Adaptability Quotient; a foundation for survival and the key to thriving in an era of massive disruption.

Ross Thornley
March 24, 2020
March 24, 2020

It is in the most extreme situations we witness the best and worst of humanity. But what makes us turn one way or another?

Difficult situations, ones perceived outside of our control, are the moments in life when choosing how to show up creates waves of immeasurable impact. Impact on ourselves, our family, our community, our Nation and our planet.

Amidst political turmoil, technological revolution, energy and health transformations and even private space flight, humanity is facing an intense need to adapt at a pace never before experienced. As the world pivots and dances to the tune of our dreams, ambitions, past actions and decisions, we must begin to understand how to adapt in this new environment.

For example, the unexpected death of a loved one brings a moment in which we choose what next… often with emotions fuelling our thinking, from blame, anger, questions and despair to pride, gratitude and reflection. A potential stimulation to be better, to use this moment to adapt to a new version of yourself?

What if the ‘death of a loved one’ was your old identity, your job, team or company? The death of yourself before cancer diagnosis, the death of your single life, the death of the value you gave to the world yesterday? In my view a key component of adaptability in exponential times is the ability to ‘un-learn’ and to let go of ‘what got you here’ to seek out new ways to get ‘there’.

What do you need to let-go of today for a better tomorrow?

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When knowledge and intelligence were scarce, those who had access, by birth or through investing in acquiring it became rich. Rich in all senses of the word — rich in finance, rich in time, in relationships, in health and purpose.

However, we are facing a pivotal point in history… We are entering the disruptive phase of the exponential curve, where the convergence of technologies will see a democratisation of so many things, including knowledge. Answers to questions will be at the fingertips of every person on the planet.

What happens next?

The path between survival; hanging on by a thread, barely above water, with a rising mental health crisis, huge corporate bankruptcies, multiple species extinction, climate breakdown and societal unrest,and the path of thriving; leaving no-one behind, with access to food, energy, education, healthcare and happiness for all.

It is a choice of how we individually and collectively adapt. How we embrace rapid experimentation and innovation. How we transform leadership and the organisations of tomorrow.

When the pressure is on, when the chaos surrounds us, when the stakes are high our Adaptability Quotient, AQ, matters more than any other metric.

How might we adapt our mindsets?

How might we adapt our skill sets?

How might we adapt our beliefs?

How might we adapt our culture, our habits, our actions, our perspectives?

How might we adapt our thoughts, processes our views and behaviours?

How might we adapt our products, services and business models?

How might we ensure our future between surviving and thriving? This is indeed a high-risk time…

I am fascinated about how we measure and predict risk. How the financial industry measures investment risk profiles, how they use credit checks and scores. How they finance businesses based on business models, credit ratings and market data.

How we measure risk in hiring the right people for the job, how we use experience, ‘CV’s’, past successes, education and knowledge. Attitude and cultural fit. How we have begun to use profiling tools to understand personalities, emotional intelligence and soft skills. How we are beginning to value interaction, teamwork and collaboration.

But how valuable are these indicators for tomorrow?

A tomorrow so profoundly different that we can’t begin to imagine. A tomorrow where the skills of today are obsolete in months not years, where processes are automated, dematerialised, augmented and replaced. A tomorrow where 375 million people have to re-skill in less than a decade. A tomorrow where careers are a portfolio and not a singular. A tomorrow where AI is faster, more accurate at almost every computation, from health diagnosis, to legal representation and education.

Are you ready?

Is your team ready?

Is your organisation ready?

Is your industry ready?

How will you choose to adapt?

We believe in a future where we can measure the human Adaptability Quotient, where we can enhance, train and improve all aspects of our ability to adapt in this new world. Where we can adapt to thrive, where exponential leaders can ensure no one is left behind.

To the exponential leaders. The pioneers.


Here’s to the ones who see the world differently.

They’re the ones who are brave, ambitious and experimental.

While some might see disruption and risk, we see hope.

To discover your AQ score and see what we are up to check out:

www.aqai.iotransforming the way people and organisations adapt to change.

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