Strategic Adaptive Action

In the complexity of the 21st century, traditional strategic planning is no longer adequate to address the uncertainty of organizational life. At the same time, organizations do need to set direction and take coherent action toward established goals. They must have flexibility to adapt to the constant change of todays landscape. Strategic Adaptive Action offers a structure and process that provide both direction and flexibility.


Strategic Adaptive Action happens when a group engages in multiple, simultaneous, and ongoing iterative cycles of Adaptive Action that focus on the same direction and priorities. At all organizational scales, individuals, groups, and departments use local information and resources in these cycles of Adaptive Action to take intentional action toward shared priorities.

So What?

In a system engaged in Strategic Adaptive Action at all scales, commonly shared information about the organization, the greater environment, and their work informs

decisions that work for the greater whole. They act within a shared list of Simple Rules that helps them take coherent action. They access shared systems and processes that support and enable this level of coordinated and adaptive action.

Now What?

Use Strategic Adaptive Action to set priorities and direction for your entire organization. Build the organizational systems that will help you engage in ongoing, simultaneous, iterative cycles of Adaptive Action.

  • Gather intelligence about your environment, history, current patterns, and aspirations to inform decisions about direction and priorities.

  • Identify patterns that will move you forward and set conditions at all scales in your system to move you toward those priorities.
  • Establish Simple Rules and organizational procedures and expectations to support coherent functioning and adaptability across the system.

Related Resources

Traditional strategic planning requires that you predict what will happen and make a plan to control how the future unfolds.
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