Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 11/10/2008

In Good to Great by Jim Collins, the author says:

"Enduring great companies preserve their core values and purpose while their business strategies and operating practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. This is the magical combination of 'preserve the core and stimulate progress.'"
The key to building an adaptable company is having leaders that recognize the purpose and values of the business don't change.  However, the strategies that are implemented to accomplish the company's purposes are very fluid and flexible.  

I heard this principle described best by Mark Driscoll when he explained that we hold our purpose in one hand and our strategies in another.  Our business purposes and our strategies are two distinct entities that should be held separately, not in one hand. There are three types of businesses that emerge based on how they treat their purpose and strategies:
  1. Adaptable Companies close the hand with the purpose and leave open the hand with the strategies.  They will not compromise their values and business purposes but they are very open and flexible to implement strategies that will work for this day and time. 
  2. Dying Companies will hold both hands closed.  They understand what their purpose is but they do not see the need to adapt to changing times so that they can accomplish this purpose.  
  3. Directionless Companies will hold both hands open. They are not sure what their real business purpose is and they are constantly shifting their strategies.
Adaptable companies are committed to their purpose but willing to change their strategies to continue to meet their customer's needs. Our values and business purpose should be held closed while we open our minds to new ideas and strategies for success.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 11/03/2008

Today's corporate leadership training courses focus too much on teaching leaders what to think rather than how to think.  Stephen Zacarro, a noted psychologist at George Mason University, says that most leadership training classes focus on developing routine expertise.  This traditional leadership training methodology teaches leaders highly proceduralized skills that are not transferable when problems become non-routine, novel and ill-defined.  

To train leaders to be adaptable we must focus on teaching them how to think. Adaptable leaders are comfortable operating in a complex environment when solutions to problems are not clear. Training for leadership adaptability requires leaders to be put into a wide variety of leadership challenges and asked to come up with creative and manageable solutions to the problems. Adaptable leaders thrive in uncertainty and are comfortable learning as they go.  Traditional leadership training will hinder adaptability when problems are complex and solutions are not clear.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 10/29/2008

In a study conducted by Crawford International and the authors studied the correlation between a company's adaptive corporate culture and their financial performance.  Financial performance was measured from 1996 to 2005.  All businesses in these results had annual revenue's in excess of $350M.  

The authors state, "Companies reporting high levels of adaptability in their corporate culture cite much higher levels of financial performance than those companies reporting non-adaptive corporate cultures." To be more specific, the net income growth of adaptive companies rose 989% while the non-adaptive companies declined 47%. In addition, the stock price grew 204% for the adaptive companies and only 70% for non-adaptive companies.

Building an adaptable workforce is not only critical for survival in today's economic turmoil. An adaptive workforce apparently knows better how to drive financial performance.  Building an adaptable workforce will be the critical capability that ensures business success as we climb out of the economic hole that we are in now.  

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 10/17/2008

With the current economic crisis continuing to slap us in the face with an incredible wake up call I find it hard to stomach that businesses are closing doors all over the country.  If not for the federal government stepping in we would see so many more businesses experiencing the same fate. Amazing... or is it? 

Foster and Kaplan point out in their book Creative Destruction that  very few companies have endured for a long time.  Of the original Forbes 100 companies from 1917 only 13 have survived independently to the present day.  All 13 of these survivors except for GE have been mediocre to poor performers.  The problem is it is very difficult to continue to adapt for success over many generations.  Organizational success is dependent on radical transformation, not once or twice, but continuously.  Surviving this economic crisis or future challenges will require businesses to set themselves on a constant track of transformational change.

"Adapt or die" has become more than just a saying.  In today's economy, it's becoming a reality.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 10/08/2008

I just read an article titled, “Carrollton’s oldest business closing its doors.”  The owners go on to say, “The current economic times, changing customer buying trends and suppliers’ business conditions, all were factored into this decision to close.”   It’s a sad story but it is far from the only one.  With the unbelievable instability of our economy we all know too well that businesses come and go.  Technology advancements, market volatility, new business models, globalization and the speed of business create an environment of rapid change and challenge that can cause your head to spin.

