thoughts and behaviours constructively in your response to change is the defining factor of AQ. 

To understand how adaptable you are take this small quiz. 👀

This ability to adapt to change can be applied beyond an individual level as well.

Continue reading to learn why adaptability matters within a team setting, a leadership setting, and within your startup’s business strategy. 👇

Why Adaptability Matters in Your Team

The fact that our environment is constantly changing around us is valid at the individual level and the team level.

An adaptable team is crucial in having an overall high-performing team because of their increased capabilities and improved team culture.

Teams that can change to the environmental demands of the market are better able to leverage their business ahead of the competition.

They do this in two ways:

1. By identifying new competition early on in the market.
2. By having a better understanding of the market and what target customers need and want.

Additionally, teams with greater team adaptability also have improved team culture, which naturally increases team performance.

Teams with greater adaptability know that they can rely on each other despite any unforeseen circumstance, giving them a greater sense of trust and psychological safety.

Through this greater sense of trust and safety, each team member can perform to the best of their ability which influences the entire team.

Why Adaptability Matters in Leadership

You can’t have an adaptable team without first being a flexible leader.

It has been shown that leaders with higher adaptability quotients also have teams with higher overall AQ.

This is because people tend to repeat the same behaviours that they observe.

What can I say, “monkey see, monkey do.” 🤷

When you act as an adaptable leader, you not only set a good example for the rest of your team, but you’re better able to coach them in their journeys of adaptability.

👉 To learn how you can better support your team check out my Youtube Video Coaching Skills For Manager to Coach Their Teams Better | Fahd Alhattab.

When you understand something at a higher level, it makes it easier to teach to others.

Why Adaptability Matters for Business Strategy

If your business is unable to adapt to change, it will quickly fail and become obsolete.

That’s why it’s essential to have a business strategy that embraces change rather than one that assumes stability.

Businesses must learn how to be disruptive.

By adding adaptability to your business strategy, you will proactively respond to and predict change.

The ability to predict change puts your business ahead of the competition by building new products and becoming the market leader. That’s how you develop a winning business strategy.

This article has shown you that AQ is here to stay and something you need to care about. You want your startup to endure the new landscape of the technological age. You put your business in the driving seat by increasing your ability to adapt to change in your team, leadership, and business strategy.

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