Adaptive Leadership


Book         Adaptive LeadershipAuthor       Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky

Publisher   Harvard Business Review, 2009

Rating     5-Star

You don’t need more willpower.

You need to unlock your unconscious barriers that    hold you back from making  the changes you need.

Leadership for change requires inspiration and perspiration.

These are extraordinary times.  The turn of the millennium brought the pressing realisation that every human being, as a member of a global set of nations, cultures and economies, must find better ways to complete and collaborate.  To build a sustainable world in an era of profound economic and environmental interdependence, each person, each country, each organisation is challenged to sift through the wisdom and know-how of their heritage, to take the best from their histories, leaving behind that which is no longer serving them, and innovate to conserve, preserve and grow.  These times call for more adaptive solutions to move into the future.

Our rapidly changing “orgscapes” require new ways of being and responding beyond the current repertoires of traditional leadership know-how. What is needed are new forms of improvisational expertise, a kind of process expertise that knows prudently how to experiment with never-been-tried-before relationships, means of communication, ways of communication, and ways of interacting that will help people develop solutions that build upon and surpass the current wisdom.

Adaptive Leadership™ is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organisations adapt and thrive in rapidly changing and increasingly challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of adaptation. It is about diagnosing the essential from the expendable and bringing about a real challenge to the status quo.

The five tactics for adaptive leadership are:

  • Diagnose and understand the system, stakeholder interests and surface what is really driving behaviour.
  • Mobilise ideas into action, reframe people’s default assumptions, and orchestrate conflict.
  • Reflect on loyalties, trigger and tolerances, roles and authority.
  • Connect your own aspirations with your leadership purpose and engage the tough problems. Speak from the heart to engage people.
  • Grow your authority through leadership, your personal support network and renew yourself.

When an organisation realises that its aspirations, the innovations and progress it wants to see, demands responses outside the current organisational capacities, Adaptive Leadership provides a framework to effectively close the gap and make the aspirations reality.

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