This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Harnessing the Power
of the Tides


  The Herman Trend Alert

December 2, 2020

Adaptability: the Must-Have Skill Set for Normal 2.0

In 1998, my late partner Roger Herman published a book called Turbulence: Challenges and Opportunities in the World of Work; Are You Prepared for the Future? In that book, Roger wrote a chapter called "The Adaptables"---about how these folks would be most in demand in the future. When I heard about the new focus on Adaptability, my interest was piqued. My new podcast partner Ira Wolfe has been talking about complexity and agility in the form of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) for years. For almost as long, he had been looking for a way to effect the changes he saw were needed to help organizations cope with our fast-shifting environment.

Adaptability Defined
Author of The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work (Wiley 2020), Heather McGowan, defines adaptability as "the skill to handle ambiguity, to both learn and unlearn in a changing environment." Wolfe suggests, "adaptability is the ability to think about opportunity in the right way." No one would dispute that, "In work as in life, evolutionary success belongs to those who can most readily adapt," and I fully agree---as would Roger.

Enter AQ: Adaptability Quotient
Friends of Wolfe's, Mike Raven and Ross Thornley, launched a moonshot initiative to ensure that no human is left as technology, business, and people converge. They recognized a flaw in current change management and coaching approaches: the lack of a holistic measure of workplace adaptability. Through collaborations in business, academia, and science, they designed developed, validated, and launched a best-in-class assessment that now provides a complete view on adaptability. Wolfe recognized an immediate synergy. He saw the opportunity to use this tool in his work. For individuals, he saw the chance to bridge the gap between the status quo and Normal 2.0; and for organizations, he saw the opening to assess their team's change-readiness and reskilling priorities. More than just a diagnostic tool, AQai is also prescriptive; it may be used as a coaching blueprint.

AQai: An Assessment to Determine your Adaptability Quotient
The AQai measures 15 dimensions of Adaptability which are divided into 3 categories: Ability, Character, and Environment. The most important of these categories is Ability, because each dimension can be learned and improved. The five dimensions are: Grit, Resilience, Mental Flexibility, Growth Mindset, and Unlearning. The dimensions for Character are Emotional Range (similar to EQ), Intra/Extraversion preference, Hope, Motivation Style, and Thinking Style. The dimensions for Environment are Company Support, Team Support, Emotional Health, Work Environment, and Work Stress. Even the AQai 'testing' experience reflects the transformational times we live in. The assessment is completed through a conversation with AQai's chatbot personality Aida, Imagine taking an assessment that's fun!

An Extra Bonus for Teams
The goal of AQai's moonshot is to help 100 million people adapt and thrive in the future. They have worked with UNESCO, Singularity University, and corporations like HSBC and IBM to boost adaptability and embrace opportunity.

Adaptability Skillset can be your Key to Success
Today's challenges of exponential growth and unprecedented disruption demand a new approach. Recognized some major players, including the World Economic Forum, Institute for the Future, and the Harvard Business Review, the ability to adapt has critical importance for both workers and organizations. . . quite possibly, the new competitive advantage. When people embrace adaptability, they can transcend uncertainty and reimagine opportunity. They feel hopeful and often feel the confidence and courage to grow and reach their human potential.

For an introduction to the importance and power of adaptability, watch this 11-minute mini-documentary film created by 15-time Emmy award-winning director Nick Nanton by clicking here. To enroll in the AQai masterclass, visit here.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: "The Power of Career Pathing in Normal 2.0 and Beyond"
Recently, I had a great conversation with soon-to-be-again Employer of Choice® Len Carter, CHRO of FHN Healthcare in Freeport. Illinois. Behind him on a White Board was FHN's impressive Career Pathways Program. In this Herman Trend Alert,, I will address FHN's program as well as other career pathing strategies that have worked for other employers.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 1.336.210.3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

At this season of Thanksgiving in the United States, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my appreciation to you, our valued subscribers for your continued loyalty. It is precisely that loyalty that allows me to come into your lives once a week with our insights and forecasts for the future. Many thanks!

With the workforce crisis detailed in last week's Herman Trend Alert, you could really use a leg up in competing for top talent. Winning the Employer of Choice® Award could be your competitive edge in this very tight labor market. Celebrate your employee-centered corporate culture! This coveted award is well worth the effort, yet is not easy to achieve. Download the extensive application at; or for a Word® version, drop a note to or call Joyce at 1.336.210.3548.

Want to know how Joyce (our author) gets quoted in TIME Magazine and other national media? Sign up for You will be found by the news media and in Google searches: 1. Through your personal search-engine-optimized press room by 39 topics you choose; 2. By news releases pushed out 10 ways including Google News; 3. Be found in the 2021 printed Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons. Until December 10th, get a free 10-Day Pass and send news releases free at

To read this Herman Trend Alert on the web:

Herman Trend Alerts are produced by the Herman Group, strategic business futurists, Certified Management Consultants, authors, and professional speakers.

New subscribers are always welcome. There is no charge for this public service. The Herman Trend Alert is read by over 30,000 people in 90 countries, including other websites and printed periodicals. Click here to sign up for the Herman Trend Alert.

Do you enjoy receiving this weekly e-mail update? Contact us about our co-branded Herman Trend Alert service.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe to weekly Herman Trend Alert
View this week's Herman Trend Alert
Archived Weekly Herman Trend Alerts


[ Home About Products Resources Media ]


7112 Viridian Lane
Austin, TX 78739
Voice: 336-210-3548
Toll Free in US & Canada: 800-227-3566

  © The Herman Group. All rights reserved.

Web site design by WebEditor Design Services, Inc.