If you are reading this article your business has about a 30% chance of being around in 2010.  Those odds aren’t very good.  It reminds me of the movie The Patriot starring Mel Gibson.  The British Army came to fight the war of Independence as they had always fought wars.  They lined up their soldiers facing the enemy hoping that they had more men prepared to take a bullet than the Americans did.  Mel Gibson had a different strategy. He and his band of misfits attacked the British using guerilla warfare.  The British failed to adapt to the change in warfare resulting is severe casualties.  The small band of guerillas did more damage to those British soldiers than was imaginable at the time. 

The same will happen to today’s businesses if they don’t adapt.  If you fight your wars in business the way you have always done it you may be attacked and blindsided by some guerilla warriors.  Or you can choose to be the guerilla warrior yourself.  When you learn to adapt you can survive the onslaught of competitive forces that will come at you in the future.  The strategies that brought you success in the past may be the last plans to implement in the future.  If you plan on surviving in today’s competitive environment you better change strategies.  Adapt or Die!  It’s the mantra for the leaders of the future. 

The ability to adapt to changing circumstances on a daily basis will allow your company to survive and even thrive on the battlefield of business.  A recent study by IBM Global Business Services said that an “adaptable workforce is a critical capability.”  Warren Bennis, a noted author in the field of leadership says, “Adaptive capacity… is the essential competence of leaders.”

Crawford International conducted a study of the relationship between adaptable organizations and financial performance.  Leaders in more than two-hundred Fortune 500 companies were interviewed.   The businesses with an adaptive corporate culture experienced a net income growth of 989% over ten years.  The businesses with a non-adaptive corporate culture saw a net income decline of 47% over the same ten year period.

The real business challenge is that only 14% of companies say their workforce is very capable of adapting to change.  It is no wonder so many businesses go into extinction every year.  Of the Forbes 100 companies of 1917, only 13 have survived independently today.  Of those 13 companies that have survived, all but one has been mediocre to poor performers. 

Every day new challenges are coming your way.  Ensure success for the future by being confident that your company is prepared for the unknown challenges of tomorrow.  As the complexity of your operating environment increases so will your need for adaptable leaders.  Karl Weick said, “Leaders who are highly adaptive are able to thrive in uncertainty, quickly make sense of complex environments, provide creative solutions in ambiguous situations, and help others do the same.”  Does this describe the leaders in you company?  If not, it’s time to change.

Adapt or Die…  The decision is yours!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 10/06/2008

Crawford International and collaborated to conduct a study of over 200 Fortune 500 companies. One of the main points that was studied is the connection between a company's change leadership strength and financial performance over ten years. The authors report that, "companies reporting a strong and consistent application of change leadership practices cite much higher levels of financial performance than those reporting a weak application of change leadership practices."

The study found that businesses with strong change leadership practices have a net income growth over ten years of 915% while the businesses with weak change leadership practices have a net income decline of 2% over the same ten year period. Businesses with leadership in place that is prepared for change will always outperform businesses that are still trying the old outdated strategies!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/29/2008

By Stan Truskie, Ph.D.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently criticized the US military for not doing enough to support soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, singling out the Air Force for adapting too slowly to the new enemies on those battlefields. He blamed military leaders who are “stuck in old ways of doing business”. That may sound strange to hear coming from a senior government official who knows full well that the military is steeped in the tradition of command and control leadership that creates a top-down management style and fosters orderliness and predictability, rather than innovation and adaptability.

But in a world of chaos and ever changing conditions, Mr. Gates realizes that the ability to change and adapt is key to military success: What worked well in the past may now be an outmoded and ineffective approach.

Mr. Gates is pointing out a truism that US business organizations of all types and sizes have witnessed and/or experienced during the past 75 plus years: Unadaptive organizations underperform and/or fail in the long run. Companies like Sears & Roebuck, K-Mart, Pam Am, Howard Johnsons, Armour & Company, Westinghouse Electric are examples of businesses which were once at the top of their industrial sectors only to be toppled by competitors who looked into the future, adapted and out performed them. And the way their competitors did it was with adaptive leaders, not top-down managers.

So what’s the difference between the two?

