Adaptive Leadership addresses stubborn systemic Adaptive Challenges where we are collectively stuck around our shared purpose. There’s an underlying conflict of values and no known win-win option or playbook. There’s no authority or expert to close the gap. The values currently prioritized don’t work for the collective to achieve our shared purpose.
Adaptive Leaders put people and relationships first. We work towards collective impact through shared purpose. While we put people first, our goal is to change entire systems, often by changing the hearts of a few pivotal people. We keep a values focus as we work together differently to achieve the shared purpose we decided on with EVERYONE who is impacted. The change and the process we use to create the change enable thrival.
I learned Adaptive Community Leadership through Leadership Eastside (LE) in the Seattle area, and it changed my life. I’m now on the LE board, I coach LE campaign teams, and I co-facilitate leader days with the cohorts.
We develop habits, patterns, and routines in how we talk about ourselves, our systems, and each other. Our dialogue often centers the status quo and assumes the norms of current and past power structures are the best or even only way to be. In that system we fight for survival in scarcity. With adaptive leadership we prioritize thriving instead. Everyone deserves to thrive. That means we focus on human-centered success, anchor in communities, look for ways to open new perspectives and choices, and find a balance of realism and optimism.
Question the Narrative
Befriending Dragon’s “Question the Narrative” framework combined with “Gracious Space” is a way to implement Adaptive Leadership and other related tools.
Cindy uses the Question the Narrative framework in her coaching, consulting, and speaking work. It’s a powerful tool that gives insight into the narratives that fuel all the stories around us. When we listen differently to ourselves and to others, we open new possibilities that transform our life journeys through innovative actions.
- Leadership Eastside
- The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Ronald A. Heifetz | Goodreads
- Pat Hughes – Gracious Space training, book, TED talks, and more: Trillium Leadership Consulting
- The Empowerment Dynamic – Center for The Empowerment Dynamic
- Adaptive Leadership @ Acumen Academy