Grappling with graupel
The best way to deal with unpredictability
Recently, I learned a new weather-related term: graupel (pronounced grau̇-pəl).
Also known as snow pellets, graupel forms when snowflakes are coated with a layer of ice.
(And no, it’s not the same as hail or sleet.)
While those who regularly deal with many forms of precipitation may not have batted an eyelash, seeing graupel fall in my San Francisco Bay Area city caught me completely off guard.
Especially because we’d enjoyed clear, sunny skies and unseasonably warm weather just two days prior, pulling out all the outdoor cushions from the attic and assembling our backyard oasis as if it were June.
Then, there was a major shift. The sky turned an ominous shade of charcoal. And this weird stuff started falling.
I had two choices: freeze (no pun intended) or take action to respond to the sudden change.
With the help of our teenage daughter, I scrambled to move all the cushions inside to the safety of our warm and dry dining room, dodging the onslaught of graupel.
(And yeah, they’re still stacked there* because I’m an optimist and can’t wait for the next sunny day to put them back outside.)
When faced with unpredictability — whether that’s with a rare form of precipitation or your career — the best way to deal with it is by being adaptable.
Even Charles Darwin said, “it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
And in today’s ever-evolving global marketplace, possessing adaptability isn’t just a nicety; it’s essential for survival.
Here are five ways to build it:
1. Resist “because we’ve always done it this way” thinking
Challenge yourself to consider new possibilities. When you’re adaptable, you’re open to changes that could help you be more productive and efficient with time and financial and human resources.
2. Continue to offer up alternative solutions
Adaptable people continue to offer up alternative solutions, even — and especially— when their initial thoughts are turned down. They understand that thinking through and offering many possible scenarios will help them arrive at a favorable option, even if it’s not the first suggestion.
3. Keep calm under pressure
When faced with unexpected challenges and changing circumstances, adaptable leaders respond by keeping calm and confident under pressure. Modeling this adaptability also sets the tone for their teams, who often take their cues from management.
4. Reject a one-size-fits-all management mentality
People are individuals with unique needs. Take the time to learn about your team members’ needs and then adapt your style to serve them.
5. Look for opportunities to stretch yourself
Volunteer for new assignments and proactively develop your skillset and knowledge base. By looking for opportunities to showcase your adaptability, you’ll enhance your experience and reputation as someone adept at change.
Another way to be adaptable is learning to work with (rather than against) the seasons you encounter.
In the context of your career, there’s a “season” that corresponds to every phase and professional goal you have.
And like nature’s seasons, you’ll likely cycle your way through all of them, often more than once.
In my latest Forbes article, I share three reasons you should think about your career as a series of seasons.
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P.P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or grappling with graupel, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
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*See? I wasn’t kidding.