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Business Culture Adaptability

Part of a blog series about the culture and values at BroadSoft.

Changing at the speed of technology.

Our world is constantly evolving. The only constant is change. Technology, in particular, is changing at a faster rate than ever before. I developed digital wireless technology back in the day when only 1% of people even had a cell phone, and a digital phone was the size of a suitcase! Fast forward to now: in a span of 20 years, most people -- including their kids -- have a cell phone, some have multiple phones, and many have a cell phone as their only phone.

Software delivery methodologies have also followed a similar curve where what used to take years can now be deployed in weeks or even days. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable and our ability to adapt is critical to our mission of bringing best-in-class productivity and collaboration tools to businesses -- and it is essential to our remaining competitive and relevant.

Just look at our transition into the cloud and the impact to our organizations as a real-world example of adapting to change. We built a software product for the last 18 years using largely the same processes and methodologies. While we embraced continual improvement and optimized processes over that time, the cloud transition brought new challenges and paradigms -- doing things the same way would not only be cost-prohibitive, but also would impact our ability to keep up with, let alone outpace, innovation in the industry. The transition was a new challenge, and we had to adapt. It started with the leadership team setting the direction for our transition and then evangelizing that vision to the broader teams. This was critical because without every single individual being on board, embracing the change, and being able to adapt, moving our mission forward would be impossible.

For me, organizational adaptability is more important than the individual ability to adapt. Harnessing the power of teams and organizations is what allows us to innovate and deliver high-quality products. However, you can’t have organizational change without individual change – and individual change can be hard and even uncomfortable sometimes. But, that discomfort is often the beginning of growth.

Business Culture Adaptability Competency

Everyone has it in themselves to adapt to new circumstances and challenges. Look at the BroadWorks R&D leadership team. They are some of the most tenured team members at BroadSoft and they’ve had to adapt over time as our business has evolved. In fact, I’d say a big part of how they’ve stayed relevant and grown in their careers is due to their ability to roll with the changes and challenges that come their way.

Here are three ways to make it easier to be adaptable to change:

Be confident.

To adapt to the unknown, you have to have confidence in your abilities. By its nature, change means that it’s something new, something you don’t know. You need to have confidence that what you’ve done to this point has prepared you to take on the next challenge.

Have a desire to learn.

If you don’t want to learn new things, then you’re going to stagnate -- you’re by definition not being adaptable. The business landscape is changing, new ideas and concepts are constantly being introduced, and we all need to keep learning in order to stay relevant.

Be passionate.

You want to be passionate but not emotionally attached...it’s a fine line. I’m extremely passionate, but I’m not overly attached when it comes to a particular product, process or team. You’ve got to be able to let go of the personal and embrace the promise of what a new direction can bring for the organization.

Honestly, I think work would be boring if things didn’t change. And I can’t imagine a business environment that doesn’t change, especially in today’s world. You can fight it or embrace it, but in my experience, if you’re adaptable to change, you’ll have the opportunity for much more success in life.

At BroadSoft, eight “competencies” form the foundation of how we work: Trust & Respect, Common Goals, Communication, Collaboration, Adaptability, Customer Focus, Innovation, and Celebrate Success. The competencies and our values — Enjoy What We Do, Make Great Things Happen, and Do What’s Right — are a big part of our culture in every location and at every level of our organization. In this blog series, different BroadSoft leaders reflect on what the competencies and values mean for them and the work they do. 

About the Author

Sam Hoffpauir is the BroadSoft VP of engineering.