The Adaption Advantage - A Book Brief

Is Your Company Adept at Adapting?

One of the biggest challenges in business is knowing when and how to adapt. All companies should define their adaptation strategy. From there, what are the innovation goals? A few months ago, I read The Adaptation Advantage by Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley to benefit from their perspective and research. If you wish to thrive, this is a solid read.

The book is full of insight and charts. Here is a simple and powerful one:

Figure 1.3 Human Adaptation Is Linear, Technological Change Is Exponential

The chart communicates to me:

  1. Exponential change moves faster than our ability to embrace and leverage

  2. Opportunities for improvement are plentiful (thank you slow competitors!)

  3. We can craft a better reality

  4. The performance gap represents a longing for smarter productivity and new profits

  5. We need to navigate strategic change, not just medal for tactical busyness

As the authors point out at the beginning of their book;

"We are incredibly well prepared for the past, and woefully unready for a future of work that has yet to be defined." - McGowan, Shipley

Your Future Requires Adaptation

One of the human mind's shortcomings is a stubborn clinging to strategies that worked in the past. We fall in love with old answers, yet we know that no two moments are the same. Like our short-term memory, we must decide what to keep and what is no longer useful. And yes, hybrids occur! When we consider adaptations over a horizon, the changes are less abrupt.

Please look at the chart again. 

Ask yourself:

  1. Where would you place your company in the gap? It helps to be brutally honest.

  2. Does it take a crisis for your company to jump ahead? e.g., Pandemic to Video Meetings. Why? 

  3. Does your leadership team prioritize (and take meaningful action) based on deep contemplation and research, or do they live in reaction mode?

  4. Will your company survive or thrive in an environment that demands faster adaptation? Hint: bureaucracy and silos are quicksand.

  5. Does your company seem to copy your competitors and do the expected? Thus, looking like its competitors more every day (price pressures!). Test: name a product, service, or operational innovation from your company. Next question: did we correctly create, enable, and support the innovation?

A couple of other ideas; look at your inclination to enhance your skillset. The authors make it clear we all need to be lifelong learners (it's fun to learn!) Also, review your immediate team. Is everyone building new skills for a changing environment? If we want to elevate our companies with adaptation, we can at least start with ourselves.

I encourage you to read the book. This book brief post is a tip of the iceberg. If your company can position adaptability as a company goal, at least it has a chance to win. If you are investing in yourself to adapt, your future looks bright!

Your ability to adapt will give you more value and peace of mind.

"The slowest rate of change for the rest of your life is right now." -McGowan, Shipley

The Adaptation Advantage by Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley on Amazon