Transformational Narrative:
Adaptive Leadership
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ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP

Adaptive leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organisations to adapt to changing environments and effectively respond to recurring problems. First, the change itself needs to be considered to subsequently take on challenges and respond to the change.Research by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at Harvard University formed the basis for Adaptive Leadership.

Every organisation is confronted with persistent, recurring problems. They often fall back on obvious solutions such as applying new technologies, recruiting experts or improving (communication) processes.

In most cases, this is done in a hierarchical way with the top layer of management being responsible for finding the right solutions. An adaptive challenge allows problems to be identified more accurately and involves the entire organisation in the search for possible solutions.

Adaptive Leadership can help when there are no easy solutions available. It’s a critical skill for anyone looking for systematic changes in an increasingly complex world. Adaptive leaders learn to control the context through experiments.
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Adaptive leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organisations to adapt to changing environments and effectively respond to recurring problems. First, the change itself needs to be considered to subsequently take on challenges and respond to the change.Research by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at Harvard University formed the basis for Adaptive Leadership.

Every organisation is confronted with persistent, recurring problems. They often fall back on obvious solutions such as applying new technologies, recruiting experts or improving (communication) processes.

In most cases, this is done in a hierarchical way with the top layer of management being responsible for finding the right solutions. An adaptive challenge allows problems to be identified more accurately and involves the entire organisation in the search for possible solutions.

Adaptive Leadership can help when there are no easy solutions available. It’s a critical skill for anyone looking for systematic changes in an increasingly complex world. Adaptive leaders learn to control the context through experiments.
Adaptive leadership a leadership model that was introduced by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. Heifetz defines it as the act of mobilizing a group of individuals to handle tough challenges and emerge triumphant in the end.

Adaptive leadership recognizes that there are two kinds of problems: technical and adaptive. With technical problems, a satisfactory pre-determined response is already available and one or more experts who possess solid reputations are sought to address the issue. Overall, technical problems are mechanical and can be solved by professionals.

With adaptive problems, there are absolutely no trained experts to deal with the problems at hand. Also, no set of established rules or procedures exists to address the issue. In most cases, the definition of the problem is vague and there aren’t any technical fixes. It is in such situations that the expertise of an adaptive leader becomes useful. Such an individual first helps to define the problem and then mobilizes his co-workers to come up with possible answers.
Responding to crisis requires adaptive leadership, which involves what we refer to as the 4 A’s:

Anticipation of likely future needs, trends and options.

Articulation of these needs to build collective understanding and support for action.

Adaptation so that there is continuous learning and the adjustment of responses as necessary.

Accountability, including maximum transparency in decision making processes and openness to challenges and feedback.
When change requires you to challenge people's familiar reality, it can be difficult, dangerous work. Whatever the context, whether in the private or the public sector, many will feel threatened as you push though major changes. But as a leader, you need to find a way to make it work. Ron Heifetz first defined this problem with his distinctive theory of 'adaptive leadership' in Leadership Without Easy Answers. In a second book, Leadership on the Line, Heifetz and coauthor Marty Linsky highlighted the individual and organizational dangers of leading through deep change in business, politics, and community life. Now, Heifetz, Linsky, and coauthor Alexander Grashow are taking the next step: The Practice of Adaptive Leadership is a hands-on, practical guide containing stories, tools, diagrams, cases, and worksheets to help you develop your skills as an adaptive leader, able to take people outside their comfort zones and assess and address the toughest challenges. The authors have decades of experience helping people and organizations create cultures of adaptive leadership. In today's rapidly changing world, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership can be your handbook to meeting the demands of leadership in a complex world. --Harvard Business Press
Adaptive leaders:

Take the time to reflect on their successes and failures and do not shy away from admitting and correcting mistakes when they make them.

Know that uncertainty is an integral part of the change process and they are comfortable with not having all the answers at all times.
Focus on experimentation and learning as a way to get to the best possible solutions to a problem.

Are emotionally aware and don’t let their personal feelings get in the way of making the right decisions for the organization.
Value relationships and invest time in building trust and listening to multiple perspectives that differ from their own.

Know that change takes time and can be painful. They stay patient and persist until they get the desired results.

Create a sense of shared purpose and values so that people can make independent, autonomous decisions that align with organizational priorities and strategy.
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