Adaptive Leadership & Resilience – Part 1

By Paul R. Scheele Ph.D. | Transform

Two pronounced capabilities continue to show up in the most successful entrepreneurs and organizational leaders I encounter:

  • the ability to adapt in the moment to whatever emerges
  • the capacity to bounce back or have resiliency when things don’t go according to plan

This two-part blog series explores these essential skills and offers key practices to enhance your ability to adapt and be resilient.

Part One: The model for change and goal achievement

To effectively read the model above, think about 5 questions in the order shown here:

  1. What is the ideal future that you would choose to create?
    The answer goes in the place where “emerging future” is shown. Think of this as a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10.
  2. What is the status quo that you have been attempting to move away from with the strategic plans you have been making and the goals you have been setting?
    The answer goes in the place where “status quo” is shown. Think of this as a 1 on a scale from 1 to 10.
  3. Where are you today on the scale from 1 to 10?
    The answer goes in the place where “present state” is shown. Pick a number to determine your current situation with respect to the ideal future you are choosing to achieve. Then consider why chose a number as high as you did, and not lower? In that consideration you can recognize the resources you currently have in place and the progress you’ve made so far.
  4. What is an immediate, next step outcome you could achieve to move yourself up the scale?
    The answer goes in the place where “desired outcome” is shown. For example, if you place yourself at a 4 on the scale from 1 to 10, what would a 5 look like? That is the next desired outcome on the way to your ideal future.
  5. What is it you can do to move yourself one step up the scale?
    The answer goes in the place where “adaptive leadership” is shown. Think about what you must do to adapt to the current situation of your business. Imagine a small step you can take—or an even smaller step—that will lead in the direction of your ideal future. In the example of moving from a 4 to a 5 on the scale, imagine the actions you and/or your team would need to take.

The capability to consistently adapt and change means that you have an appreciation for the progress you’ve made and a mild dissatisfaction of the present state you are in. This is neither a time to rest on your accomplishments, nor to lament how far you have yet to go. Now is the time to leverage your current resources and momentum. An object already in motion is easier to keep moving, so keep on keeping on. Persistently endeavoring to reach for the next small foothold or handhold on the future will help you stay on task more easily.

Action Steps
No matter what challenge you may be facing today, it is always possible to think of a small next step you can take. It may take a moment of reflection and a willingness to try out a creative idea. Answering the questions above will guide your reflective thinking and your creative breakthroughs.

If adaptive work sounds like “keeping your nose to the grindstone,” that is not entirely true. That’s where part two of this blog post comes in handy—the capacity for resilience.

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© Paul R. Scheele, Ph.D. | Scheele Learning Systems | All Rights Reserved

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