The two phases of Adaptive Leadership are crisis and change, as explained by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky in "Adaptive Leadership in Practice." For leaders and organizations to consider creating and implementing adaptive change, they usually experience an urgent or emergency condition. Public safety leaders encounter emergencies daily and often try to implement quick technical fixes instead of adaptive change. Private organizations are less likely to implement change to improve their organizations, until there is a large crisis.
Here are Adaptive Leadership skills to turn a crisis into positive change:
Doing what you have always done because it works, or used to work, keeps your organization stagnant. With constantly evolving economies and technologies, this makes it hard to grow or maintain existing customer loyalty. If you don't believe that your industry changes much, look at how much our society changes regularly -- cell phones, for example, constantly change to suit consumer demand. Future-thinking leaders are adapting to trends to maintain and exceed their market share. Small changes are a prudent method, enabling agility to easily modify and make the change more manageable for people in the organization.
Disturbance from crisis can be productive to encourage change, but too much can cause negative results in employees or customers fighting or fleeing your organization. Effective leaders manage the stress level for their organizations, moderating urgency and timeline demands to a manageable level, while pushing for more creativity and innovation.
Successful change happens when all levels of an organization embrace and implement it. Effective leaders empower everyone in the organization to contribute in a positive way. Diversity through listening to and learning from everyone, enables informed leadership, and enables a leader to admonish some of his own authority to create buy-in and new ideas. A fresh perspective enables a leader to disengage from the crisis and depart from his experience and emotions, enabling true innovation to occur. Authoritative leadership does not enable this kind of organizational environment.
For assistance in deciding how to implement change in your organization, contact us for advice. Get the perspective of an unbiased third-party to assist in your Adaptive Leadership.