Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization

By Glenda H. Eoyang; Royce J. Holladay | Go to book overview

9
LEADING CHANGE

The roles of the leader in situations of static and dynamic change are pretty clear. In static change, the goal is to move the system from one state of rest to another. To lead this kind of change, one needs to have a vision of the end state, know the resistance that is likely to emerge, and marshal sufficient force to overcome it. Dynamic change leadership is a bit more nuanced. In dynamic change, the system moves along a smooth path from a known beginning, through known forces, to a known end. The dynamic leader must get a picture of the current situation, understand all the forces at work in the system, plan a trajectory that will propel the system forward, and then drive the system toward that desired end. These leadership processes may be difficult, but they are not very complex. And sometimes they even work. More often, leadership strategies such as these leave an organization and its people stranded in between the past and future, with the problems of both and the benefits of neither.

The reason these strategies fail is that most change in human systems is complex, unpredictable, and dynamical. Static change leadership and static planning are not very helpful in the everyday world of open, highdimension, and nonlinear change processes such as the ones that emerge in complex adaptive human systems.

In this chapter, you will read the stories of individuals who used Adaptive Action to lead change whether from inside an organization, as an external consultant, or as an individual navigating personal transitions and creative life choices. As different as these stories sound, they all share the wisdom of Adaptive Action as a leadership strategy.

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Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Part I- What Causes Uncertainty? What Can You Do about It? 1
  • Why So Uncertain? 3
  • 2- What Can You Do? 13
  • 3- What? 34
  • 4- So What? 66
  • 5- Now What? 84
  • 6- Now What? Again 103
  • Part II- So What Does Adaptive Action Look like on the Ground? 111
  • 7- Adaptive Action in Action 113
  • 8- Capacity Building 123
  • 9- Leading Change 146
  • 10- Working as a Social Act 160
  • Part III- Now What Will You Do? 183
  • 11- Gaps Revisited 185
  • 12- Lessons for What? 189
  • 13- Lessons for So What? 200
  • 14- Lessons for Now What? 209
  • 15- Adaptive Innovation 218
  • Reference Matter 239
  • Notes 241
  • Index 245
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