The main challenges faced by today’s leaders are not technical, but rather ‘adaptive’ - those for which there are not known solutions as we have not experienced them before. They are difficult to define, complex, and call for new ideas to bring about change in multiple places. Adaptive challenges can only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, values, beliefs, perspectives, habits and loyalties.
Traditional management strategies are useful in dealing with technical problems, but in situations where beliefs and values come into play they tend to exacerbate the problem. Making progress requires going beyond any authoritative expertise to mobilise discovery, shedding entrenched ways which are no longer useful, tolerating losses and generating a new capacity to thrive anew.