Consider top-down managers first. These managers, for the most part, are predominantly linear thinkers. Linear thinkers are rational, logical and analytical. They are mainly concerned with the present, not the future. They tend to stick with things that have worked well in the past as opposed to experimenting with the unfamiliar.

They are very organized individuals who value orderliness and predictability. They favor rules and procedures to ensure that orders from the top are followed through to the lowest level. Their mentality is that managers think, workers do (as they are told)….an idea generated by the father of management science, Frederick W. Taylor during the early 20th century. This approach worked fine back then, during the early US industrial economy. But today, things are quite different. We are now living and working in a knowledge economy.

If you have ever worked for one of these authoritative managers, you know first hand how autocratic and controlling they can be. Gather a group of these linear thinkers and place them at the top, running the organization, and guess what you get? A very rigid top-down organization that does everything by the rules, creating a bureaucracy that stifles innovation and creativity making it short-sighted, inflexible and unadaptive.

Enlightened, adaptive leaders are much different from top-down managers. They tend to be more non-linear in their thinking. These leaders are more intuitive, have greater insight, and are more creative. Being more conceptual, the see the “big picture”, are futuristic oriented, possess holistic insight and emotional intelligence.

They have greater spontaneity and flexibility—a balanced integration of rational analytical and unconventional imaginative processes. They have the ability to take a new perspective to an old complex problem and reassemble interrelated parts of the problem in novel and unusual ways leading to a viable solution. They are much better at coping with the non linear complex nature of the competitive context of our global business environment.

One would think that most of these adaptive leaders head up the newer hi-tech companies like Apple, Google, Nintendo, Microsoft and But if you look at the recent list of the top 25 innovative companies recently compiled by BusinessWeek (4/28/2008), you may be surprised to find more traditional companies such as General Electric, Toyota Motor, Hewlett Packard, Wal-Mart, and Proctor & Gamble included on the list with the newer hi-tech companies. These more traditional companies have adaptive leaders who are building cultures that value creative people in good times and bad.

The good news is that managers can change and become more adaptive leaders just as traditional companies can become more innovative. As a corporate executive leadership coach, I have worked with hundreds of managers and executives for the past 20 years and I have witnessed a transformation of many individuals who have changed from top-down managers to adaptive leaders. All thinking and behavior can be changed…it is called learning. Through assessment, self awareness, action learning, and coaching, managers can become more effective and adaptive leaders.

In essence, my experience, research and observations have led me to conclude that the assertion, “Leaders are born, not made,” is a myth.

About the Author: Stan Truskie,Ph.D. is President of MSD Leadership Consultants Inc. a Pittsburgh based firm specializing in executive coaching, change management, and leadership development with Fortune 500 companies.He is author of Leadership in High Performance Organizational Cultures and has appeared on TV/Radio.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/26/2008

Warren Bennis, leadership guru and professor at University of Southern California, wrote in his book Leading for a Lifetime:

"People with ample adaptive capacity may struggle in the crucibles they encounter, but they don't become stuck in or defined by them. They learn important lessons, including new skills that allow them to move on to new levels of achievement and new levels of learning. This ongoing process of challenge, adaptation, and learning prepares the individual for the next crucible, where the process is repeated."
Great leaders are not swallowed by the challenges of life and work. They see each difficult situation as a problem to solve and to learn from.  The lessons learned through dealing with these challenges refine the leaders and make them more prepared to tackle tasks in the future.  Adaptable leaders are always learning.  They never feel that they have already arrived.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/23/2008

The baby boomer generation is starting to retire and businesses today find themselves in a leadership crisis. Experienced business leaders are starting to retire in droves while companies are staring at a very weak bench strength.

Development Decisions International (DDI) recently published their Global Leadership Forecast for 2008/2009. In it they write, "this lack of supply of leaders is exacerbated by greater job complexity, global competition, and rising expectations for leadership." Not only is there a major void in leadership, the leaders of the future are going to have a much bigger challenge being effective in their jobs. DDI continues to report that, "55% of leaders said that their firm's performance was likely or very likely to suffer in the near future from insufficient leadership talent."

