Henry Ford’s old dictum — “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” — doesn’t apply in the age of the customer. Meeting customer desires and needs is paramount for success, but it’s getting harder to do so. Whether that be in the form of increased personalization of services and products or in the form of rapidly shifting customer requirements, the bar grows higher every year.

As a result, today’s leaders must build an organization that can flex, pivot, and adapt to customer demands. They must leverage a constellation of technology innovations — that, collectively, comprise the future of work — to construct a delivery model that skates to where the puck is going, not where it’s been, to paraphrase Wayne Gretzky.

It’s not easy to do.

So how can you prepare your company to be ready? You can build an adaptive workforce in support of your adaptive enterprise strategy. In our report, “The Adaptive Workforce Will Drive The Future Of Work,” we offer leaders a path forward: You must cultivate three workforce-centered aptitudes to drive adaptiveness. These include:

  • Future fitness. Some people are readier than others to enter the bold new world of intelligent technologies shaping the future of work. Future fitness is a set of personal characteristics that employees and leaders can cultivate and that you can hire for when bringing on new talent. By being healthier (physically and mentally) and having the right attitudes and emotional profile, you are more likely to succeed in the future of work. My colleague James McQuivey developed future fit to help people bring their best to the future of work.
  • Employee experience. The best future employee experiences will focus on helping employees cope with the onslaught of automation and AI and with the vicissitudes of capitalism itself. Leaders have a lot of latitude in driving better employee experience (EX). My colleagues Sam Stern and Dave Johnson have built an extensive practice, to which I’ve contributed as well, on EX.
  • Robotics quotient. The robotics quotient (RQ) measures the ability of individuals and organizations to adapt to, collaborate with, and drive business value from investments in AI, automation, and robotics. Companies don’t usually fail with automation, AI, or blockchain projects because of the technology itself; they usually fail because the culture, skills, leadership, and organizations aren’t prepared to use those technologies effectively. I developed RQ to help clients succeed with AI, automation, and similar intelligent software.

We hope you’ll watch the two-minute video above. And then clients can read the full report, “The Adaptive Workforce Will Drive The Future Of Work,” to build their own adaptive workforce strategies.

J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst serving CIOs. He leads Forrester’s research on the impact that automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics have on the future of work, the future of jobs, the economy, and CIO strategies. He also covers innovation in the context of disruptive devices and interfaces — from PCs to mobile devices and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) to software and intelligent agents — and how these technologies drive improvements in employee experience and business outcomes. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder.