Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change

Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change

Adaptive Leadership is for anyone who wants to become more effective at leading a team or their organization through real change.

Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework developed by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at the Harvard Kennedy School. Adaptive Leadership is designed to help individuals and organizations through consequential change in times of uncertainty when there are no clear answers. It is based on a view that leadership is an activity, not a person, and that leadership can be exercised by anyone, whatever their role inside or outside of the organization.

Adaptive Leadership teaches how to identify and tackle systemic change through a process of confronting the status quo, distinguishing technical problems from adaptive challenges. A technical problem can be solved through expertise, the use of authority, and additional facts. An Adaptive Challenge requires change at the core of people’s beliefs, feelings, identity, values, loyalties and deeply embedded behaviors.

At Acumen we believe that Adaptive Leadership is a critical skill because changing the way the world tackles poverty is an Adaptive Challenge. We are thrilled to be working with the Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) to offer this free introductory course.

The world needs you to lead. This is your invitation.

What You Will Learn

This course will introduce you to several key tools of Adaptive Leadership and show how you can apply these tools within your organization or community life to drive lasting impact.

As part of the course, you will bring a current challenge you are up against.  Presumably, you will describe something from your work life, but it could also be from your personal, civic or community life.  You will work to make progress by:

  • Understanding the differences between the technical and adaptive elements of your challenge
  • Defining your key stakeholders and how to mobilize them to address the challenge
  • Practicing a courageous conversation in preparation for addressing your challenge

You will emerge from the course with a more clearly defined challenge, ideas for how to mobilize your stakeholders, and a toolkit to better address future adaptive challenges.

Our Course Partner

Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) is an international leadership development practice and the home of Adaptive Leadership.  CLA works with organizations, teams, communities, and individuals to identify their most significant challenges, generate new solutions, and exercise the leadership required to bring them to scale.

What To Expect

Start/end date : This course has 4 modules which will be emailed to you weekly.

Workload: Expect to spend ~5 hours per week on this course.

Group Size: Forming a group is not mandatory for this course, but we highly encourage it.  Groups of 2-4 are recommended.  Many people form groups with their co-workers.  Don’t worry if you do not have a group before the course starts, you can connect with other participants during the course and form a group.

Prerequisites:  This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites.

Technical Requirements: You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments, which will include text reports and images or video.

Statement of Accomplishment: Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment. This statement will not stand in the place of a course offered by CLA or Acumen.

Collaborative Learning

You can read through this curriculum on your own, but isn’t going to be any fun. With our course partner, Cambridge Leadership Associates, we’ve designed the course for group discussion and discovery. The real learning happens face to face, person to person, when you challenge yourself and those around you.

No group? There are several options for you.

  1. If you are located in one of the city Acumen chapters is located at, the chapter might be able to help you get connected with other individuals.
  2. You can recruit your colleagues, friends, community members, family to take the course together. (They also need to individually register)
  3. You can wait for the instruction in Week 1, which will include suggestions on group formation online.

Course Outline

Week 1: Purpose and Possibility Identifying Your Challenge

  • Begin to define a challenge that you will use during the course
  • Form a peer consulting group and use it to gain feedback on your challenge

Week 2: Identify Your Challenge – Diagnose the System

  • Understand the distinction between the technical and adaptive aspects of your challenge
  • Refine your challenge with your peer group

Week 3: Map Your Stakeholders – Mobilize the System

  • Define the various stakeholder factions relevant to your challenge and identify their values, loyalties and potential losses
  • Brainstorm ways in which you may begin to mobilize these stakeholders in order to make progress on your challenge
  • Use your peer consulting group gain feedback on your stakeholder analysis

Week 4: Practicing Courageous Conversations – Deploy Yourself

  • Learn how courageous conversations can be a tool for moving people
  • Identify an opportunity where a courageous conversation could help you make progress on your challenge
  • Prep and practice a courageous conversation with your peer group
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