Book review: Adaptability

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Max McKeown

Adaptability, by Max McKeown
Adaptability, by Max McKeown

Adaptability is a key human trait, and the ability to adapt faster and smarter to a developing situation is what makes the difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win - so argues this book's author, Max McKeown.

Being able to adapt to take advantage of a situation requires working through the three steps of adaptability. First, you must recognise the need for adaptation. Second, you must understand the adaptation required - what it is you need to do. Third, you must do what is necessary to adapt. This sounds obvious, but it's fairly common for people to know what is necessary and still not do what it takes - ever tried to diet, for example?

To adapt successfully can mean to thrive in a situation or, even better, to transcend it. "Transcending allows escape from the constraints of the existing situation and to rise above it," writes McKeown. "The players create a new situation and a new game with new rules and improved outcomes over the long term." For a manager facing uncertain times, it could mean reorganising how your team works to best suit the outcome. It's why presenteeism has been discredited and results-oriented work rewarded. Are you brave enough to break the rules?

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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