On Wednesday, March 7th, I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop entitled, “Connect, Learn & Thrive,” hosted by the Women’s Leadership Center at the American Management Association. This one-day event brought together women from all over the country for professional development and networking. From the icebreaker activity at the beginning of the day that had all participants meet five people that they didn’t know previously, to the morning session that asked each table to come up with challenges that they face in the workplace, every single part of the day felt intentional and left attendees with various takeaways to help them long after the workshop ended.

The keynote, “Ready, Set, Change: Six Career Strategies to Help You Succeed in a Workplace That Has Just One Constant—Change,” was delivered by Dr. Christine Riordan, president of Adelphi University. While her speech was filled with poignant stories and great takeaways, the main concept (and the one that spoke the most to me) was the idea of Adaptive Agility™—knowing your environment, looking at what needs to change, doing it, assessing, and adjusting as necessary. In the advertising and communications world, change is happening before our very eyes. It’s so important to pay attention to the new demands in our environments and to be able to adjust accordingly. Dr. Riordan gave us six steps to help develop Adaptive Agility™:

  1. Learn to recognize changes in the environment. This can mean becoming acquainted with people in your company to get a full view of what’s going on, or even just paying attention to new developments in your field and immediate environment.
  2. Identify how your work demands are different, and therefore, how you need to be different. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. As your environment changes, you are going to have to figure out what this means for your everyday routine and how you do your job.
  3. Assess your willingness and capacity to adapt. It is important to note that you can be willing to adapt but unable, or unwilling and able. Take a look inward and figure out which category you fall into.
  4. Adapt! Develop a new mindset, skills, and behaviors. The only thing that is constant is change! If you are willing and able, make the necessary adjustments based on your new environment.
  5. Evaluate your performance results. The only way to know if you are adapting appropriately is to assess your progress. What is or isn’t working? Figure that out and make the necessary changes.
  6. Develop your resilience and continuously improve. Changing is hard work, and can make you feel like you are completely out of your element (because oftentimes, you are). However, as time goes on, you will find that you are getting better step by step and day by day.

The beauty of these steps is that they don’t end once you reach number six. As you grow and your environment changes, the steps of Adaptive Agility™ are part of an ongoing cycle and should be repeated as often as needed.

I’m so grateful to the Women’s Leadership Network for sending me to this event. As someone who is in the early stages of her career, it was amazing to connect with women who are further along than I am and to be able to hear about their experiences, both good and bad. I know that I will be able to use the skills and tactics that I acquired at the workshop throughout my career and that I will be able to pass along that knowledge to others as well. Cheers to connecting, learning, and thriving!