Adaptability is a crucial factor in the ability to survive, whatever the context.
In the natural world, adaptability is a response to the simple desire to survive and reproduce and it can be argued that its purpose is completely oblivious to the specific life forms themselves.
In the business world however, adaptability has to be consciously purposeful. For most organisations purpose is woefully underthought, expressed rather purposelessly via a catch-phrase such as ‘Our Purpose is to be No.1 in our marketplace’.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why most organisations don’t deliver long term prosperity for customers, employees and shareholders.
Unlike the natural world, organisations are free to choose their purpose, develop a common purpose upon which all stakeholders agree and then create structures and practices that keep the organisation and its services changing in response to obstacles, threats, and opportunities, keeping them on-purpose.
Organisations are also free to change their purpose. Adaptive organisations keep asking themselves ‘Is it still the right purpose’, and ‘are we exploring all avenues towards our purpose’.
Organisational Adaptability is about developing a mind-set open to a new purpose coupled with the ability to redirect everything quickly and safely towards that new purpose.