As the cliché goes, change is the one constant in the world. Therefore, employers will always look for people who respond well to change. Show you’re adaptable by describing times you’ve adjusted to and overcome changes at work. A growth mindset is a vital part of adaptability, so it’s essential to keep learning as much as possible. Stay updated with what’s going on in your industry by signing up for newsletters, following top leaders on social media, and staying connected with other professionals.

  • Adaptability and flexibility are two very similar terms that differ slightly.
  • In the technical research field this feature has been considered only since the late 1990s.
  • Now, we can’t imagine how the world could function without it.
  • In each of these situations, you are unable to change your environment but you can adjust your reaction.
  • A report by McKinsey, although 84% of executives stated that they felt innovation was essential for their company’s growth, only 6% were satisfied with their company’s innovation and adaptability performance.
  • The people who refused to adapt likely struggle with technology currently which makes their everyday life much harder.

There is no use in wasting energy on things you cannot control, but you can be proactive on things that are in your control or that you may influence. New managers or co-workers have differing or new ideas for how work can be done. This requires having an open mind as well as sharing your views and ideas.

from The Century Dictionary.

In particular, the framework must be able to adapt to the fact that large parts of the Internet will at least initially be NSIS-unaware, so incremental, minimal-pain deployment must provide benefits even in this case. The only thing we seem to have going for us is a certain adaptability and a capacity for survival. Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word adaptability. The quality of being adaptable; a quality that renders adaptable. The American Constitution has proved adaptable in changing political conditions.

Where your school sends you for a few weeks when you’ve done something really bad or illegal but they don’t want to expel you. Basically, a school full of people fighting, doing drugs, and drinking… The telephone was sufficiently adaptable to go mobile and send texts. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

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This might push others away as they feel you don’t hear or appreciate their thoughts and ideas. Getting other people’s opinions on how to approach an obstacle in your life may yield a solution that you never thought of before and improve your interpersonal communication and relationships. Adaptability is the skill of molding your actions what is adaptability and reactions to the changing environment around you. Specifically, it is “the capacity to make appropriate cognitive, behavioral, or affective adjustments in the presence of uncertain or novel circumstances” . Being adaptable means you are flexible in your thinking and behaviors when the circumstances around you are changing.

definition of adaptability

Looking at life from another point of view can help you realize there are many ways to solve the same problem. Consider a situation in your life that you need to adapt to and then approach that situation from someone else’s point of view. Some people may not be very adaptable because they don’t believe in their abilities.


There will always be a new employee or customer you need to interact with or a new process to learn. Adaptability allows you to take a proactive approach to the ever-changing workplace environment (Ployhart & Bliese, 2006). The COVID-19 pandemic has recently shown just how fragile our working patterns can be, demonstrating how important adaptability is for ensuring success. Now and in the future, the managers and employees who actively cultivate adaptive habits will not only be primed for survival during difficult times but will also be ready to seize opportunities as soon as they arise.

definition of adaptability

Explore the meaning of adaptability and how to cultivate it within yourself. If you’re someone who loves processes and order, it can be hard to stray from what you’ve always done. But just because something has worked for a while doesn’t mean it will be the most useful thing forever. Challenge yourself to try new things, whether a new project management tool or a new way to structure a meeting. While you can’t always prepare for unpredictable, uncertain circumstances, you can improve how you respond when change does arise.

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Resilience is the ability to bounce back after encountering difficult situations. When faced with a tough situation, resilience allows you to put yourself back together and adjust accordingly. If you want to be more resilient, developing your ability to be adaptable may increase your ability to withstand strenuous life events. Since change is a constant of life, adaptability is a skill that allows you to effectively adjust to that change. When you think rigidly, you may miss out on opportunities for better solutions because you refuse to consider any ideas other than your own.

definition of adaptability

Incorporating flexibility into the technology, process and team dynamics of a project. The capacity of adapting to different situations and contexts. Capability of a system to change itself in response to changes in the environment. Implies a reaction in coherence with the context of crisis while learning and developing new solutions called innovation.

Video: 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability – And How to Improve It

The meaning of adaptability can vary depending on the workplace environment and people’s specific roles within that environment. In general, being adaptable means being flexible, innovative, open, and resilient, particularly when things don’t go according to plan. Soft skill that is highly valued by employers because every industry can be unpredictable.

Centralized computation is said to suffer from poor scalability, high maintenance costs and low adaptability. A hand replacement needs to encompass as much of the adaptability inherent in the natural system as possible. This car is the perfect mix of comfort, adaptability, and speed. The persistence and adaptability of these pests make them nearly indestructible. The coach is happy with the resourcefulness and adaptability of his players.

More Definitions of Adaptability

Now, we can’t imagine how the world could function without it. Likely, employees who refused to adapt to using the internet were not very desirable to keep around once it started to take over the workplace. 40 years later, and now it’s hard to function in the world at all without using the internet. The people who refused to adapt likely struggle with technology currently which makes their everyday life much harder. Refusing to adapt to change will likely only make your life more difficult. Seeing examples of adaptability in action may help you understand it more.