What: Adversity Quotient (AQ), refers to a person’s ability to adopt well in the face of adversity. The term is coined in 1997 by Paul Stoltz, who is a leading authority in organizational communication and economics. It shows how resilience of a person. Harvard Business School scholar Amy Edmondson’s recent research “The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth” argues that adaptability quotient (AQ) is the x-factor to succeed in the ever-changing work life. Employees who have high AQs, rather then high EQs and IQs, are more likely to become long-term leaders. Edmondson shows that a leader’s capacity to recover quickly and bounce back from challenges is critical to their success in the workplace.
How: MIT scholar Otto Scharmer argues that to enhance your AQ, you should keep an open mind to see the world with fresh perspective, keep and open heart to stay open to new truths and keep an open will to comfortable with the unknown. Only by following what’s happening around & inside you and staying curious about it, one can acquire new skills to become a leader at the work life. Mr. Scharmer calls this Theory U, which also encapsulates the approach to shift from ego-system to eco-system.
Where: Adaptability is a rare and valuable character trait. It is one of the five essential attributes for astronaut candidates among resiliency, curiosity, ability to trust and creativity/resourcefulness. Space travel initiative Mars One defines adaptability as “knowing your boundaries, and how/when to extend them while staying open and tolerant to ideas and approaches different from your own” and resiliency as “having the best when things are at their worst as well as having a “Can do!” attitude”.
Who: The people who have the highest AQs are the ones who had chances of practicing it. If you are a person who never changed jobs and always stayed in the same social environment, you probably did not have many opportunities to exercise your AQ. The situations that build your AQ are, going to risk-seeking trips alone, taking chances without any prior planning, switching careers, learning a hard skill such as coding on your own, taking care of someone, having social interactions different from each other and starting new in life.