One Word Worth Building Your Business Around …

(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)

If one thing remains the same, it’s the knowledge that things will forever change. Ironic, right?! That’s because it is.

Think about it for a moment; the one thing we can depend on is that nothing will ever remain the same. It’s okay if the main emotion you’re feeling right now is frustration. It’s incredibly frustrating to spend hours trying to solve a problem that has come up in our business through circumstances that we have absolutely zero control over. This stuff causes sleepless nights, anxiety-ridden mornings, and impossible decisions to solve so that everyone will be happy and has caused more than one business leader to feel the urge to drive their fist through a wall.

You can’t move forward without looking back to see where you’ve been.

The lessons that history teaches us are vital. As my team and I look back while simultaneously looking forward, one word keeps rising to the top of our minds.


The ability to thrive through changes we can’t control goes down to basic survival instincts. Let’s look to the animal kingdom for a bit of inspiration … Chameleons are amazing little creatures, and I was surprised at some of the parallels we can draw between these animals and building a business that can survive the ups and downs of significant change.

One interesting thing about chameleons is that they cannot generate their own body heat, so the ability to change the colour of their skin is how these cute little creatures maintain favourable body temperatures.

A widespread misconception is that the reason chameleons change colours is to camouflage themselves to whatever their current surroundings are, when in fact, the most common reason to change colour is to help regulate their body temperature — or to communicate with other chameleons.

The outer layer of their skin actually has no colour at all, making it completely transparent. Beneath the transparent layer of skin are several more layers containing chromatophores, filled with sacs of different kinds of pigment. Typically, the pigments are locked away inside tiny sacs within the cells. But when a chameleon experiences changes in body temperature or mood, its nervous system tells specific chromatophores to expand or contract. This changes the colour of the cell.

By varying the activity of the different layers, the chameleon can produce various colours and patterns. Incredibly, these creatures are built to thrive from the outside in.

My point is that no matter what temperature changes this creature must adapt to or what circumstances it may face, it is prepared to adapt while, at its heart, they never become anything different than what they are. No matter what colour changes they go through daily, they remain precisely who they are at the core — chameleons.

Comparing anything to chameleons has sometimes gotten a bad rap as we associate the ability to change quickly as a sign of internal weakness or lack of commitment to remain true to who you are.

However, taking the analogy one step further, you will see that the chameleon only becomes something other than it was created to be. It simply adapts to survive and carry out its primary mission in life. 

In the business world, the “temperature,” so to speak, changes all the time.


Looking back over the last two decades, the marketplace has seen MAJOR crises and changes starting with the year 2000 and the bursting of the “technology bubble” in 2001, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the 2002 Stock Market Crash. And then, in 2008, we saw the biggest Ponzi scheme in history with the unravelling of Bernard Madoff, former chairman of NASDAQ, in one of the largest investment fraud schemes in Wall Street history. In short, he defrauded his investors of around $18 billion and was sentenced to 150 years in prison. From 2007 to 2009, we saw the Global Recession and the collapse of Wall Street. Then fast-forwarding to 2020, we are all sick to death of COVID-19 and the instability this crisis has brought to companies globally, killing so many smaller businesses and causing millions to lose their jobs, leaving their livelihoods in question.

There’s no question about it; being an entrepreneur in today’s day ‘n age can be scary.

So how do we do this?  How do we navigate and build new businesses to be successful or turn the tide for ones who know they must become adaptable to survive?

The key to survival lies in the business’s genetic foundations.

Has the foundation of your business been built with adaptability in mind? 

Have you considered modelling your business’s infrastructure to resemble the layers that make up the chameleon?

As mentioned earlier, the chameleon’s most outer layer of skin is transparent. And the deeper you go, the more sophisticated the process becomes so that this stunning creature can change colour as it needs to without ever becoming something other than what it was intended to be. The only reason this works is because of the deeply intelligent design behind the makeup of this animal.

Sometimes things are more complicated than we make them out to be.

Even though the concept is simple, it will take a manageable amount of heavy lifting to make even the slightest shifts and changes. What we are proposing takes an incredible amount of dedication and hard work. It can mean a complete do-over of something you spent years and money putting together. Sometimes even a total restructuring of ways that worked well but have room for improvement.

To speak plainly, stuff only works until it doesn’t. Let me repeat that practices and processes only work until they don’t anymore.

So, plan ahead for change and build adaptability into the foundation of your business. Indeed, change can be painful and frightening. Still, it can signal a time of new hope, exciting things to come and ultimately, the desired stability to outlast those that have not succeeded in anticipating the vital importance of adaptability.

To quote Brene Brown … Let’s consider these “Gifts of Imperfections.”

Our team has identified four significant ways to boost adaptability skills. I would encourage you to allow these “four horsemen” to guide you as you either build a new business or work to shift the tides of an existing business.

All of us that form my team here at Virtually Untangled are entrepreneurs in our own right. However, we spent years working crappy 9 to 5’s before that. One of the things that makes the entrepreneurial mind cringe more than almost anything is hearing the dreaded phrase, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Having this thought process be your guiding light is incredibly dangerous. It may take you down a road of missed opportunities because, as business leaders, it is just too damn difficult to go that far out of our comfort zone. I am not suggesting in any way that we have not learned from the past, but we definitely should! However, I would highly caution against falling into that “everything needs to remain the same” trap. One who remains the same never grows! It’s beautiful when things work out, but we must continuously think about improving things to stay sharp and on top of our game. So that would be my first recommendation, be willing to change your thought process and let go of that dreaded time trap mentality.

