• Dr. Dallas Dance

Adapting VS Failing: The Power of Adaptation

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

What I know professionally as well as personally is that leadership comes with many ups and downs, many roadblocks, and sometimes what appears like endless obstacles. An unclear or difficult path to success may make you grow weary and consider quitting, but rest assured an upset or trying time does not have to equal closure and a shut down of your vision and plan. As a creator and as a leader, you brought your vision into manifestation, and you have the power to determine when it is finished and too far from redemption. Before you decide to cut ties, count your losses, and potentially move on, I want to encourage you to consider adapting versus accepting failure.

First, let me give this disclaimer. From personal experience, everything has a season and many things, projects and opportunities in our lives do have an endpoint. We have to accept that, and it is truly okay. When something has served it’s purpose or is too draining long-term to hold on to, it is ok to let it go. Hanging on to something that has become a burden or is not thriving or is not fulfilling will mentally, physically, and emotionally drain you and potentially prevent your next success. There is power in adaptation, but there is also power in letting go and moving on to achieve greatness so always know the difference. But, you have to know the difference!


But in many cases, when your heart is still in it, when you still believe in your vision, and you have had a track record of success but have been or are currently faced with many obstacles or a negative shift, it is not time to quit, it is time to level up and persevere. Adaptation can help you overcome in the following three ways.


1. Get Money

More money more problems? Not quite, lack of finance and cash flow will hinder any vision and create an even bigger problem because you can no longer fund your goals. If your project, idea, business, or any organization which calls you its leader is struggling right now I bet a new or expanded budget would help if composed and used strategically. Extra cash will allow you to hire more people to help you reach your goal, or possibly give you a stronger advertising/marketing budget, or allow you to turn samples, prototypes, or ideas into tangible, high quality products. If an inadequate budget is tempting you to call it quits, try this first:

  • Explore crowdsourcing options where you offer a product or perk at a later date for a right now small investment.

  • Host a fundraising event. It can be a networking event where there is a cover charge, or double team and host an event that also supports your favorite charity. Get creative!

  • Get your financial history and success together and seek an angel or seed investor.

  • Speak with a banker about a small business loan.

  • If you are part of a group or company that you are a leader of but do not own, craft a presentation and report stating and proving what is lacking and how an increased budget will support your efforts.

2. Regroup

Adapting by re-strategizing and regrouping is always a win. This is what my team and I do DAILY! We assist our clients with strategy! And, EVERY problem can be solved through people AND strategy! But, as leaders, it is imperative that we remain flexible. Rarely does every part of our plan go as planned. Shifts in your team, target audience, economy, societal trends, technological trends etc. can cause direct changes to your bottom line and sales, interest, or other progress. This is not failure; this change. Don’t be stubborn and hold on tightly to your original plan. Plans are meant to be adjusted, as appropriate. An altered plan is better than a failed entity. Perhaps you need to rebrand, upgrade your product or service, survey or research to better understand those you serve, which is fine! Take a break, take a vacation, or seek a mentor or unbiased eyes to give input. Special emphasis on taking a break! When you are stressed and discouraged, you are in no position to lead or strategize. Walk away. Take a day, take a week, take a month – you know yourself. Give yourself a clear head, an open mind, and be at peace so that you can make the best decisions for you and your vision. This will allow you to regroup and develop a viable plan to successfully move forward.


3. Invest in Your People

If you are dealing with shifts and changes and have come up with a way to move forward now, it’s time to get your team on board. Team members operating in the past and holding on to former goals, methods, and ideologies is a major roadblock. This is the time to lead and be transparent and not just discuss but teach and develop all of your colleagues on the modified vision and the future landscape of the organization. A special emphasis is placed on transparency. Responsibilities may have shifted, more may be required, or additional hires may be necessary to tackle areas no one else is skilled to do. The point is, as a leader you are not alone. You may be in the driver’s seat, but the vehicle is not empty. If you want to adapt versus fail, require your team to adapt and grow with you and empower them to do so. And, you must go through this exercise WITH and ALONG with them!


Adaptation is powerful because it stretches us. Through adaptation we get creative, think outside of the box, and vacate our comfort zones. We also learn. We learn more as we are exposed to additional ways of doing the work we love as we grow as leaders. This is a necessary tool in our leadership toolbox because absolutely nothing is forever stagnant, and adaptation is what will keep us afloat and on the path to progression over and over again. For every obstacle placed in front of us, adaptation teaches us to bend not break and to examine and tackle each obstacle versus running from it or getting discouraged. Push, persevere, and remember that altering smaller pieces of the puzzle does not in any way diminish the larger, original goal, and vision we created. The end result is the same – success. And, this can go for professional as well as personal! Believe me, I know!


If this inspires you and you want more thoughtful commentary and discussions on leadership, success, professionalism, and more subscribe to my YouTube Channel here: http://bit.ly/DialogueWithDallas