Our board decided to make 2018 a year of experimentation for the network. It was a little scary for our small organization to put our signature event, the conference, on hiatus for a year to try some different approaches, but experimentation, innovation, and learning are part of the framework we’re grounded in.
“Adaptive” is right there in the name—you wouldn’t want us to avoid change would you?
Those experiments were hugely successful, and even when they didn’t deliver everything we hoped for, we learned a ton about how we can serve you and our mission of building a better world through better leadership.
We wanted to find a way to leverage the wisdom and skills of network members like you to help individual leaders grappling with tough adaptive challenges stay in the game and make a real difference in the world. The Network stepped up to support these leadership fellows. To pilot the program, we identified four members as Senior Leadership Fellows seeking thought-partners and matched each of them with three peer consultants who committed to meet five times over a six month period to diagnose their challenge, deepen their understanding of the system, and explore possible interventions.
It worked. The fellows tell us that this intervention had a real impact on their ability to mobilize their organizations or communities to do adaptive work, and the peer consultants report that they learned a lot about their own practice of leadership in the process. We can’t wait to launch the next cohort of fellows this spring.
As a global network, we know not everyone can spend the time or money it takes to join a convening in person. We ran our six-session online refresher course, taught by Ron Heifetz, giving over 40 members a chance to reconnect and reground in the core concepts of the framework. If you haven’t done it, be sure to check it out in 2019.
We also launched thematic webinars featuring members of our Faculty Advisory Board this Fall, with Marty Linsky debriefing the 2018 elections through an Adaptive Leadership lens, and Julia Fabris-McBride offering an interactive session on the important role of allies and confidants. We’ll continue offering these engaging opportunities regularly in the New Year, and share recordings in the members-only resource library.
Advanced Intensive Workshop
If our past conferences and online opportunities have helped leadership practitioners reconnect and reground in the framework, we wondered what it would be like to dig in deeper and explore a new level of teaching and learning with people who’ve been putting the core concepts to work in their own practice of leadership for years. Ron Heifetz generously agreed to build a new five-day intensive training, and 18 members came to Cambridge this August to participate.
The evaluations were overwhelmingly positive and we’re exploring how to build on this for members who want to do this kind of deep dive together next year.
In October, 40 brave souls dove in head first for two days of an immersive learning opportunity focused on sex, power, leadership and authority. We undertook two experiments with this event. First, we chose to dig in on one particular issue through the lens of Adaptive Leadership. Second, we explored partnering with experienced facilitators to use the Group Relations model to use experiential learning rather than a traditional conference with panels and workshops.
Much like the case-in-point classroom experience, it was a challenging, and at times frustrating, experience, but participants told us they left with some powerful new insights on how sex and power play out in their own leadership work. While we may not use this exact model again, we learned that network members are eager to dig in on specific topics and that you’re game for more challenging, experiential learning. We’re carrying those lessons into planning for the conference and other events this year. Be sure to click on the sub-header to see our Sex and Power gallery.
We want to see Adaptive Leadership put to work tackling the world’s problems by more and more people, and that means we need more capable trainers. In November, Kirsti Samuels, Michael Koehler, Candice Crawford-Zakian, and Marty Linsky worked with a full-capacity group of 20 at a two-day session to learn strategies for effectively teaching an introduction to the framework. Participants got hands-on experience leading a session for the group and getting feedback on their teaching style.
The folks in the room told us it was an invaluable experience for their professional development, and we’re looking forward to developing this and other programs for teachers, trainers and consultants working with Adaptive Leadership in 2019. Be sure to click on the sub-header to see our Train the Trainer gallery.