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An Introduction to the Adaptability® CliftonStrengths Theme

Looking to learn more about Adaptability? Whether you want to know more about how to use your Adaptability theme to succeed, or how to help someone harness theirs, you've come to the right place.

You'll find definitions and descriptions made popular in the international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0, plus ideas for how to better understand and use this CliftonStrengths theme.

What Is the Definition of Adaptability?

Adaptability and the rest of the CliftonStrengths themes are comprised of natural talents that Gallup has identified through decades of research.

People exceptionally talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to go with the flow. They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

People complete the CliftonStrengths assessment to learn which of the 34 themes, like Adaptability, are strongest in them.

The following theme description highlights the thoughts, feelings and behaviors you are likely to experience if you have strong Adaptability:

You live in the moment. You don't see the future as a fixed destination. Instead, you see it as a place that you create out of the choices that you make right now. And so you discover your future one choice at a time. This doesn't mean that you don't have plans. You probably do. But this theme of Adaptability does enable you to respond willingly to the demands of the moment even if they pull you away from your plans.

Unlike some, you don't resent sudden requests or unforeseen detours. You expect them. They are inevitable. Indeed, on some level, you actually look forward to them. You are, at heart, a very flexible person who can stay productive when the demands of work are pulling you in many different directions at once.

Adaptability is a theme in the Relationship Building domain of CliftonStrengths.

People with dominant Relationship Building themes like Adaptability build strong relationships that hold a team together and make it greater than the sum of its parts.

Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths sort to one of four domains -- Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. These domains help you understand how to use individual CliftonStrengths to succeed when you join, create or lead a team.

Learn more about the CliftonStrengths domains

How to Better Understand Your Adaptability Theme

Making the most of your Adaptability talents starts with gaining valuable insights into what you naturally do best.

How people with strong Adaptability talents describe themselves:

  • "I am a here-and-now person."
  • "I need present pressures that demand an immediate response."
  • "I love spontaneity."
  • "I hate predictability."
  • "I bring a willingness to follow the lead of change."

How to Apply Your Adaptability to Succeed

The most successful people invest in their strongest talents. The only way to develop your Adaptability talents is to use them every day -- at work, at home and everywhere else.

The following are a few ideas for how to apply your Adaptability to achieve your goals:

Work With Adaptability: Seek roles in which success depends on responding to constantly changing circumstances. In these roles, the best react the fastest and stay levelheaded. Avoid roles that demand structure and predictability. These roles will quickly frustrate you, make you feel inadequate and stifle your independence.

Lead With Adaptability: When the pressure is on, help your hesitant friends, colleagues, and clients find ways to collect themselves and take control of the situation. Explain that Adaptability is about more than simply rolling with the punches; it is about calmly, intelligently and readily responding to circumstances.

Live With Adaptability: Don't let others abuse your inherent flexibility. Though your Adaptability talents serve you well, don't compromise your long-term success by bending to every whim, desire and demand of others. Use smart guidelines to help you decide when to flex and when to stand firm.

Check out our in-depth videos from Gallup experts for more ways to use Adaptability to make the most of your potential.


If You're a Manager With Adaptability

Your Adaptability talent makes you stronger. Lead with your strengths so both you and your team can succeed. A strengths-based approach to management will lead to:

  • better conversations
  • stronger partnerships
  • higher team engagement
  • greater collaboration

For manager-specific insights and strategies, check out your CliftonStrengths for Managers report and explore your top 10 themes and how you can use them to reach your goals.

Managing Team Members With Strong Adaptability Talents

Discovering the collective talents of your team using the CliftonStrengths assessment is just the first step.

To successfully manage or lead others, you must individualize your approach. You must understand what makes each of your team members unique. And you must lead meaningful conversations about performance that focus on what each person naturally does best.

An Example of Managing Team Members With Adaptability

During stressful situations, ask them to help others find productive ways to make progress. They can help others see how the new approach will benefit the group.

Use the CliftonStrengths Assessment to Discover More About Adaptability

CliftonStrengths DNA Strand image.

How Strong Are Your Adaptability Talents?

Purchase CliftonStrengths 34 to reveal your complete unique talent profile and learn just how strong your Adaptability talents are. You'll get personalized insights into your CliftonStrengths results and ideas for maximizing your potential.

Group of people at work discussing their strengths.

How to Work With Others With Strong Adaptability Talents

Gallup offers resources and products you can use to help others succeed by developing their Adaptability theme and all their CliftonStrengths.