I recently read an article in Fast Company magazine about Todd Yellin, the CEO of Netflix. He made a bold decision to push his company to create more access on mobile applications, because he saw two boys in Bangkok watching Netflix on a mobile phone. He saw the opportunity for his company to expand in new markets and he was quick to adapt. In 2017 subscriptions grew more than 25% to 117 million, and more people subscribed via mobile than either TV or laptop. Yellin’s ability to be flexible and quick secured their success.
I recently saw a Christian missionary group shifting its priorities from the patriarchal approach of a pioneer to the partnership approach of long established native. They chose to go in a new direction in their work with the indigenous people of their nation. They did this because they could see that the people, who they had once evangelized, were now fully developed Christians capable of leading themselves. They are having phenomenal success, seeing new churches planted in an exponential rate because they were quick to adapt.
If you are alive emotionally, financially, and spiritually, you must adapt in order to thrive in your life. The only true constant in life is change. What you counted as a “given” in your career last year, may be obsolete today. Tried and true practices of success that worked a decade ago may not work today. You must adapt.
5 keys to successful adaptation:
- Keep your eyes and mind open.
You must become a life-long learner. The world is full of exciting new ideas and people pushing the boundaries of what is possible in business and life. Read all you can. Force yourself to read magazines and books about technology.
- Hold your convictions of what works loosely.
The most dangerous concept you can hold in your mind is: “I know.” You only know what was. Most of what you know was it taught to you years ago, and most of it is obsolete today.
It doesn’t mean it wasn’t true, it just means that innovation has changed the way that knowledge must be applied.
- Expose yourself to innovation whenever and wherever you find it.
Don’t run from new technology. Set yourself to learn how these new toys and systems can be used to improve what you do. Go to “maker’s fairs.” Buy tickets to business and tech expos. Dabble at the edges of change.
- Refuse to be lulled into the lie of “that’s just the way things work.”
Five years ago who would have thought that a huge amount of the social interaction between people would take place through hand-held devices? Five years ago, everyone used the telephone as the first choice for communication and now it is texting. “That’s just the way things work” is lazy thinking.
- Try something new every week.
Drive a new route to work. Eat at a new restaurant. Watch a foreign film on Netflix. Cook a new dish. Doing something new keeps our minds limber and helps us to adapt to the larger things in life more easily.
Adapting to change is a powerful tool for success. Take advantage of your flexibility and you’ll move ahead of your competition.
Leave a comment about an area where you successfully adapted in your career this past year and I’ll share one of mine.