I'm a designer by nature, so when I think of the the adaptive enterprise I first think of design -- orthogonal constructs, design patterns, open standards like XML. But there's another character who plays in this adaptive world. Your employees. That's right, people who may not fully share your vision, still need to be flexible and function in a sense-and-respond organization. Perhaps, you've noticed that not all employees think or act like risk-loving, take-charge James Bond.
So what qualities do employees need to thrive in an adaptive workplace to the point where they delight customers? Well, we can learn from fiction writers who create their own worlds and use psychology to create their characters. Psychologists use the term social adaptability to describe a person's ability to respond to change:
- Cheerful or depressed
- Talkative or silent
- Adventurous or cautious
- Adaptable or rigid
- Calm or worrying
Typically, a person who is cheerful, talkative, adventurous, adaptable and calm will tend to be socially adaptable. If these traits help people adjust to change in society, then I imagine these same traits will assist employees in the sense-and-respond company. I sure don't want the other side of the attitude coin.
And if you read the Risk Chapter referred to in the previous post, you know that flexible people can take advantage of risk and create additional profits. In short, the ambidextrous business person, who understands business and technology, has many of the same attitudes and skills needed to excel in the adaptive enterprise.