Adaptability: Omaha!






I had the pleasure of joining my peers and COMCAST & NBCU marketing leaders recently as the CMO of Universal Parks & Resorts, Alice Norsworthy, hosted a face-to-face interview with Peyton Manning.  Starting with a well-placed opening about her devotion to the University of Florida (Peyton was the QB for SEC rival Tennessee), Alice facilitated an entertaining and revealing conversation with this legendary college and NFL quarterback.

Peyton Manning is as personable and likable as you think he is.   

My StrengthsFinder senses perked up when Alice asked her guest about what talent he credited for his success.  One talent that Peyton Manning credited for his success was - Adaptability.   

He described how his Adaptability would allow him to execute plays that would take advantage of the field he was seeing in the moment.  He was able to change strategy on the spot based on the situation he was facing. 

He revealed that his infamous audible call "Omaha!" was and indicator word that told the team that the play was changing.  "Omaha!" meant that the team needed to go to change course and there was limited time on the clock.

Change is inevitable.  In fact, in my organization it is anticipated.  Having worked at Universal Orlando for over 20 years, I have seen plenty of change.  We have introduced additional theme parks, hotels, rides, shows restaurants and nightlife.  Technology has changed, leadership has changed, processes have changed, offices have changed and responsibilities have changed.

Progress is impossible without change.  Given my tenure, I am sometimes asked about what personality traits are required for a long and happy career at Universal.  My answer has been a combination of flexibility (huge dose of this), humor, patience, positivity, confidence, creativity and team spirit.

To sum it up into one talent - Adaptability.

The talent theme of Adaptability is #8 in overall frequency (out of 34) for the 18 million+ people who have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment.  It is exactly #8 on my own list of 34 as well.

People with Adaptability talents respond well to change and find ways to move forward when the unexpected happens.  They live in the moment and anticipate - and at times even look forward to - unforeseen detours.  They enjoy the experience of changing environments and like it when every day is different.

The Adaptability talent theme typically lends itself to a sense of peace and calm.  People with this talent do not dwell on the fear of the unknown and generally remain positive even in the most trying of times.  Like First Responders, they run towards each situation placed in front of them with confidence that they will find a way through it. 



Here are 3 ways to leverage the talent theme of Adaptability in the workplace;

* Team members with dominant Adaptability talents will be most productive focused on short term assignments that require immediate attention.  Purposely seek opportunities to respond to people and situations that could benefit from your perspective and participation.

* Adaptability brings with it a keen situational awareness of today.  They are constantly focused on the "here-and-now".  People with this talent theme are great at spotting the best in others in the moment and should use this ability to recognize and cheer progress and achievements as they occur.

*When making long-term business or career plans, people with high Adaptability should partner with team members who have dominate talent themes of Strategic, Futuristic, Focus or Belief.  These people will help shape longer term goals leaving the person with Adaptability to excel at dealing with the day-to-day.   




Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents.    Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan 





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