Book Review: The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World
I read a book about leadership. The book explained how people in power like to stay in control. Which makes sense. If I was a leader I would like to tell people what to do. Once you start giving the orders it must be hard to stop. Or it might be more like Game of Thrones, once you lose power you lose your kingdom.
Fortunately the book explains all the tricks that leaders use to stay in power. Leaders offer direction, protection, and order.
- Direction - clarify roles and vision, the ways to act if you want to get ahead
- Protection - feeling of safety through reassurance, money, or position
- Order - maintain the same and familiar ways, don't rock the boat
If you want to be a leader these are your tools of the trade. For new leaders, I would recommend Hawaiian Shirt Fridays. Everyone likes Hawaiian shirts, and they will be glad you had a vision that made the workplace more fun (direction). When everyone wears Hawaiian shirts they will feel safe (protection). Doing it every Friday will reassured the team through familiar regularity (order).
You may want to make a bigger impact. You may want a clearly stated agenda before the start of every meeting. This may be troubling to the meeting organizer, who may not know why they called the meeting. More likely the meeting organizer may want to talk about something else and not deal with the problem at hand.
This book has six steps to bring back a meeting agenda.
- Start with yourself. Always have a clear meeting agenda. No one likes a hypocrite.
- Stick to the present when things do not go your way. Reminders of the past prevent change.
- Count the votes for meeting agendas. Get to know the anti-agenda stakeholders and convince them to join your pro-agenda side. Hint start with the easy ones.
- Tell everyone they will be loved and adored for their pro-agenda position. Make constituents heroes in the new reality.
- Call the meeting organizer "sir/madam owner of the agenda and the preventer of chaos". People like titles, and rituals help.
- Keep the best parts of the non-agenda way. Have a code word like "code blue!" to break out of the agenda. Sometimes the agenda is stupid.
If you want to know more you may need to read the book.
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