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Friday, August 7, 2009

Adaptive Leadership

This is the third of several posts this week covering my review of the July-August 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review. I recommend getting a copy.

Leadership in a Permanent Crisis By Heifetz, Grashow, and Linksy is another “keeper.” Anyone who’s read my blog knows that I’m a huge fan of these guys--born of the Kennedy School of Government (where Heifetz and Linsky have taught for years). Their particular brand of scholarship has developed the concept of adaptive leadership—teaching leaders how to embrace the almost certain atmosphere of change (well after the recession), develop “next practices” (not staid, best practices that people hope will last for years), and open their arms to disequilibrium (the notion that people only change when there’s sufficient angst, but not too much). These guys understand the rough seas ahead and teach that as leaders we have to turn up the heat to get people to change and turn it down when it causes panic. Adapt or fail, I’m certain would be their mantra. But these guys can speak for themselves. Also, have read their book: Leadership on the Line (one I recommend to every executive client) and The Practice of the Adaptive Leadership (which I think should be a standard text in any first-rate business school and in the library of every serious corporate leadership trainer).

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