3 Skills Needed for Adaptive Leadership

3 Skills for Adaptive Leadership
Traditional Training Doesn’t Produce Adaptive Leadership Skills

People are constantly facing business issues they have never seen before, and they are coming at an increasing rate. Too often employees feel like running on a treadmill, going nowhere fast. The harder they run, the more worn out they become and have no progress to show for it. Worse, management above us keeps throwing new challenges our way, and we lack the adaptive leadership skills to deal with them.

When I was running Motorola University, we understood the need to develop people to be more effective. Back in 2005, we focused on:

  1. Technical Skills. We ran live and virtual classes on various technologies, how to be a functional expert, MS Office, et al. Basically, tools to do your job better. 
  2. Problem-Solving Skills. We taught skills needed to solve typical problems and implement solutions including, project management and Six Sigma.
  3. Leadership Skills. We ran Academies to understand business/financial dynamics, look a few steps ahead, and anticipate what might be around the corner.

Today, this is no longer enough. Not even close. Leaders across the entire organization need a set of adaptive leader skills to face the challenges of every day.

3 Adaptive Leadership Skills Every Employee Needs

  1. Resilience. Ability to face new challenges that were unheard of yesterday from a place of strength and confidence. Leaders need a framework that grounds them in who they are, connects them to the values of the organization, and aligns them to the objectives of the business. Only then will they will have the foundation to tackle the new and unexpected with the confidence that they, with the resources around them, will deliver results.
  2. Influence. Understand how to influence up, down, and across to get things done. Not to your personal agenda, but a shared and aligned set of goals that contributes to everyone’s success. Tools that clarify-focus-align-act enable leaders to concentrate on the right issue, create solutions that work, and put them in place.
  3. Leading Change. Too often change management is the domain of Human Resources, specifically the organizational design or change experts. What is missing is an appreciation that you don’t implement change, you lead change. In this context, we equip leaders to be change champions with a straightforward framework and tools to take ownership in leading change.

I left large-scale consulting to focus on what I believe are the absolutely necessary skills to equip leaders to succeed. Our Leadership Mastery Series is designed as live workshops, blending content, real business challenges (from your organization), and practice tools. Participants interact with the material and one another to build resilience, influence, and change leadership skills. They leave equipped to face the new day with practical tools and the confidence to lead through the chaos that awaits them back at the office. Furthermore, participant’s retention and ability to apply what they learned on Monday morning is at the 75%+ level vs. the typical ‘training’ program that results in people putting a manual on their shelf and cursing the 100’s of unread emails that have piled up while enduring a training class.

This program works. Here are a few recent examples:

  • A large regional bank called us to equip business leaders with skills around resilience and change as they reached a tipping point caused by acquisition growth. They had just completed their third acquisition, processes were not standardized, people didn’t know who was accountable for what, and there was no alignment around what the new company wanted to be. Conflict resulted from a strong identification with legacy organizations and poor integration of the acquired companies. LeaderShift Insights® created a 3-part customized leadership development experience that equipped leaders with adaptive leadership and change management skills and used real internal challenges as cases that they worked on together in the room. Not only did the leaders gain new skills and tools that will be used long after the program, they began to solve their most vexing problems while in the workshop. We build skills and begin to solve real problems!
  • Finance leaders are often black & white thinkers who provide spreadsheets to the business and force compliance. At J.M. Huber (a global manufacturing company) we worked with their CFO and changed this paradigm by equipping over 100 global finance leaders with both organizational and individual resilience and change skills. This enabled them to understand how who they are as people … shaped who they are as leaders and increased their ability to become true business partners. We proved that introspective leadership work drives results!
  • In the middle of an Influence Workshop for a regional bank, we asked what they were working on and why it mattered. One SVP stood up and said his case was written about an opportunity that represented $10MM in business if he could move it forward. After the workshop he did!

It is so satisfying to hear from participants three months after the program that they are actively applying the new skills and solving problems. At LeaderShift Insights™ we work with your leadership teams and equip them for the future (which is already here!). We have worked with organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, J.M. Huber BCBS Illinois, Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, and many others. Contact us. It’s what we do!