Corporate Training departments have to partner with executives to create leaders prepared for the unknown challenges of tomorrow. Leadership training must become a core focus for future organizational success to be realized.  Standing on the sidelines watching this crisis unfold is not an option.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/19/2008

Leadership training has to be modified if the goal is for an organization's leaders to be adaptable. Adaptable Leadership training requires an approach that is unique to the vast majority of leadership training available today.

Stephen Zaccaro from George Mason University says that training for adaptability requires a different approach. Traditional leadership training focuses on developing "routine expertise." This training helps leaders to perform very well in familiar situations. These leaders know that when specific challenges arise they respond in certain ways. A great example of this procedularized approach is Situational Leadership Theory from Blanchard and Hershey. Situational Leadership suggests that leaders should change their approach based on how much direction and support their followers need. As these two variables change, the leadership style changes. This traditional approach to leadership training hinders performance when problems become non-routine, novel and ill-defined (Kozlowski, 1998).

Adaptable Leadership Theory recognizes that there is a multitude of variables that impact what the best leadership approach is. Adaptable Leaders are highly self-aware. They understand their strengths, weaknesses and how they are perceived by others. Adaptable Leaders are also highly situationally aware. They have the peripheral vision to read all environmental factors that may be influencing a leadership challenge.

Training for Adaptable Leadership requires an approach completely unique to what most people are accustomed to. If you want your organizational leaders to be adaptable make sure that you train with that goal in mind. Leaders are not adaptable just because you tell them they should be.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/11/2008

Is it just me or do big companies have a hard time looking in the mirror and seeing that times have changed? What in the world are they doing trying to be successful with the plans that worked in the past. For success to happen today, organizations must adapt to the changes that surround them. Look at this video from Dan Miller, author and business coach.

Airlines have to change. It's mind boggling to me to think that some organizations can't see that what worked in the past needs to be left in the past.

Are you like the airlines or are you changing? Adaptable Leader's have the courage to look around and see when it is time to move in a new direction. Be adaptable by being courageous enough to move into uncharted territory.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 9/01/2008

Speed: It's the way businesses operate today. No longer can business leaders have the luxury to take their time to move forward with strategic plans. The leaders of the future have to evaluate the situation, assimilate what they learn with what they already know and rapidly move forward with a modified plan.

The Marine Corps have a saying for their leaders, "A plan that is 70% complete implemented today is better than a plan that is 100% complete implemented in the future." The remaining 30% of the plan will be worked out as they go. This is the mindset of the leaders of tomorrow.

Jeff Wilke of Amazon explained how quickly their business was unfolding:

"So now all of a sudden you're in this period of wonderful transformation and we know it. I mean it's alive, it's tangible. Every day you sense that there's a chance to create new markets, to redistribute the players in the old markets as they shift over to the new one.... This company transforms itself on the order of months versus a number of years in an older, more established company. And the fact that you're reinventing yourself as a company means the people associated with that company have to reinvent themselves."

Reinventing yourself is hard. It requires humility and a desire to focus on the big picture goal. If winning is important you have to be completely focused on whatever strategy brings you a win. The strategy can be changed but not winning is not an option.

Successful businesses of the future must operate with a sense of urgency and agility. Learn how to think on your feet and make solid decision quickly. Commit to them and move forward with confidence. Remember... it's better to implement a plan today that is 70% there rather than to wait for a perfect plan in the future.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/27/2008

Did you ever see The Patriot starring Mel Gibson? The British Army came to fight the war of Independence as they had always fought wars. They lined up their soldiers facing the enemy hoping that they had more men prepared to take a bullet than the Americans did. Mel Gibson had enough and he had a different strategy. He and his band of misfits attacked the British using guerrilla warfare. The small band of guerrillas did more damage to those British soldiers than was imaginable at the time.

The same will happen to you if you don’t change the way your doing business to keep up with the times. If you fight your battles in business the way you have always done it you may be attacked and blindsided by a band of guerrilla warriors. Or you can choose to be the guerrilla warrior yourself. When you learn to adapt you can survive the onslaught of competitive forces that will come at you in the future.

