Future Fit # 8: On becoming an adaptive leader: The need to experiment

TomorrowToday has promised to help you start the journey towards being future fit – to becoming an adaptive leader. Being merely a ‘good leader’ will not suffice when it comes to meeting the challenge of the future. You will need to be a great leader and a ‘great leader’ is someone who understanding and practices adaptive leadership. This is part of a ‘boot camp’ through which we help you begin the journey of becoming future fit; we help you in the process of becoming an adaptive leader. Each ‘session’ is designed around a thought-bullet (Head) and an action point (Hand) – something to think about and something to try out. We have promised to keep the ‘head’ part to under a minute and the practical part (hand)…well, that is up to you.

ladders into the skyFuture Fit # 8: The need to experiment

Organisational adaptation occurs through experimentation. In TomorrowToday we refer to this as the ‘sandpit’ – the place where ‘play’ can occur and where mess and failure are permissible. In fact they are expected. But sandpits are contained areas – the sand stays in the pit. Every company needs a ‘sandpit’ if they are to be innovative. Innovation emerges from experimentation and failure, both of which need containment in order that they don’t destroy the whole and in order for us to learn from them. Often we have systems in place that only recognise and reward success and these can serve to discourage experimentation and learning through failure. The simple reality is that you cannot hope to be truly innovative without embracing experimentation. Adaptive leaders understand this and as such are always seeking and encouraging a ‘better way’ in which to get things done. In this pursuit they understand the role and importance of the sandpit.

Can you think of an area of your business where there is need to find a ‘better way’? What could you do to create a ‘sandpit’ in this area that would give freedom for experimentation and make failure permissible? Be very deliberate in constructing the sandpit and what the ‘rules of engagement’ are within the sandpit. Track the experiment and see what emerges and what is learnt through the process.  How then do you ensure that experimentation becomes part of your company’s DNA? Succeed in this and you will be building an adaptive organisation.

Index of Adaptive Leader series
Click here to see the full list of the Future Fit ‘sessions’


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