Compiled By Deborah Austin Flexibility and adaptability -- always useful career-building tools -- may prove even more crucial these days. In a recent Accountemps survey, 35% of U.S. chief financial officers cited "adapts easily to change" as the characteristic most necessary for an employee to succeed -- with another 27% choosing "motivated to learn new skills." The last-place answer was "willing to work long hours," at 5%. That's not surprising, says Reesa Staten, vice president/director of research for Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing services firm Robert Half International (RHI) Inc., the parent firm of Accountemps. With layoffs, downsizing and the dot-com debacle, "the last 18 months have been characterized by change in the workplace." In downsized companies, employees may now wear many hats -- and mergers drive job description changes. "Senior level executives are looking to their management teams to be innovators . . . and respond quickly to competitive pressures," she says. Managers should examine their own performance: "Are they being strategic or simply reacting?" Accountemps polled 1,400 U.S. CFOs.