Tune In Don't Tune Up

Wouldn’t it be great if you could “fix” your human system the way you fix your mechanical world? You could take the team in for a tune-up, replace people like parts and improve performance immediately.  You could depend on experts and high-quality materials to ensure predictable outcomes.

Tune inIt is no secret that individuals, teams, organizations, and communities defy mechanistic fixes. The internal dynamics of human systems shape their emergent behaviors in complicated and subtle ways, so mechanistic, deterministic methods have unpredictable outcomes—and sometimes have no outcomes at all! Remember the last time you:

  • Replaced a team member hoping for less conflict and more productive work.
  • Improved working conditions to increase employee satisfaction.
  • Delivered tough messages in a performance appraisal hoping for a turnaround in attitude and performance.
  • Engineered a change in management to improve organizational culture and effectiveness.
  • Supported a merger or reorganization to gain efficiencies and raise the bottom line.

Each of these actions is based on the assumption that you can fix your organization like you fix your car—by replacing, removing, or tuning. Sometimes these approaches work, but rarely for long. Human systems follow different organizing rules than mechanical systems, so they need different change strategies. We developed and depend on Adaptive Action because we know that the dynamics of human systems are:

Emergent, not developmental, so Adaptive Action is attentive and sensitive. As we facilitated a strategic planning session for an international financial services organization, the management team recognized and responded in the moment to late-breaking economic news.

Dynamic, not static, so Adaptive Action helps us be curious and respectful. Evaluating a change initiative for a large urban county, we acknowledge and incorporate changes that are not directly attributable to the planned intervention.

Shaped by multiple, not single, causes, so Adaptive Action is flexible and responsive. To design a state-wide conference on technologies and services in the coming decade, we investigated and wove together emerging market, demographic, technological, political, and social trends.

Coherent across scales, so Adaptive Action is elegant and fast. Supporting a change initiative for a Washington consulting firm, we used the information and energy generated from individual conflict resolutions to define an organizational transformation of services and structures.

Take your car to the shop, but bring your organizational challenges to Adaptive Action!

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