I am reading "Leadership on the Line -- Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leadership" by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky in preparation for a National Fire Academy Leadership class that I am observing this weekend.
If you are looking to make a major change in your organization, this is a must-read. Adaptive Leadership is when you approach organizational leadership to create real change, which people don't tend to like, and therefore, try to eliminate you from their organization to prevent or stop the change.
An important concept to accomplish successful adaptve leadership is to think politically and develop partners in your cause. Particularly, partners who have the authority and commitment to help you accomplish your organizational change, especially members in the change.
Partners should be internal and external to your organization. Make sure that they are real partners, that they believe so much in what you are doing that they won't leave you when there is pressure to do so or when their other commitments take priority to your change.
Short-term leaders make the mistake of thinking that they have enough power or authority to lead without partners, that is usually their downfall and why they only stay in an organization for a short-term, even if their ideas of change are mandated and supported by their authorities.