Chameleons are incredible. They have the ability to change colors to match their surroundings—to adapt to any situation their environment calls for. Without this capability, chameleons would often fall prey to their carnivorous villains.
Whoa, this one looks like green leaves.
And this one looks like rocks!
This is obviously a skill that follows the “survival of the fittest” concept; a long time ago, the lizards that could not change colors were easy to spot and were dinner for a hawk, but the lizards that could adapt to their environment survived. Science proves this idea to be true…yet it is also common sense. If this idea is so simple, then why can’t we, as humans, apply it to our everyday lives? The answer is, “We can. We should…we have to!” Now, I don’t literally mean humans can and should change their skin to look like leaves on a tree so they don’t get eaten by a hawk. I am talking about how we have to be able to adapt our personalities to match certain situations in order to succeed. This applies to all areas of life. From the first day at a new job, to trying to make new friends, to trying to attract a girl/guy, to meeting that girl’s/guy’s parents, an individual must be able to properly interact with the different personalities he or she encounters.
In public accounting, we often work in teams. These teams can consist of two people or 20 people or anywhere in between. And we often spend two to eight weeks with one team, and then we switch to a different team on a different client. Needless to say, we work very closely with a lot of different people. The dynamic changes from team to team because you work with such different personalities. The ability to properly interact with each team is vital to an individual’s success in public accounting. Some teams are very serious while they work. Others like to be goofy and keep the mood light. Some individuals in management are hard to approach. Others are very easy to talk to. I am not saying one is better than the other, I am saying we have to be able to successfully interact with both types of teams and individuals. Because if you aren’t able to do that, there will be someone waiting behind you who IS capable of doing it. And that leaves you as the hawk’s dinner…and yes, that is a metaphor for losing your job.
I do need to say one more thing. Yes, be a chameleon. Adapt to your surroundings. Blend in with the people around you, but don’t confuse “blending” with “being invisible.” You want to be memorable within the confines of what is suitable for the situation. Also, I am not saying you need to change who you are in order to “fit in” with your coworkers. Always be yourself, but know what behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate for each team you work with. If you are able to master this skill, you will undoubtedly impress any company. Or group of friends. Or your date’s parents.