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The Practice of Adaptive Leadership

Author: Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky

Publisher: Harvard Business School Press

ISBN: Mandy Yates

Summary:This is a practical, hands-on guide that provides the tools in the form of case studies, diagrams and worksheets to help you develop your abilities as an adaptive leader

Leader Values

ISBN 9781422105764

Adaptation is a term that is most commonly associated with the natural world. When faced with changing environmental or predatory challenges species the world over will adapt to survive. But can the same be said for corporations? With his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, author Ronald Heifetz brought the idea of 'Adaptive Leadership' into focus. With this widely acclaimed study Heifetz presented the theory that leaders are faced with two types of problems; technical problems which can be solved through expertise and good management, and "adaptive" problems which require innovation, change and learning.

Following this success Heifetz joined with Marty Linsky to bring us Leadership on the Line , a book which they hoped would be “more focused, more practical and more personal.” The Practice of Adaptive Leadership is the newest addition. Joined by Alexander Grashow, the authors have pooled together their knowledge and learning gleaned from years of experience and have presented us with a manual on how to improve your skills as an adaptive leader. While the previous books have looked at the challenges facing leaders when trying to implement major changes, this book is all about how to take the next step.

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership is a practical, hands-on guide that provides the tools in the form of case studies, diagrams and worksheets to help you develop your abilities as an adaptive leader. Challenging readers to fully assess situations and to not fall back on standard corporate responses and actions this book guides you through the process of challenging expectations while managing people. It highlights the importance of understanding the people involved, their motivations and concerns as well as you own abilities and limitations as a leader.

Throughout the authors reinforce the idea that an adaptive change within a business is something that should only be done after careful consideration and an understanding of the risks involved. Heifetz, Linsky and Grashow also point out how using technical solutions to solve adaptive problems will not work, resulting in only a small part of the problem being addressed while temporarily ignoring the larger problem.

While this latest offering covers the same theories as the previous two books, this one differentiates itself by providing the tools and advice to implement the changes to your leadership. Not only will this book help leaders to improve their skills it is also a helpful book for those who are not in leadership positions. The basic ideas of improved understanding of the people and the corporation around you would be a valuable tool for any reader.