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ORBA workshop examines the power of harnessing the ‘Adaptability Quotient’

Dan O’Reilly
ORBA workshop examines the power  of harnessing the ‘Adaptability Quotient’

Despite the best planning, unexpected issues, events and hurdles are inherent with most construction projects.

That is why a one-day workshop at the Ontario Road Builders’ Association’s upcoming Road Building Academy will have special resonance, not just for roadbuilders, but for all construction sectors.

Adapting to short-, medium- and long-term changes will be the focus of the Adaptive Excellence workshop, where the participants will learn about the power of harnessing the “Adaptability Quotient.”

International communication specialist Nancy Watt will lead the seminar, which is an amalgamation of three separate workshops specifically customized for ORBA.

It will cover the importance of adaptability in both professional and personal settings, resiliency training and harnessing humour for better diversity and inclusion.

“We learn better when humour is used,” says Watt, adding the workshop will be a lively and engaging experience and attendees will not be sitting in their seats simply listening to her.

Based in Dundas, Ont., Watt, who heads her own communications firm, was in the first Adaptability Quotient graduating class from AQai, an organization that promotes the Adaptability Quotient.

Nancy Watt International  Communication  Specialist
Nancy Watt

There are more than 1,500 companies now on the AQai platform, including individuals and teams from the United States Army, Microsoft, large engineering and construction firms, ADSC, Dell Technologies, AWS and Health Canada, says Watt.

Asked to provide a definition of the Adaptability Quotient, she explains it is a scientific measurement of adaptability in individuals and teams to assess their performance and potential, as well as gauging how well they respond to uncertainty, new information and/or changed circumstances.

Characterized by “its dynamic nature and complex challenges” the construction industry stands to significantly benefit from investing in AQ in professional development, says Watt. As one example, she cites its diverse workforce and clientele.

“The construction sector often involves working with a diverse range of people, from clients to labourers with varied backgrounds. AQ helps in navigating these diverse interactions and fosters better communication and collaboration.”

The popular understanding of adaptability as a factor in survival and human endeavour can be traced back to Charles Darwin’s origin of the species, she points out.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change,” says Watt, using a quote from the 19th century English naturalist, biologist and author.

Current literature, however, describes a shift from a mindset of survival to “thriving” and becoming more adaptable.

“Staying ahead of the curve is not just about responding to change, but predicting and influencing it.”

And staying ahead of the curve and being willing to adapt is becoming more critical in an ever changing world, says Watt.

“We’re going to be seeing more changes in the next 10 years than we have in the last 100 years.”

Watt’s workshop will be held on March 1 as part of the Road Building Academy which will run from Feb. 26 to March 1. For more information visit

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