A paradox of living effectively is that strength is found in being clear, resolute and determined and also in being able to adapt and adjust when circumstances call for it. In a world of fast and constant change, an emotionally intelligent person needs to rapidly read what is happening now, to be genuinely willing to understand other points of view, to modify his or her approach, and to move quickly forward. Acting in the face of changing circumstances, shifting priorities, and new frustrations takes courage and often the willingness to operate outside of one’s comfort zone. Those who are adaptable anticipate challenges and opportunities by staying up to speed on technological changes, world events, and local news.

Adaptability is about responding effectively to multiple demands, especially in a context of ambiguity. It is a mission critical EQ competency. And you can learn to be more adaptable with If any of the following statements describe you or someone you know, provides a remedy:

  • Feels uncomfortable or overwhelmed dealing with a crisis, rapid change or uncertainly
  • Uses a familiar approach to problem solving and decision-making regardless of changes in circumstances; thinks his or her approach is the “right” one

  • Rigidly adheres to policies and procedures or sticks to what has worked before

Action learning tips and learning assignments on the job are a click away at

You might also consider (a sampling of suggestions from

Peters, Tom. Thriving on Chaos. New York: HarperCollins, 1985.

Ryan, Mary Jane. AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For. New York: Broadway, 2009.

Gurvis, Joan, and Al Calarco. Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2007.

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