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                Wait! We need a new kind of leader

                Michelle Sales/20 November 2016
                1 minute read time

                In today’s dynamic environment, individuals and organisations must continuously adapt to new realities. In order to not just survive, but to thrive in these constantly changing conditions, leaders are called on to lead with courage, skill and to challenge the status quo. It requires risk taking. Leading with agility and mobilising others into the unknown is critical to the sustainability of any organisation.

                Today demands a different type of leader. Our world is changing rapidly and whatever got us to where we are now, won’t get us to where we want to go. Recognising this fact is what Adaptive Leaders understand.

                Leaders who know this already

                Technology wonderfully illustrates adaptation. TESLA is to motor vehicles what iTunes is to music. Rather than focusing on what we already have, both Elon Musk and Steve Jobs were prepared to get on the balcony and consider what is needed for a new environment or set of circumstances. Being adaptive means to get a new perspective, to enter unchartered territory and explore the bigger questions to identify how we need to change to deal with uncertainty or complexity. Both of these people were prepared to do away with what we’ve always done in the pursuit of something better. Without these leaps in adaptation, we wouldn’t have the freedom to say, publish our own articles on LinkedIn and connect to thousands of people at once.

                Adaptive challenges arent technical challenges

                Here’s the thing with being adaptive. It’s not about applying a technical fix to an existing problem. We already know what an existing problem looks like. It can probably already be defined and measured and for this reason, a technical fix is suited. But what about problems that we can’t yet define and measure? This requires a different approach. And a new kind of leader.

                As Albert Einstein said: We cant solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.

                How adaptive are you?

                Perhaps a useful question to ask ourselves in a situation is “How adaptive am I being right now”. It suits all matter of situations and the essence of being adaptive first requires that we be aware.

                Some other questions we could ask ourselves are:

                • Does the way I make and execute decisions today suit the shifting environment of tomorrow?
                • How often do I get on the balcony to consider upcoming challenges in my industry?
                • Am I aware of how I need to change in order to deal with the complexities and uncertainties that I face?
                • How am I creating adaptive capacity in my team?

                If you and/or your team are interested in working on Adaptive Leadership, I’d love to work with you. It’s confronting, insightful and a lot of fun.

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                Michelle Sales/20 November 2016