Adaptability versus Talent

Nurturing Skills for the Future of Work

12 January 2021

Modern companies which will be successful tomorrow are those that get buy-in from their employees and create an environment conducive to development on both professional and personal levels.

Being adaptable and flexible is the cornerstone of human development. We are born with a certain skill set and associated prospects, but we always need to nurture these skills in order to develop and utilise them in practical settings.

This has been ever more realised this year; 2020 has been a big blow to our sense of safety with many having lost their jobs or seen their opportunities for development depleted, which attacks our self-confidence.

Emotional intelligence

Besides the sectors where physical limitations prevented them from changing, after nine months of being more or less locked down, there are people, companies and organisations that have thrived because they were able to successfully adapt to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is nothing new as science has already proven so many times before that people with higher emotional quotient – those that are eager to communicate and on various levels – are much higher performing than those with just the usual high intelligence quotient.

Intelligence is the basic, core supply we have and should not be disregarded as unimportant – far from it – but it is emotional intelligence, the ability to adapt, to respond to the changing environment that has become indispensable.

This is true for nearly every sector, but consider the legal system as an example.

The law firms of the future are aiming to develop the next generation of lawyers with a new mindset and set of skills. And although the core of legal work has not changed for centuries (giving legal advice, drafting contracts, etc.), the core of intellectual capital is basically the same, but what is changing is the tools to expedite the procedures.

From embracing the use of modern technology to incorporating artificial intelligence, we must combine these developments with the soft skills mentioned above in order to set apart the leaders of a sector from the rest of the pack.

Companies that encourage their employees to digitally upskill will have a clear advantage over those who do not embrace technology. There are digital accelerators which can provide guidance in industry-specific tools in a relatively short period of time and are tailored to the existent knowledge-base of the employees.

Yet, there are probably limits to how much a person can adapt and this should be recognised from management through to the employees themselves.

Uneven playing field

As was evident back in March, larger corporations with considerable resources were able to move their functions online with little to no disruption for their clients.

While there are numerous, affordable online tools to help smaller firms successful digitise, there will be unequal starting positions.

Yet, opportunities to leapfrog forward do exist and when recognised can act as springboards for companies willing to adapt quickly enough.


For large and small companies, the effects and strains of remote working were never so on display as they have been over the past several months.

The new challenges of finding ways to keep your employees motivated while supporting mental health issues has been a universal problem, and should be mitigated as best as possible before irreparable damage is rendered on the company and individuals.

The modern companies which will be successful tomorrow are those that get buy-in from their employees and create an environment conducive to development on both professional and personal levels.

It will be the collective drive of a company and willingness to change that will determine who thrives in the unknown business landscape of tomorrow.



This is a summary of a discussion with Joanna Gierak-Onoszko (PR & Communications Manager, Dentons) and Branka Rajičić (People & Talent Partner, PwC Central & Eastern Europe) at the New Europe 100 Forum 2.0 on 10-11 December 2020, edited by Galan Dall, Editor-at-Large of Visegrad Insight. Find out more about the New Europe 100 network here. For updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The interview is part of a project supported by the International Visegrad Fund.




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