College of Business

How to create a team that is adaptable and change-friendly

By Jorge Alvarez | January 31, 2024

The business environment is rapidly transforming. Adaptable teams succeed more often than those that are rigid and unwilling to change.The world needs business leaders who are friendly toward change. Teams that can pivot quickly can easily capitalize on opportunities. The pandemic left enterprises rethinking their business strategies. Adaptable companies became even more profitable through the pandemic. The one common trait that distinguishes these successful businesses is a change-friendly attitude.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 some retail establishments experienced a 56% decrease in demand for their products or services. Those that survived until April 2021 experienced 11% more demand than prepandemic levels.Being adaptive is not new. The need for adaptability remains. Technology disruptions, new emerging trends, restructures, environmental changes, global pandemics, and industry transformations result in constant change. Change is inevitable. Creating a change-friendly environment is beneficial to a company’s future success.

Below is what the Master of Arts in organizational leadership from Charleston Southern University has taught me about encouraging team adaptability:

Be receptive to new ideas

Leaders must respond with optimism to changing conditions. View challenges as opportunities. Your attitude has a far-reaching effect on the organization.

Your competitors will face the same challenges. Successfully adapting to the situation will result in a competitive advantage.  

Nurture a healthy learning environment

Leaders should create an environment that values learning. Do not promote perfectionism, which encourages employees to follow the status quo. Provide employees the freedom to take thoughtful risks to achieve better results.

It is vital to encourage curiosity. One of the most significant barriers to creativity is fear of condemnation. Leaders must foster an environment where individuals feel comfortable providing and receiving recommendations without fear of ridicule.

Encourage a diverse range of viewpoints

Diverse teams bring a variety of viewpoints to the table. Teams should be made up of individuals with a wide range of skills, knowledge, backgrounds, experiences, personalities, and viewpoints. A diverse team is more resistant to group-think.

Teams should be receptive to one another’s perspectives. When new ideas are brought forward, teams should consider the value of the alternative opinion. This enables your team to examine new and different ideas.

Create a shared vision

It is challenging to stay focused on priorities during rapid change, particularly when those priorities are shifting.

First, your team must understand the goals and objectives. A leader must work with the team to develop a common vision.

This vision will define success. All ideas, solutions, and output should be consistent with the expectations of the shared vision.

With a shared vision and clear expectations, your team can alter strategies to achieve the intended goals even if further changes occur in the future.

Carry out trials

Practice makes perfect. Allow your staff to experiment. Look for areas where your team can test a fresh strategy. Devise a solution, implement it, and evaluate the outcomes.

Leaders must remove the fear of experimentation by emphasizing that failure is a learning opportunity. Allow your employees to test and modify ideas without fear of criticism. This enables them to get crucial insights that will aid in developing future concepts.

The business world is always evolving. Optimistically responding to disruptions may do wonders for the firm and the morale of its personnel.

Creating a workforce that can swiftly adapt to shifting goals might be the difference between success and failure. You can build a team capable of pivoting to changing business demands.

Jorge Alvarez served in the United States Air Force as a contracting officer, currently with the Bureau of Land Management. He writes multimillion-dollar contracts to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands to ensure present and future generations enjoy them. Jorge is pursuing a Master of Arts in organizational leadership. 

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