Invent or Improve?

When a process or product or idea isn’t working, do you want to tweak the design slightly or throw it out and start over?

This is a distinction I’m learning about through my work with the Adaptability Quotient tool. It’s an assessment that measures individual and team adaptability, and one of the results is an aggregate measure that reflects if a team prefers to approach adaptability through a lens of “utilize and improve” and/or “explore and transform.” The former will lead you to approach change systematically and build on existing solutions, whereas the latter would have you trying different ways of working and experimenting with newly invented solutions.

Both approaches demonstrate adaptability. And they are not a zero-sum game — you can excel at both.

Being aware of your adaptability skills and preferences helps you reduce friction as you adapt — for yourself and within your team, but also with your collaborators. If, for example, you are a high “explore and transform” person, working with colleagues from another department who are strongly oriented toward “utilize and improve,” it’s not hard to imagine that their tendency to make incremental adjustments to the current process might slow down your dream to pilot a brand-new solution.

I’ll say it again: both approaches demonstrate adaptability. The magic lies in discovering how to leverage the strengths of each, in ourselves and each other.

Curious to find out how this idea applies to your team? Contact me to find out how to bring AQ in-house.

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