The strategies that brought you success in the past may be the last plans to implement in the future. If you plan on surviving in today’s competitive environment you better change strategies. Adapt or Die! It’s the mantra for the leaders of the future.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/25/2008

Is all of the talk about having good leadership just a fad or does it really make a difference to the success of organizations. Do good leaders really matter?

Business Week recently reported that "companies that invest in leadership development programs outperform the competition." Consulting Psychology Journal said, "Companies reporting strong leadership development programs are 1.5 times more likely to be found atop Fortune Magazine's 'Most Admired Companies' list."

Investing in the development of your talent and improving your bench strength can have a profound impact on your company's performance. Extraordinary leaders have a positive impact in a number of ways. Here are three critical outcomes where leaders impact your success:

  • Net Profits - The bottom 10% of leaders in companies lose money for their employers. The middle 80% of leaders make a healthy profit. What's even more important is the impact of the top 10%. The top 10% of leaders nearly double the profits of the "good" leaders in the middle. Investing in leadership development pays it's dividends in net profts.

  • Intention to Stay with the Company - When employees are considering leaving their employer there is no doubt that their committment level is down substantially. If they are less committed they will be much less productive. In addition, employees that don't intend to stay will have a negative impact on morale. Finally, when they leave the cost to replace them is high. Investing in leadership development pays it's dividends in improving an employee's intention to stay.

  • Employee Turnover - Employee turnover costs are substantial ranging from 150% to 250% of an employee's annual compensation. The bottom 30% of leaders have a turnover of 19% while the top 10% of leaders keep their turnover to less than half of that. Investing in leadership development pays it's dividends in reducing employee turnover.

An investment in the development of your leaders is an investment in the future. It is critical to have a strong leadership team for company success. Great leaders pay a dividend in areas that really matter. If these areas are important to you, make sure that you do all you can to help your leaders become extraordinary.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/21/2008

"People don't leave companies.... they leave managers."
Leadership Effectiveness matters when it comes to an employee's intent to stay with the company. The chart to the left depicts results from a study with a high-tech communications company focused on the relationship between leadership effectiveness and intention to stay with or leave a company in the coming year. This study was published in The Extraordinary Leader by Zenger and Folkman.
There is a dramatic effect on leadership effectiveness and intent to stay. This same study showed that the turnover for the leaders followed the same pattern. Not only is it more likely that bad leaders will lose more employees but if this is true universally then bad leaders have employees that are much less engaged and more distracted. You can imagine that productivity and success at their jobs is down substantially too.
What if you were able to move more of your leaders in the bottom 20% up? The impact on the company's bottom-line would be astounding. Distracted and disengaged employees will produce poor results all day long. Improve your employee effectiveness by improving your leadership effectiveness. Great leaders matter.... Really!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/19/2008

John Agno publishes The Leadership Blog where he often catches my attention with resourceful insights. Recently John's blog, Retain Talent: Develop Leaders, describes why it is essential to invest in the development of your most valuable asset: people. I enourage you to take time to read it.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/18/2008

The number one reason an employee leaves a company is because of their manager. The leader that employee's work for determine who sticks around and who hits the road. Employee turnover costs are substantial ranging from 150% to 250% of an employee's annual compensation. That means to replace an employee that makes $100,000 it will cost the company $150,000 to $250,000. If you can reduce your employee turnover then clearly you will reduce your bottom line. Extraordinary leaders make a substantial impact on employee turnover and therefore, the bottom line.

In The Extraordinary Leader the authors report on a study from an insurance company looking at employee turnover. The chart in this blog depicts the results. The bottom 30% of leaders have a turnover of 19% while the top 10% of leaders keep their turnover to less than half of that. Leadership Effectiveness highly correlates with employee turnover. Employee turnover cost companies millions of dollars every year. It is clear that extraordinary leaders make a substantial impact on the money saved by their employer. Great leaders do matter... Really!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/14/2008

