President of Kenton Talent Management & The Executive Women’s Summit
Most people are painfully aware that our business climate is evolving at an extraordinary pace. The recent pandemic reminded us that the only constant is change. Adaptable leadership is now paramount to sustainable business viability. Therefore, the future’s most viable businesses are building “adaptive cultures” today.
What do we mean by adaptive cultures? John Kotter, an influential scholar in the field of organizational culture, wrote adaptive cultures.
“help organizations anticipate and adapt to environmental change and maintain superior performance over long periods of time”.
In adaptive cultures, leaders are focused on both internal and external constituency needs. This means they can quickly sense when the competitive landscape is changing. Companies
with adaptive cultures value leaders that can create strategies to respond nimbly to various changes.
Most importantly, they know how to leverage resources to implement new strategies “even if changes must be made in culturally engrained behaviors”.
A cornerstone to implementing new strategies is to develop and enhance a recruiting/ talent roadmap and hiring playbook. There are a few lessons I and my team have learned that are shared below. The adaptive leadership model was originally introduced by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. Heifetz defines it as
“the act of mobilizing a group of individuals to handle tough challenges and emerge triumphant in the end”.
The Corporate Finance Institute’s article on adaptive leadership breaks the model into four main components. I took the liberty of enhancing some of their associated definitions below:
Creating an adaptive culture starts with building and/or buying adaptable leadership talent and then fostering an environment that embraces and celebrates those leaders. Adaptable leaders possess all four of the components outlined above.
Hiring and developing adaptable leaders require many of us to reimagine the way we view and manage talent. It can feel uncomfortable, and even a bit risky. Change sets the stage for resistance and discomfort because it challenges our current and past decisions, philosophies, and beliefs.
For some, change implies that our current strategies and tactics are ineffective or wrong.
A fundamental component of creating an adaptive culture starts with a focus on “who” versus “what”. Most companies hire, develop, promote, and retain talent for “what”. “What” is comprised of hard skills – they are teachable, quantifiable qualifications.
What-based talent decisions trick us into believing we are increasing our probability of success and mitigating risk. Common “what” categories include things like previous industry experience, specific systems knowledge, applicable certifications, education and training, physical/ geographical restrictions, etc.
“Who” represents intangibles and “soft skills” such as values, personal attributes, and innate strengths. Unfortunately, “who” can be more challenging to assess and verify.
I certainly don’t advise my clients to throw “what” out the window when making critical talent decisions. However, “what” is secondary to “who”. Building a values-based behavioral interview model is essential to hiring for “who”.
Is your organization struggling with the best strategy of how to bring “who” into your hiring process? Are you unclear on how to develop a values-based behavioral interview process?
Looking for more information on Leadership?
Check out this article: Successful Growth: Adaptive Leadership.
Enter your information below and we will send the latest opportunities right to your inbox!
We will never sell or share your information.
Now, more than ever, executives are looking for career coaches in Denver, CO. Most executives are recognizing the need to create a personal
Aligning Your Actions With Your “Why”: How to set effective objectives and goals As each year comes to a close, there are numerous
How To Master Adaptable Leadership – A Powerful Meta-Skill Kristen Kenton President of Kenton Talent Management & The Executive Women’s Summit Most people