Lead in the Age of Uncertainty

One of my clients has discovered that great leaders have multiple personalities. They manage budgets and smooth feathers. They tell today’s stories and feed tomorrow’s visions. They plan and execute; reinforce and correct; encourage and challenge; create stability and manage change; hire and fire; and in their spare time, they do everything in between.

There was a time when a leader needed (and had time for) a catalogue full of training programs. Each task had its own skills, and each skill had its own course. As the role of the leader became more complex, the number of tasks—and the number of courses—multiplied. At the same time, the leader’s calendar filled up, leaving little space for learning.

This pattern emerges often in the Age of Uncertainty: Increasing demand and decreasing resources. As these constraints increase, tension accumulates over time. At some point the situation becomes untenable. A new paradigm emerges to changes not just HOW MUCH can be done, but HOW to do it.

We are working with our clients to create and spread a new paradigm. We want to create a place where leaders thrive, in spite of complexity and constraints. We help them build adaptive capacity to lead through the challenges of the emerging Age of Uncertainty. We see radically different patterns emerging in this new and unpredictable world.

You may already see these patterns in your life and work. If not, it is only a matter of time before they begin to rock your world. Only one competency will prepare you for this future: Adaptive Action. It guides you to:

  • See new opportunities and challenges as they emerge (WHAT?)
  • Understand systemic patterns and interdependencies (SO WHAT?)
  • Take each wise action, and learn from them all (NOW WHAT?)

Consider any one of your leadership challenges, and reflect on what Adaptive Action questions might be useful. For example:

Surfacing and resolving conflict:

  • WHAT is the core of the tension?
  • SO WHAT holds that same tension but holds it in a “safe” space?
  • NOW WHAT question will release the tension safely and generatively?

Collaborate across boundaries:

  • WHAT are our significant similarities and differences that influence this potential partnership?
  • SO WHAT could optimize our shared patterns?
  • NOW WHAT can we expect from each other, when, how?

Adaptive Action questions create a pathway through all the familiar challenges of leadership. They prepare you for the variety of unknown challenges you will face in the Age of Uncertainty.

Join us on February 6 at 11:00 AM (CST), 5:00 PM (UTC) for our free, monthly webinar. Bring your most wicked leadership dilemmas. We’ll explore the challenges of leading in the Age of Uncertainty, and we’ll help you uncover the opportunities of Adaptive Action.

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