Adaptive + Action = Unstuck

I’m addicted to action -- or more precisely, adaptive action.

[Disclaimer: Please note that traditional frameworks that employ more linear methodologies are “action” based but often restrict the potential energy from ongoing and unlimited action.] 

In the book, Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization, “sticky issues” serve as an appropriate metaphor for places where we are stuck - for the persistent patterns of behavior that stick around, and for the slowing down of actions that can help move a “project” forward.  I often use this metaphor to help clients better recognize that the capacity for action is an untapped resource and an essential driver of all projects -- even if the process is bumpy and unpredictable. When the resistance to change or difficulty in shifting deeply embedded patterns of behaviour keeps the organization firmly “stuck in its ways”, adaptive action offers a powerful tool for addressing unwanted stickiness.  

The iterative cycle of the three phases of what-so what-now what establishes a scalable methodology for framing and driving an action-centric strategy. At its core, adaptive action is simply what it says it is, adaptive plus action. The ongoing action of “fitting”, adjusting, and changing,” relative to the influence of internal and external activities and events, continually impacts all organizations whether we recognize it or not.

During the initial framing of a project, adaptive action models the process of exploring, engaging and experimenting that recognizes the continually shifting actions and reactions that move the project along.

Here are three ways practicing adaptive action can generate new organization-wide actions:

1. There are no specific skills, job qualifications or roles required to use adaptive action. The process of engaging everyone in the organization in the phases of what-so what-now what will generate new questions, new answers and new actions.

2. There is no situational restriction on the number of “when or how many” adaptive action cycles to implement -- benefits arise at all times, across all situations.

3. The adaptive action cycle provides a ready supply of feedback and choices for supporting change which offer new options for action new "what" emerges...

It is easy to demonstrate how becoming an adaptive action addict makes more sense than staying stuck.

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