The Extraordinary Leader is an excellent book written by John Zenger and Joseph Folkman that outlines the impact of great leaders. The effect is so clear that I will take the next five posts to highlight the substantial results that they have on the organizations where they work. The difference that great leaders make is not just in warm fuzzy's. Great leaders make a difference in money. Tell me if I am wrong, but all companies are in it to make money.
Today let's look at how Leadership Effectiveness correlates with Net Profits: a critical factor for shareholders. The chart in this blog depicts the results from a study conducted at a mortgage bank.* The study found that the bottom 10% of leaders actually lost money for the company. The good leaders in the middle 80% made a healthy profit. However, the impact of the top 10% of leaders was extraordinary. The top leaders nearly doubled the impact on profits compared to the good leaders. This is a remarkable result that demonstrates the tangible difference extraordinary leaders have on the monetary gain for their company.
What would the impact be if more leaders moved to the top 10% of performers? The financial gain would far outweigh any investment in a good leadership development program. It is absolutely clear from this study that Leadership Effectiveness has a direct and positive impact on the net profits a company can produce. Make sure you are moving your leaders from good to great!
* The Extraordinary Leader

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/10/2008

Our work with the special operations of the US Army have brought us some incredible stories. We've heard about how most of the terrorist captures have happened and the type of intelligence it took to bring them down. Through all of this it has become clear that the most important factor for success in these missions is... people.

People make the difference on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They are the ones that adapt to rapidly changing environments so that success in the mission is realized. The tools (weapons) they use are only as good as the people that decide how, when and where to use them.

Leadership in corporate America is no different. There are a tremendous amount of tools available to you to lead successfully. Whether they are budgets, competitive intelligence, alliance partnerships or a superior manufacturing process they are all just tools. The people you have that decide how, when and where to use them count a whole lot more.

In today's competitive environments organizations must make sure that they have the right people prepared to lead. It's not just enough to select the best leader, you must continue to develop them so that you stay ahead of your competition. Make sure you invest in your people, they count more.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 8/04/2008

Have you ever told someone, "Well, that's just the way I am. I guess it is part of my personality." Our personality traits are part of our core being that are developed early in our lives. As much as I think that all people can be trained, research shows that our personality traits are much harder to alter. So if you are resilient, you are in a good position to be an adaptable leader. If you are not resilient, you are going to have a harder time.

I know that we all like to stand tall and say that as leaders we are resilient and will do whatever it takes to win. However, when you do a gut check are you really that resilient? Resiliency is a critical personality trait that is present in highly adaptable leaders. To be adaptable you can't give up quickly. Challenges come your way and you have to find a way through them. Resiliency is the trait that keeps you getting up when you keep falling down.

So you want to be adaptable? Don't give up easily!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 7/30/2008

Unlocking the DNA of the adaptable workforce

Creating an Adaptable Workforce is desirable but hard. Only 14% of organizations feel that they are very prepared to adapt to change. See what IBM found in their 2008 study of Human Capital performance.

Unlocking the DNA of the adaptable workforce

SlideShare Link

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 7/28/2008

Business success requires leaders to be highly adaptable. Every day new challenges, opportunities and market forces create a chance for adapting. What worked yesterday may be the last strategy for success tomorrow. Good leaders know when to adapt.
The adaptability continuum depicts the challenge between being too flexible or too rigid. It's easy for leaders to lean towards one side or the other. After all, we know what worked for us in the past. So what's the right amount of adaptability? The answer: It Depends!
Leadership adaptability requires that leaders understand their operating environment. No two situations are the same. What is right in one situation may not be right for the next. So to be a highly adaptable leader make sure you are in tune to your operating environment.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 7/26/2008 says that adaptability is "the ability to change (or be changed) to fit changed circumstances." Sounds easy right? Wrong!

Most organizations find that change comes with substantial resistance and reluctance. The problem is the way we use to operate seems so much easier. Within a corporate culture we develop norms and operational procedures that lead to certain outcomes. Or at least they use to.

Now in a changed environment too many organizations find themselves leading in the same way. It's comfortable, known and predictable. But it is pretty easy to predict that if leaders don't adapt to change they will be obsolete and run their organizations into extinction. Adapting to change is hard. That's why companies need bold leaders to adapt. In order to have an adaptable workforce you have to have adaptable leaders.

