Insights & Ideas

Agile or adaptive? Your business needs both

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While agility is important—in your career and your organization—it’s time to think about agility’s big sister: adaptiveness.

Although agility and agile methodologies have received more press, adaptiveness might be even more important for organizations. Research shows organizations that focus on adaptiveness grow 3x faster1 than their competitors.

Karen Walker explains the difference2 between the two this way:

  • Agility is about the level of operational flexibility an organization has to change—it’s the ability to respond quickly to shifts in demand or customer preference within the boundaries of an existing business model.
  • Adaptiveness is about the overall ability of an organization to survive significant unforeseen and foreseen changes to the environment in which they operate.

Salo can help you with agility and adaptiveness.

Our expert consultants can help advance your organization so that you do more than adapt, you thrive.

Adaptiveness isn’t new

Of course, companies have always adapted, but since Gary Hamel3 popularized the concept of “adaptiveness” in 2012, adaptive companies have flourished. Even before coronavirus, a PwC report on human capital trends4 mentioned “building an adaptive workforce” as a key priority for financial services organizations in 2020.

Some obvious examples of adaptive businesses include:

  • Amazon, which grew from an online bookseller to the world’s biggest retailer, and now includes diverse offerings from Ring Doorbells to healthcare startups.
  • Shell originally imported exotic seashells from the Far East to London in the 1880s before expanding into other imports and commissioning the first tanker for oil imports.
  • IBM sold off its signature personal computer business in 2005 in favor of innovations in microprocessors, cloud computing, and software as a service.

Adaptive organizations are all around us

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses continue to adjust their business models in response to the unexpected. But adaptiveness is not just evolving your business out of necessity, it’s evolving it intentionally and proactively. Adaptiveness and agility aren’t just essential for a business to survive—they will ensure that they thrive, too.

Need to build agility and adaptiveness in your organization?

At Salo, we have finance, accounting, and HR consultants who can help. Connect with us today to learn more.



1. Forrester, Adaptive enterprises are growing three times faster than their competitors
2. LinkedIn Pulse, Adaptive, agile, and agile organisations, what’s the difference?
3. Forbes, Gary Hamel: What matters now: Passion!
4. PwC, The power to perform: Human capital 2020 and beyond

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