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What is AQ and how does it help us survive and thrive?

In a VUCA world, the future is hard to predict. Strategic planning will be more about setting direction and less about fixing the destination. Roadmaps must give way to more flexible basecamp strategies. The new reality calls for agile people and teams that can respond and pivot without losing their sense of purpose and direction.

The question is whether your team has the capability, mindset and support to help you deal with the uncertainties or are they confused, losing confidence and struggling to adapt. Faced with external disruptions and competitive pressures, managers need teams that they can count on to support their initiatives and execute well in the face of change.

AQ assesses an individual’s Ability, Character and Environment (A.C.E.) to identify strengths and weaknesses to enhance adaptability. A.C.E. represents the three separate dimensions that contribute to a person’s adaptability and helps to transform the way people and organizations can adapt to change.

Ability AQ represents learned adaptability skills, such Grit - the ability to pursue a goal long term despite obstacles, Mental Flexibility - the ability to hold contradictory ideas in mind, AQ Mindset - self-beliefs, Resilience – ability to recover from setbacks, and Unlearn - the ability to be able to let go of old skills and learn new ones. Ability AQ can change over time as individuals learn and grow this set of skills. As a result, it has the greatest impact on the overall AQ score.

Character AQ describes adaptability elements linked to more innate or stable aspects of Self. It is comprised of an individual’s Emotional Range, Extraversion preference, Hope, Motivation Style, and Thinking Style. It reflects the way in which people might approach adapting and offers predictors of adaptability behaviour.

The Environment AQ reports on what an individual encounters in the workplace. The environment can either help or inhibit adaption. Even someone with high adaptability skills and an adaptable personality can struggle to adapt if their environment negatively impacts adaptability. Therefore, this third dimension of AQ is critical. Management typically controls the work environment, and this is where managers need to pay the most attention. We measure Environmental AQ across five sub-dimensions: Company Support, Emotional Health, Team Support, Work Environment, and Work Stress.

The value with taking this assessment is that it helps both the manager and the individuals benchmark and gain clarity on what to focus on and which are most effective change levers.

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