Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change

Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework developed by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The Adaptive Leadership course is designed to help individuals and organizations through consequential change in times of uncertainty when there are no clear answers. It teaches leaders to identify and tackle systemic change through a process of confronting the status quo and identifying technical and adaptive challenges.

technical challenge is solved through additional expertise and information. Adaptive Challenges are the problems that require change at the core of what people are doing, feeling, and thinking and require a tailored approach, beyond calling in an expert. It requires adaptive leadership.

At Acumen we believe that Adaptive Leadership is a critical skill set to add to your toolbox if you’re looking to drive change in any sector. You will emerge from the course with skills to identify the right problems to solve, ideas for how to mobilize your stakeholders, and a toolkit to better address future adaptive challenges. 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'll 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:

  • Discovering a sense of your own leadership capacity and building more effective skills for impacting change
  • 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.

How the Course Works

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course.  We strongly encourage you to go through the course with a group of 2-5 other individuals. This course can be taken individually, but we believe your learning will be further enriched in a group. You can either (1) invite your friends/colleagues to take this course with you or (2) Join and participate in the course Googe+ community to find other learners to be in your group (we will provide instructions in Module 1).

Course content will consist of readings and discussion activities.

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.

Course Outline

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Module 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals that complete all requirements.

If I take this course in a group, do my group members need to be in the same location?

We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the in-person, peer-to-peer learning that happens between group members. With that said, we have had groups cover many of the group discussions over Skype or Google+ hangouts so it is possible to have a remote group.

Remember, all members of your group need to individually register for this course.

What is the ideal size for my group?

We generally recommend a group of 3 to 5 individuals. If your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and conduct group sessions together for all of the modules.

How much does it cost to take this course?

All +Acumen courses are free.

Are there any prerequisites for taking this course?

This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites.

What are the technical requirements?

You need a computer that allows you to watch videos, download our course materials (PDF reading) and the ability to upload your assignments, which will include text reports and images.

More Questions?

Please contact

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