The nature of work is changing, are you ready to adapt?

Last week speaking at WIRE, one of my final slides said, “AQ is the new EQ”. 

Someone came up to me after the event and asked me to go into a bit more detail on what that meant – so I thought it was worth an article.

You’ve probably heard a lot about EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, over the years.

But the world is changing faster than ever –  and if you haven’t already, you’re about to start hearing a lot about AQ. 

EQ (Emotional Intelligence)AQ (Adaptability Quotient)
Understanding and managing emotions and the emotions of others. Helps us use and manage our own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others and overcome challenges.Adaptability Quotient refers to your ability (and that of your business) to thrive in highly changeable environments. It is a measure of how you can adjust to new situations, learn from experiences, and solve problems creatively.

Before we really get into it, AQ is not a new idea, it’s been bandied around for many years.

But as the world gets more and more unpredictable (think Covid, post-Covid boom, interest rate doom, the AI revolution), the need to be able to continually pivot has created an increase in interest in the skill. 

Adaptability Quotient basically refers to your ability (and that of your business) to thrive in highly changeable environments. 

“AQ is the potential – innate or learned – to adapt successfully to a new environment. It’s what stops entire industries from being blindsided when, things like plastic straws and bags go from being staples to rejects – overnight. ” – FutureCrunch

In this article, I’ll take a look at the differences between EQ and AQ, how AQ is becoming the go-to tool for some offices, and how it can give you a competitive edge. 

We’ll also take a look at how you can compete and stay ahead in this dynamic environment.

EQ – Empathy and effective communication

Before we fully dive into AQ, let’s quickly refresh our memory on EQ, or emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient, which began to trump the traditional IQ (or intelligence quotient) as a skill several years ago.

In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others and overcome challenges.

In a work context, that might mean how well a person can build teams or build rapport across customers and clients.

Emotional Intelligence is made up of five main parts: 

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • motivation
  • empathy 
  • and social skills.

In a real estate context, people with a high EQ can handle their emotions better and work well with others, and obviously, we see people who succeed in real estate that have a high EQ.

Navigating a rapidly changing world

AQ, or Adaptability Quotient, is all about how well you can adjust to new situations, learn from experiences, and solve problems creatively.

In our fast-paced world, where things are changing faster than ever, AQ is becoming more and more important, especially for real estate agents.

The real estate industry, like many others, is being transformed by new technologies, AI, and an increasing focus on cost efficiency

Here’s why AQ matters even more in this context:

  1. The world is speeding up: The rate of change with tools like ChatGPT will force our brains to react to new job conditions. We are being forced to grapple with more change than ever before in human history.
  2. Automation: We are being forced to navigate changes brought on by automation in order to remain competitive.
  3. Cost efficiency: Businesses and clients are always looking for ways to lower their costs. By staying agile and quickly adopting new strategies or tools, you can provide more value, streamline processes, and offer competitive pricing.

Here’s why this should matter to you

November 30, 2023, a day for the history books – the day that Open AI launched ChatGPT to the world, freely and available to everyone. 

There’s no learning curve because the interface is a chat on a keyboard – something we are all well and truly capable of using.

There are no barriers to entry because if you don’t want to pay the $20 per month, you can use a limited version for free.

What if your only limit to your productivity was your ability to ask a good question?

I don’t believe there is a point to the naysayers wanting to ban it, ignore it or  dismiss it as something that “won’t affect me”.

We’ve seen this type of thinking in history before.

But the addition of AI tools such as ChatGPT doesn’t mean the end of real estate as we know it, it just means things are going to change.

I mean, if ChatGPT4 can pass a bar exam and a medical exam, (which it can), then we would be crazy to think it won’t impact the real estate industry.

I can clearly remember (showing my age) when Lotus 1-2-3 became popular, I was working for an accounting firm, and everyone thought it might be the end of book-keepers as we know them. 

That didn’t happen, however, the nature of work changed for many of the folks that worked for the firm.

Assessing your own adaptability

We’ve come up with an adaptability scorecard, which measures your business adaptability based on three things: business culture, process flexibility and technological adaptability.

You can take that here (takes 2 minutes) and get a free report emailed to you with areas of potential improvement within seconds.

Another great way to assess your adaptability is through what-if questions.

For example:

  • What if a heatwave prevented every single customer from coming to an open home – how would you pivot (probably in a similar way to COVID, right?)
  • What if a large low-fee agency moved into the area, what would you do to compete?
  • What if your main revenue stream were to dry up overnight?

How can you reinforce your AQ and make it stronger?

It’s not enough to have great interpersonal skills, or be the best – the most important business skill of the 21st century is to be adaptable. 

So, how can you make your AQ stronger? Here are some tips:

  1. Culture first – a strong culture supports adaptability and helps your business thrive in a dynamic environment, while a weak culture may hinder growth and ability to respond to changes in the environment.
  2. Stay flexible – Processes and systems are necessary defaults that we all need to reduce “thinking overload”. They allow us to get stuff done. But ensure you review processes regularly so that you don’t miss opportunities as they come to you. 
  3. Technological adaptability – this one is obvious – stay informed about emerging trends, try new things and ask plenty of “what if” questions. Staying on top of the technology part is challenging, but you can always spread the research among your team. 

AQ is becoming just as important as EQ for real estate agents. By developing your adaptability, you’ll have a competitive advantage and be better prepared to tackle the challenges of the ever-changing real estate landscape.

Want to learn more about AQ and how to use it to accelerate your business?

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.