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 7/22/2008

IBM Global Services recently published the results from a study on Human Capital Management. The study interviewed over 400 companies from 40 different countries. One of the clear themes that emerged from their study was that developing an "An Adaptable Workforce is a critical capability."

Today's advancements in technology, globalization and new business models puts companies at an advantage if their workforce is prepared to adapt. In a rapidly changing marketplace staying ahead of the changes puts an organization in a position of strength. The problem is only 14% of organizations said that their workforce was very capable of adapting to change. So if adapting to change is a critical capability I have to ask why do only 14% of organizations feel prepared to adapt to change?

Tell me your thoughts!

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 7/20/2008

Yes, adaptive capacity, which includes such critical skills as the ability to understand context and to recognize and seize opportunities, is the essential competence of leaders. - Warren Bennis

Adaptable Leadership™, LLC partners with corporations to develop leaders prepared for the unknown challenges of tomorrow. Our unique methodology for leadership adaptability was developed from research conducted primarily with the most elite unit of Special Forces. These soldiers are deployed on classified missions that require adapting to significant changes to ensure that missions are accomplished successfully and the team returns home alive. Our founder, a psychologist who spent an entire career devoted to Human Performance Management, worked to develop and train Adaptable Leadership™ in these military units.

Leadership training is widely available today. The retiring baby boomer population has left Corporate America with weak leadership bench strength. The American Society of Training and Development says that Leadership Training is the number one spending area in corporate training. There is a clear understanding that improving your capabilities of your leadership team correlate to an improvement in company performance. Simultaneously there are challenges that make business success even more difficult. In an era of globalization, technology advancements and increased competition the blueprint for success is constantly changing. What worked to lead a company to success in the past may be the last strategy to implement in the future.

Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterates of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Organizational success is dependent on radical transformation, not once or twice, but continuously. The problem is most leadership courses teach individuals what to think not how to think. In a rapidly changing operating environment it is critical that the leaders on the ground understand how to think so that they can adapt to bring success.

Adaptable Leadership™, LLC is committed to developing leaders that understand how to think. Our training programs are designed to prepare leaders for the unknown challenges of tomorrow. If you would like more information about developing your leaders to be adaptable please contact us at 770-617-9028 or email us at .

Posted by Adaptable Leadership - Building Leaders for Changing Times on 1/25/2008

Michael G. Sanders, Sr., PhD

Dr. Mike Sanders has performed research and created products that address the full spectrum of personnel issues including: special operation soldier leadership assessment and selection, training in leader development, and personnel attrition and retention evaluation. Dr. Sanders was instrumental in visioning and the development of the US Army Special Operation Command’s Adaptable Leader training and development program.

As a partner in Human Resource Tactics (HRT), Dr. Sanders has created tests and applied these tests in profiling college football and basketball players for National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. HRT assesses and profiles over 650 of the nation’s best college football players each year for 17 NFL teams in preparation for the NFL Draft. He has conducted workshops on NFL player assessment and consulted with sports, military, and business leaders on personnel assessment, selection, and leader development issues.

For over 16 years Dr. Sanders has provided and continues to provide consultative support to elite military units belonging to the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and US Marine Corps. He has developed scenarios, exercises, and evaluation procedures and applied these assessment and training processes to Officers in the Special Forces Qualification Course and Special Mission Units. He assessed personnel for suitability for different missions within USASOC and provided assessment findings to senior leaders for personnel selection decisions.

Dr. Sanders holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Texas Tech University and has performed as an Industrial Organizational Psychologist in both commercial and military settings. His work has been used as a basis for policy decisions at all levels of the Army. He currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at North Carolina State University. Dr. Sanders has published over 100 papers, technical reports, and articles on the development of people.

Dr. Sanders co-founded Adaptable Leadership, LLC to transfer his knowledge and experience in the development of Adaptable Leaders to Corporate America. The soldiers he helped select go on missions where their life and the lives of those on their teams depended on them being highly adaptable and effective. Likewise, business leaders today are being counted on to be highly adaptable and effective in carrying out their missions.

[i] Leadership Practices, Adaptive Corporate Culture, and Company Financial Performance 2005, Ric Roi,