My next thought does not come lightly. This comes after a decade of slugging it out on my own, building a virtual business.

So here it is – force yourself to take risks. Start small and work your way up from there. Minimal progress is made without risk. And the risk is necessary to remain highly adaptable.

Certain levels of risk are enjoyable. Even fun! Most of us are born with the ability to handle certain levels of risk. However, it’s much easier to work for a corporation and advise others to be risk-takers than to employ those same techniques when your business is on the line.

There is such a thing as educated risk and calculated risk which is very different than just taking risks blindly. However, I also believe in taking risks by listening to my instincts. Listen to the market. Listen to your instincts. And once you’ve decided where the risk is that you will take, take it decisively. Give your business a measured amount of time to succeed, measure the changes observed as quantifiably as possible and decide again whether the risk was worth it. Think outside the box by eradicating the box. But with caution.

My third recommendation is to encourage those around you to be open-minded. One of the best ways to cultivate having an open mind is to encourage others to do the same. Surround yourself with a TRIBE, people willing to think creatively and develop A’s to your Q’s that keep your business highly functional and adaptable. And find an accountability partner that keeps you honest and on your toes.

My last recommendation is easier said than done … Embrace learning.

This goes hand-in-hand with my first point about changing your thought process. I am 100% certain that one cannot truly happen without the other. Charles Darwin’s words still ring very much true. “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

In Jeff Boss’s Forbes article, “14 Signs of an Adaptable Person”, he identifies the following traits of adaptable people: they experiment, see opportunities where others see failures, are resourceful, think ahead, don’t whine, talk to themselves, and don’t blame others. They also don’t claim fame, are never curious, open their minds, see systems, and stay current.  


Melissa Cory, the co-founder of the Women in Leadership Conference in Oklahoma, once said …

Those who remain flexible and have the opportunity to adapt their thinking and behaviour to circumstances possess and important skill ... turning moments of change into opportunity, however, means we need to be ready to embrace change, create a network that supports us and tools that help us navigate this change.

So, if you think back to the four lessons, Melissa sums it up very nicely. Transformations are always challenging. In 2019, Harvard Business Review released an article on the “Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade”. The #1 company was Netflix. Then in 2013, CEO Reed Hastings released an 11-page memo to employees and investors detailing a commitment to move from just distributing content digitally to becoming a leading producer of original content that could win Emmys and Oscars.

The memo stated, “We can’t compete on breadth with Comcast, Sky, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or Google. To be hugely successful, we must be a focused passion brand. Starbucks, not 7-Eleven. Southwest, not United. HBO, not Dish.” Since unveiling that new purpose, Netflix’s revenue has tripled, its profits have multiplied 32-fold, and its stock has increased by over 57% annually.


Today’s connected world has led to the age of the customer: Powered by technology and the online world, customers have higher expectations than ever before. Mobile has shown consumers to be always on, connected and in control. Social has created a digital influencer community; the voice has brought instant gratification and convenience.

Hasbro is another company that has worked well to adapt to changes in the marketplace. Hasbro is one of the world’s most iconic toymakers, with Monopoly, Nerf, My Little Pony, and Play-Doh among some of their leading brands. They realized they had been focusing on children and its advertising rather than the people who actually buy the products. By leveraging its available customer data segments, Hasbro transformed its marketing efforts to meet its target consumers’ needs. They use social media to run targeted ads while focusing on multiple channels to expand their reach. This strategy targets parents with relevant products when they are buying for their children, which is a strategy that is proving highly effective. And by doing so, their ad spend grew sales by up to $1 billion, hitting the $5 billion mark in 2016 for the first time in its 93-year history.


An article in Harvard Business Review was released and aptly named “Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage” … To adapt, a business must have its antennae tuned to signals of change from its external environment, decode them, then quickly act to refine — or reinvent — its business model and reshape the information landscape of its industry.

Think back to when Stirling Moss was winning Formula One car races … The car and the driver determined who won. But today, the sport is as much about processing complex signals and making adaptive decisions as it is about mechanics and driving prowess. Hundreds of sensors are built into these speedy cars; race teams continuously collect and process data on several thousand variables, ranging from weather and road conditions to engine RPM and the curves’ angles, and feed them into dynamic simulation models that guide the drivers’ split-second decisions. A telemetric innovation by one team can instantly raise the bar for all …


All-in-all, adaptability is an excellent asset because life is highly unpredictable. And as we’ve all learnt from 2020, things can change on a dime.

Someone once said that the most vital will is the will that knows how to bend. Ultimately, it’s relatively simple — to exist is to adapt; if your business cannot adapt, it will die, and room will be made for one who can. Adaptability is genuinely the secret for your business to succeed and survive. Plus, the more your business can adapt, the more interesting it becomes!


Let the digital “untangling” BEGIN … Just pop in your earbuds and hop onto one of your favourite channels by clicking any of the links below!


You can also find The Digital Glue Podcast HERE on our website, or by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

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Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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