The One Leadership Trait Every Professional Needs

What does Yelp have to do with adaptive leadership? Maybe more than you think.

You probably know Yelp as the destination for online customer reviews (covering everything from local restaurants to salons). But Yelp didn’t begin with dreams to become the most influential online directory site it is now. It thought it had a better idea.

Yelp started over 15 years ago as a platform where friends could offer direct suggestions to other friends for local spots. The idea seemed promising; the startup even received a million-dollar early investment by a co-founder of PayPal. But after building the platform and testing it out with users, the idea wasn’t as popular as the creators originally imagined. They soon realized that while users may not enjoy giving suggestions to friends when prompted, they were still leaving local business reviews on their own (and simply for fun). Yelp adapted their thinking to focus exclusively on this idea of voluntary reviews, steadily growing the platform into the well-known brand it is today.

Change is Constant

When reflecting on this unexpected journey of Yelp, it’s not an uncommon path. Changing your mindset or adapting your approach are trends that aren’t going anywhere. As market saturation grows due to increased e-commerce and advertising channels, businesses must learn how to be flexible and creative in their journey to gain more market ground. Today’s business leaders need to support processes that are less rigid, quickly alter strategies, and shake up team thinking to push their business forward and remain competitive. These leaders must hone their ability, above all, to adapt.

The Future of Business

Adaptation: it’s not just about changing, it’s about thinking differently as you lead and work. In today’s climate, it’s a tall order; our current economic environment seems less predictable than ever. Just think about how your industry has changed over the last decade. If it’s like many, technology has brought sweeping waves of change to consumer expectations, marketing best practices, and product development.

While Yelp adapted to meet consumer preferences, many companies will need to adapt to (at minimum) keep up with technological innovation or (at most) continue to lead innovation. Rapidly changing innovation like the Internet of Things (IoT), increased automation, and AI is ushering in a different era of business. It’s creating an environment that requires quick decision-making and diverse perspectives, and it calls for a new type of leadership.

Becoming an Adaptive Leader

Many seasoned professionals began their careers in a starkly different business landscape. New generations of consumers have brought (and continue to bring) different expectations and motivations, which changes how businesses must operate. While it’s a time of uncertainty for the future of business, it’s also a time of incredible opportunity. To make the most of this time, leaders must rethink traditional processes that have driven much of business forward until now.

Adaptive leaders can:

  • Make the right decisions faster
  • Develop key talent
  • Lead teams through crises
  • Engage in creative problem solving
  • Equip and support flexible, agile teams

These leaders are influential at all levels of management and are valuable assets to any organization. Adaptive professionals will be the leadership that paves the way for tomorrow.

An Investment in Your Career

Are you ready to learn more about how to become an adaptive leader? Want to discover how to become indispensable to your organization? Ready to learn directly from thought leaders in adaptive business practices?

The Executive Education Center at TCU’s Neeley School of Business offers a three-day program that helps both experienced and new managers improve their adaptive leadership traits. The skills and lessons taught during the three days can be put to use immediately while continuing to guide daily management practices in the future.

Learn more about the certificate program, and hear from past attendees on why becoming an Adaptive Leader has been a step forward in their careers.

When you’re ready, register here, or contact the Executive Education team for more information.


“The TCU Adaptive Leader Certificate Program was a worthy investment in both time and money. The weekly discussions were both relevant and engaging. The most valuable part of the program was the opportunity to learn from other local business leaders going through the same challenges in various industries around the Metroplex.”
Greg Malter, Branch Manager - Dallas/Fort Worth, Expeditor International of WA Inc.

“This course [The Adaptive Leader] and the extremely knowledgeable professors allowed me to review my leadership style, and learn new tools to manage in an ever changing workplace. The insights and facilitation of the instructors and the diverse skill sets and backgrounds that each of my classmates brought to every session will serve myself, the company well and ultimately our customer well.”
Bill Scherer, Aviall Services, Inc. - A Boeing Company

Bill Scherer, Aviall Services, Inc. - “These programs have without a doubt changed my perspective on leading teams; making decisions; and the way I view my daily life in general. My boss has already seen changes in me for the better. It was awesome; thank you for a great program with many great educators.”
Adaptive Leader participant, survey comment, Leading at the Next Level Session 10

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other ways we can connect you and your organization to the Neeley School's exceptional resources.

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