The Leader’s Biggest Challenge

Creating an Adaptive and Developmental Culture

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence. It is to act with yesterday’s logic.” — Peter Drucker

McKinsey research shows that over 65% of all strategic initiatives fail to deliver the intended results. The Stanford University Graduate School of Business takes this position: “if the strategy is sound and the organization is not performing, then the organization is not properly aligned to execute the strategy.” (This is a profound blinding flash of the obvious.)

Organizational alignment involves many factors, but it is the difficulty of aligning the employee behavior with the strategy that is most often underestimated. Just announcing a new strategic direction and stating goals to be achieved does not automatically align the people who must actually deliver the desired results.

Organizational alignment involves many factors, but it is the difficulty of aligning the employee behavior with the strategy that is most often underestimated. Just announcing a new strategic direction and stating goals to be achieved does not automatically align the people who must actually deliver the desired results.

Each new strategic initiative begs the questions: going forward, what four or five, new, key success factors must we execute well if we are to achieve our new strategic goals? What new attitudes and behaviors will be required to successfully execute the tasks defined by the key success factors?

Identifying these new behaviors and nurturing these new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving into the existing culture requires an adaptive culture and developmental culture designed to change as fast as change itself.

“The organizations that survive the future will be those that are capable of changing as fast as change itself.” — Gary Hamel, Professor, London School of Business.

A World Economic Forum survey reports that 86% of the business leaders agree we have a leadership crisis. They recognize that the hero-based, Command-and-Control, leadership paradigm is not capable of overcoming the organization’s natural, cultural inertia.

“There is no strategy so brilliant that it cannot be destroyed by cultural inertia.”

A new leadership paradigm, one that focuses on creativity and innovation rather than efficiency and predictability, is required. The Learning-Leader, Cooperative — Collaborate-and-Transform — leadership style is rapidly replacing the traditional heroic, Authoritarian — Command-and-Control — leadership style with great success. (For in-depth comparison of the two leadership paradigms, read An Engaging Leadership Style, CLICK HERE.)

Our Authentic Leadership Insights model evolved over time as the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) ecosystem emerged alongside the exploding World Wide Web and all the disruptive technology it spawned. It is a “combat tested” model that enables learning leaders to successfully navigate the chaotic VUCA world — and create a low stress, fulfilling life adventure!

When an enterprise is not performing to expectations and the leaders double down on the proven technical methodologies of the past without significantly improving results, the leaders – and the entire leadership team – are trapped in an Adaptability Gap.

The Adaptability Gap is the gap between an organization’s performance and the performance required for success in our turbulent VUCA environment.

Adaptability Gaps occur when the organization’s culture is not aligned with its strategy. Most Adaptability Gaps are caused by rapidly evolving, or disruptive technologies. They present adaptive challenges: challenges that do not yield to established methods and practices, but require discovering new, adaptive ways of problem-solving. For an in-depth discussion of the Adaptability Gap, CLICK HERE.

Our sole purpose – our mission — is to be “a guide at the side” of seasoned executives, executive teams, and emerging leaders as they successfully create a sustainable competitive advantage.

In the VUCA world, an organization’s only sustainable competitive advantage is to populate intelligent, adaptive teams with All-In, engaged employees.


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