“Adaptive managers must become experts of communication. Like professional athletes seeking to improve every aspect of their performance, they must embrace all types of feedback to grow and learn.”
Alain Henry MBA(FS) Class of 2014
Organizations continually face new challenges as the environments in which they operate evolve and change. This evolution can take many forms and directions.
I agree with Rick Nason that managers must possess an adaptive mindset if they wish to succeed in these shifting environments. Organizations of all sizes must embrace complexity and set a clear path for managers at all levels to acquire and possess the right leadership tools to manage this complexity, so they can proactively execute the corporate strategy rather than passively react to a changing environment and lose their focus.
I firmly believe that effective top-down and bottom-up communication is critical in establishing the right foundation allowing adaptive managers to thrive in a complex world. Taking the time to instill an environment that embraces open communication and that promotes feedback loops requires first and foremost executive support. This support is necessary as linking all levels of management to a common goal: One that breaks silos and challenges legacy knowledge can only nurture this evolution if executives practice what they preach. Adaptive managers must become experts of communication. Like professional athletes seeking to improve every aspect of their performance, they must embrace all types of feedback to grow and learn. This feedback must come from multiple sources (peers, direct reports, supervisors) and effective managers will seek and engage all stakeholders early and often to receive this valued feedback, which I view as “small gifts”.
Adaptive managers must also promote a culture of “curiosity”. Empowering individuals within their teams to question the status quo or view the organization through an external lens, one that is disruptive to the way the organization operates. These discussions can only be beneficial. Allowing team members to innovate/create or problem-solve amongst themselves without the direct influence of management fosters a test-learn-adapt environment, one that is conducive to continuous and relevant improvements while remaining focused on the clients’ evolving needs (thus avoiding the Kodak fate).
Each journey is unique and often times beyond the comprehension of the ‘complicated’ thinker.