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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Tool for Guiding Adaptive Leadership

Authored By:

Carolee Hayes


February 27, 2023

In Adaptive Schools, we define being adaptive as “changing form while clarifying identity.” Many authors address this concept and all agree that adaptivity is a key component of an organization’s success in a world with so many unknowns, unpredictability, and competing information and commitments. This month we will draw on the work of an article in the Harvard Business Review, written by Ben Ramalingam, David Nabarro, Arkebe Oqubay, Dame Ruth Carnall, and Leni Wild. In the article, “5 Principles to Guide Adaptive Leadership,” the authors provide insights into four characteristics of leadership that responds adaptively:

  • 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.

Using these characteristics, the author has developed a self-assessment for use in organizations supported by Thinking Collaborative. It is intended to be a short instrument which takes little time, but may begin a dialogue about current state and desired state for growing as an adaptive organization. By having individuals complete the short survey, data can be used to start a dialogue about leadership and adaptivity. We hope you find this useful in moving to an even more adaptive organization.

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