In today’s rapidly changing business world, leaders need to exhibit a variety of qualities and skills in order to ensure their employees are engaged and their businesses are steadily growing. Of course, honesty, vision, communication, integrity and determination rank high on the list of necessary skills leaders need to embody. However, today, more than ever, versatility and adaptability are essential for meaningful long-term viability.
Gone are the days of structured business rigidity. Instead, they have been replaced with a collaborative business landscape that emphasizes the comingling of various industries through technological innovation.
This need for adaptability was reiterated in the 2016 World Economic Forum report on The Future of Jobs and Skills. 44 percent of respondents said the changing nature of work and flexible work were major demographic and socio-economic drivers of change. The World Economic Forum in fact views versatility and adaptability as two of the most important skills for the future global workforce.
“By one popular estimate, 65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist,” notes the report. “In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical.”
The constantly evolving nature of the current business world demands that leaders and governments value and foster versatility, collaboration and vision, while also nurturing talent and ambition.
In a 2016 Op-ed piece in a popular Canadian newspaper, Vanessa Federovich, VP of Human Resources and Corporate Services at Roche Canada, wrote about the need for Canadians to exhibit more fortitude and flexibility.
“Arguably, the single most important determinant of the success of our country’s future businesses and professionals will be their ability to not only accept change but also thrive in a continuously evolving and challenging environment,” wrote Federovich. “It’s not survival of the fittest; it’s survival of the most adaptable.”
The importance of adaptiveness for today’s business leaders is something reiterated by Canadian business executive Don Simmonds, who as a serial entrepreneur has helped bring a number of business concepts to reality during his career. Being adaptable goes hand-in-hand with having a clear business vision and having the will and courage to follow through on this vision. A longtime entrepreneur and community leader, Don Simmonds also notes that today’s business climate can be volatile, making the ability to adjust business plans and overcome unseen obstacles all the more important.
In the end, versatility and adaptability is really only achievable when business leaders embrace the concept of fluidity and change. After all, a leader by definition is a person charged with inspiring, motivating, and encouraging the people around them to achieve visionary goals.
As collaboration becomes the cornerstone of more hybrid industries and sectors, adaptation will continue to reign supreme among the skills business leaders, employees and public at large need.