Get Ready for Change: What’s Your Adaptive DNA?

Do you struggle to overcome resistance to change in your organization? Whether it’s shifting strategic objectives, changing organizational leadership or new roles and responsibilities, chances are your organization has experienced significant change in the past year. Unfortunately, tried-and-true, top-down approaches to driving change are proving to be increasingly ineffective. As recent studies have shown, many organizations are reporting a phenomenon known as “change fatigue” affecting their employees.

Are Your Employees Suffering from Change Fatigue?

Today’s employees are increasingly stressed out by the elevated amount of organizational change they must adapt to. Ketchum Change found that 34 percent of senior leaders said change fatigue is prevalent in their companies. Those senior leaders who do not believe change fatigue affects their struggling employees are simply unaware of the problem, according to the survey.

“The survey tells us many top-tier leaders don’t recognize the exhausting effect that continuous change and volatility has on employees and how that exhaustion can lower employees’ productivity, reduce their engagement and damage retention rates,” Tyler Durham, partner and president of Ketchum Change, explained. “And if leaders aren’t aware of it, they will be unprepared for its damaging effects and the resulting costs on their business.”

Leaders must do more than simply recognize how change impacts their employees, however; they need to find ways to effectively help their organizations navigate change.

Start by Understanding Your Own Adaptive DNA

If you hope to create conditions for your team to adapt to change successfully, you must first begin by evaluating your own “adaptive DNA.” Homa Bahrami, a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, looks at change readiness through the lens of five specific types of adaptive DNA. These DNA categories are: resilience, hedging, agility, robustness and versatility.

These five ingredients are the key to creating a more flexible organization. “What do I need to maintain stability, but where do I need to adapt my team, structure, or product,” Bahrami says. “Flexibility is the secret sauce.”

What is your adaptive DNA? Are you a resilient problem-solver? Perhaps you prefer to dwell on the “what if” factors of situations and consider yourself to have hedging planner DNA? Meanwhile, those who prefer to swiftly implement the minimum requirement are considered agile, while robust DNA individuals are persistent and visionary. Lastly, if you are thoroughly adaptable in interactions with different clients and employees, you may be a versatile DNA type.

Taking stock of your own adaptive DNA, and that of your team, can help you identify areas of strength and opportunity. Whether you are more robust or resilient, if you want to create a flexible work environment, you must tap into your own adaptive DNA and encourage your employees to do the same.

Learn more about ExecOnline’s Accelerating Change Readiness and Agility program today!