Adapt to Encourage Growth - A Quick Tip

Guest Contributor - Kari Heistad

Adapt to Encourage Group

Tap Into New Skill Sets

Humpback whales sing songs that can be up to 20 minutes long. While humans have not yet decoded what they are communicating with these songs, scientists have learned that the songs travel around the world from whale to whale. While the songs are distinctly recognizable, each whale adds its own interpretation to the song, essentially doing a cover version of the humpback Top 40 hits.

Whales possess the ability to adapt what they hear and then make it their own. Adaptive communication is a skill that is also critical to organizational growth.

Keeping something the same just “because this is the way we have always done it” hinders an organization from innovating and progressing.

Adaptation taps into employee skill sets and allows people to utilize their diversity to improve upon old “songs,” making a new version that supports growth.


Action Step: Replace the phrase, “that’s not the way we do it” with “let’s explore that idea,” so that you can benefit from another point of view.


Discussion Questions

  1. How open is our team to people interpreting team “songs” in new ways?
  2. What messages (spoken or unspoken) are we sending to others outside of our team about our willingness to listen to their ideas?
  3. How can we leverage the skills on the team more effectively to help us adapt and innovate?
  4. How can we encourage the creative singing of old team standards or the creation of new “songs” - even if it means giving up the way “something has always been done?”
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