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Activate #5 Session Four

'Traditional management strategies are useful in dealing with technical problems, but in situations where beliefs and values come into play technical "fixes" tend to exacerbate the problem. By definition, adaptive challenges involve a disparity between values and circumstances.' Heifetz, Ronald, et all - The Practice of Adaptive Leadership

Damien O'Malley (Senior Consultant OMC group) facilitated a workshop on how leaders can close the gap when faced with adaptive challenges. 'Before a broader organisation can start believing the impossible is possible, a leader must embrace a new perspective and set out to disprove the old way of thinking'. But why does it matter? It matters because change is the norm and solving adaptive challenges with mechanically-based leadership and organisational practices are not adequate to the adaptive challenges being faced.

An adaptive leader cares to understand the type of challenge: is it a technical problem, easy to identify, can be solved quickly with experts or by authority, or is it an adaptive challenge, difficult to identify, requires changes in beliefs, values, relationships and approaches to work? An adaptive leader can then clearly frame key questions and issues to ensure organisations operate in environments they can withstand, challenge current roles, expose and manage conflict, and challenge the norm.

A key takeaway and point of reflection from Damien's workshop was that 'Authority is not to be confused with leadership. Leadership challenges the status quo in order to make progress, rather than the stabilising functions of traditional authority.'

Jeff Gordon who is the Sales and Marketing Manager of Winchester Australia  provided personal insights on leadership qualities and ways to help discover the best version of yourself. 'Invest in yourself, do what you love that takes you away from everything else to be the best you', and 'when we nurture ourselves we are able to nurture others'. Jeff demonstrated some examples of setting up pillars in our lives that are aligned to our values, such as play, work and home. When we give each the time it deserves we can live much happier and rewarding lives. 

A comment that particularly resonated across the room is that 'perfectionism is a death sentence'. Leaders are not perfect and nor should they strive for perfection, being open to change and even accepting second best is ok when it aligns to your beliefs, purpose and values.



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