Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Triple “A”s in Adaptive Leaders

You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless.   -- Charles de Gaulle 

The fundamental shifts in today’s business dynamic and digital world compel organizations to rethink the essential of leadership, the nature of strategy, the power of culture, as well as the best scenario in execution. If transformational leadership is about envisioning the change; then adaptive leadership is upon shifting the mindset. Adaptive leadership is given to impacting the environment. It addresses a very active or proactive form of leadership, not a passive effort taken merely to adjust to circumstances as found.

1.    Agile 

In such an environment, how can leaders ensure that their organizations are reading the right signals timely and acting on them in the right way, it takes both agile mindset and agile methodology.

  • The Agile Culture and Mindset: Increase the agility with which the organization is able to correct itself through agile cultures, such as entrepreneurial attitude, the lens of diversity, and tolerance of ambiguity. See the world through the eyes of others. By understanding alternative perspectives, adaptive leaders cultivate and embrace the cognitive diversity that underpins adaptive organizations.  And it marks an inflection point in the ways careers are built, work is done and participation in organizations is fostered.

  • Agile Methodology: It’s about the new business operating system continually assesses the business, the industry, and the organization, and reacts with greater agility, speed, and creativity than the existing one; Adaptive leaders inspire cross-disciplined thinking, iterative communication, and cross-functional collaboration,  to allow decisions to be made at lower levels in the organization, and—to reduce the time between stimulus and response.

2. Acceleration

  • Accelerate Strategic Change & Innovation: Adaptive leaders orchestrate organizational structure (formal hierarchy), work structure (horizontal interaction) and social structure in order to discover the degree of “cultural coherence”, recognize the positive cultural or sub-cultural traits, to amplify and accelerate them in order to shape the culture of innovation. Adaptive leaders are more likely to find a diversity of perspectives at lower levels in the organization, where employees confront external realities directly and are likely to raise critical questions. For this reason, adaptive leadership de-emphasizes hierarchy and accelerates strategic change.

  • Accelerate Talent Growth: Adaptive leaders need to develop platforms that enable experimentation and learning, including opportunities to reflect on successes and failures. Adaptive leaders should also align rewards with experimentation in a way that doesn’t punish failure, but to encourage talent to master S-Curve, it means to accelerate the talent who can successfully navigate, harness the successive cycles of learning and max out that resemble.

3.    Ability 

  • Ability to Deal with Complexity: An intellectual understanding of the global business context—in other words, an ability to comprehend just how complex it can be to do business around the world. Therefore, corporate leadership faces new imperatives. Leadership in the coming decade will need to be more adaptive and more distributed—the opposite of the command-and-control leadership that has dominated the twentieth century. More often than not, any complex task is best approached by flattening hierarchies. It gets everybody feeling like they’re in the inner circle, thus, adaptive leaders today don’t issue orders so much as they exert their influence over diverse groups of talent.

  • Ability to Adapt to Changes: The digital transformation is shaping work from being a place you go during set hours each work day to something you do in a dynamic, increasingly virtual workplace. Technology has enabled new possibilities for the where, when and how of work. Globalization, virtualization, modular job and process designs, and team-based project work make business multidirectional, flexible and expansive, so adaptive leaders will inspire crowd sourcing and crowd storming, and adaptive leadership teams comprising a diverse range of individuals with cognitive difference will be able to draw on a wider set of experiences in order to inform their decision-making. It’s meritocracy at its best – a highly diverse set of people collaborate seamlessly to represents nature of how successful organizations work today.
We live in a global village, where borders are blurred, where all humanity could and should be responsible for the well-being of other, by embracing such three “A”s: Agile, Acceleration, and Ability, adaptive leaders can stand out, and make timely influence to orchestrate transformation facing in business and global society.


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