ATD Blog

“Q” Up for Adaptability

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

So, you think you have leveled up your Qs when it comes to leadership? That may be. But first, let’s make sure we know what the Qs are and their importance to leadership.

The primary examples of leadership Qs are the adaptability quotient (AQ), emotional quotient (EQ), and intelligence quotient (IQ). These quotients are crucial for your ability to lead yourself before you can maximize your potential to lead others with the right Qs. Experience is the best teacher; however, we should learn what we can get correct about leadership before we have to learn from doing it incorrectly.

Adaptability, intelligence, and emotional intelligence are the building blocks for future-ready leaders, but what about you? The quotients for these areas provide the measures senior leaders can use to identify candidates for leadership roles. Do you know how you measure up?

LinkedIn Learning ranked adaptability as the fourth skill in the top five soft skills most needed for 2020. You can use the Q measures for customized approaches to your development in essential areas. The keys will be in knowing what the Qs are, where you are, and how to get where you want to be. This is where adaptability is above the rest and where your AQ must be as well—far above the rest or the average.

As we look ahead, we are not talking about a do-over but a “do better” with leadership. According to John Maxwell’s law of timing, a leader must be able to read a situation, know what to do, and know where they need to go. Change can happen at any time and all the time, so every moment is different. However, a moment always arises for a leader to seize. High AQ leaders know when to seize the moment. The uncertainty and change ahead require your mental along with emotional ability to perceive, perform, and progress during change. The 5R model is a tool to leverage for your adaptability climb. It targets development in key areas relevant to your adaptability to move you to a high AQ.

Here is a breakdown of the 5R model.

5 R Model -- Refresh, Rethink, Reassess, Reinvent, Reimagine
Refresh. Do your mental restart to remove the negative mental course of thinking from what you were told by others or by yourself from your mindset and attitude. Search for what you may need to remove or revise at the root of the negative thinking. Ensure you have a positive and healthy support system of people and habits. Remind yourself of who you are—your values, beliefs, principles, and character.

Rethink. Think about what you can add and what has been added to you rather than focus on what has been subtracted. Consider what your creative and innovative sweet spots are. Brainstorm and create a plan for your next moves in relationships, education, work, career, and more.

Reassess. Look at your brand and image. Consider your strengths, opportunities, capacity, and potential. Note your accomplishments and milestones.


Reinvent. Consider yourself—your brand, image, and what you are about. Redo your social media profile, look at others for ideas, see where you excel, and play that up. Recognize your occupassion. Create or enhance your virtual or digital portfolio.

Reimagine. Ask yourself what you have the potential and capacity to be in your future. Do the research for your occupassion to learn what is trending and what is the latest in the industry for it. Get skilled, access training, and develop yourself to improve and perform at the top of your game—that is, high AQ.

It’s about more than just being resilient and flexible. Now more than ever, competitive advantage and sustainability are just two of the distinguishing factors for high AQ individuals. Ready or not, it’s your time to level up to a high AQ.

Want to learn more? Join me during the ATD 2021 International Conference & Exposition for the session Leading With the Right Qs.

About the Author

Esther Jackson is a project manager, local college instructor, speaker, instructional designer, and trainer. She has been able to focus on the evolving learning needs and expectations of today’s multigenerational workforce. Esther has a proven track record of equipping people with the skills and knowledge to face challenges in the midst of constant change by addressing the employee experience, workforce engagement, performance, and professional development.

Esther has more than 20 years of combined experience in HR leadership, project management, talent development, and diversity and inclusion. Her dedication and commitment to the development, productivity, and performance success of others has helped propel her in multiple roles in the public and private sectors. She has also taken the stage speaking at multiple national and local conferences in addition to writing articles on talent development and diversity topics.

In addition, she serves as a National Advisor for Chapters with the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Esther was previously president of the ATD Detroit Chapter, and is currently involved with Detroit SHRM, NAAAHR-State of Michigan, and other ATD chapters across the US.

Esther has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from Wayne State University. She has a doctoral degree in higher education and adult learning from Walden University. Her doctoral study on technology preferences of multiple generations in the workplace classroom has received nearly 1,000 downloads since its publication three years ago. In addition, she holds an Adaptability Quotient (AQ) Certification.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.