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The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World
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The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,019 ratings  ·  70 reviews
A hands-on, practical guide, "Practice of Adaptive Leadership" contains stories, tools, diagrams, cases, and worksheets to help managers develop their skills as leaders who are able to take people outside their comfort zones and address the toughest challenges. ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  1,019 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is hard to know what to say about this book. I took on a new position in January, and the other new assistant director and I have been reading this (along with the library director), periodically discussing it at our meetings. It has been great for that, but I haven't been ready to hear some of the ideas, and some of them aren't quite appropriate. This is a book I will keep, and consult from time to time.

The only chapter I really balked at was the "Inspire" chapter. I'm just not sure every pe
Fred Leland
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book this past year as I was part of a steering committee put together to develop emergency first responders. Cops responding to crisis to be specific who need to be flexible of thought. I have taught and even written on adaptability myself but this book had a great way of explaining what adaptability was and how to implement it in an organization. it took into account things I had experienced first hand such as the resistance to the idea of developing adaptable cultures capable of ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
I think I was looking for more of an update and deeper dive into the content of "Leadership On the Line." instead it felt like they pulled back from the core of the individual in the larger system and lost the attention to purpose and values or and their quality of analysis. Less from the heart and the gut, more from the head. Still quite useful though. ...more
Paul Laughlin
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
How to learn the real practice of Adaptive Leadership

Plenty of new terms for leadership have become fashionable while considering leading through recent crises, one with the most academic grounding is Adaptive Leadership.

Inside & outside the data leader community, I began hearing more leaders & experts reference this term. It was even raised during a coaching supervision session, so I decided to learn what it really means & its relevance to data leaders.

Its origins are as a practical leadership
Erika RS
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, leadership, kindle
The ideas in this book are critical for anyone engaging in organizational change in the face of complex change. What keeps it from 5 stars is that, as a book, it feels more repetitive and disorganized than it needs to be which makes it harder to focus on the key points.

Adaptive leadership is leadership in the face of complex (in the Cynefin sense) organizational problems. Adaptive problems generally require learning, risk taking, and figuring out what parts of past culture and procedure to keep
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I pretty gave up on the leadership genre of books several years back. I've picked up a few having to do with leadership in the missional church in recent years but found those to basically be more of the same. So,"The Practice of Adaptive Leadership," which was assigned reading for a class, was not a book I would have otherwise picked up to read. There is a lesson to be learned somewhere in there as this might be the best thing I've ever read on Leadership. The authors view leadership as the nec ...more
Brian Eshleman
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Realistic treatment of what to expect when being a part of change in an organization. Quotes and illustrations are good, but reviewing a couple of months later I can't remember any jaw-dropping or eye-opening insights. I gave it four stars at the time, so some of its influence must fade after a little while. This is why I read LITERATURE and remain open to practical, timely implications of it rather than boiled-down how-to material. ...more
Max Tachis
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was semi-required reading for my team in the workplace. The Silicon Valley work environment is changing plenty fast as it is, but with COVID-19 and stronger discussions around race, safety, and equity there's simply no time to NOT facilitate an adaptive workplace. This book provides a lot of actionable solutions to issues facing modern employment and collaborative team-building. It benefits from a straight read-through, but will probably continue to serve my team and I better in the future ...more
Alyssa Foll
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best leadership book that I have read. "The Practice of Adaptive Leadership" is about leading change, but how to do so in leading others through loss and how to lead yourself. It's one of the first leadership books that I have come across that made sense, intuitively, to me.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is leading in their organizations, schools, churches, or communities.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not saying this was a fun book to read, it is definitely a textbook and not something I would have read if it weren't required for one of my grad classes. But, as far as textbooks about leadership go, it was useful and I could really see myself putting the strategies into practice in my work and community life. It is definitely a book I would recommend for anyone wishing to take on more of a leadership role in any facet of their life, especially if there are major changes afoot. ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book would be amazing if it went to the depth of inquiry necessary. You read a section, and are left just wanting more, but not in a good way like a solid novel. Instead, you being to understand the topic the authors are getting at, and are ready for more, and the chapter ends. Very unexpected, and not very useful.
Ichinkhorloo Khosbayar
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Change doesn't come easily. In order to change people around you, your community and the world, you should adapt the leadership. I really enjoyed reading it and the message I got is that you have to have that willing to be changed.
I think I'll reread when I become a part of any organization.
Rebecca Fenerty
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall, good leadership resource. Very specific tools and techniques related to adaptive challenges within the workplace. Not an introductory resource for new leaders necessarily, but excellent for someone who is getting ready to tackle a major change/shift within an organization.
Danielle Baranowski
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Meh. If you've never, ever read a book about leadership, this might be interesting, but it's mostly repetition of things that have been said better elsewhere. tl;dr: be flexible, build relationships, keep learning, question everything. ...more
Alex Bergland
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Required reading for my masters class.

Although not a strictly education book, the concepts apply to education well and I really liked a lot of the concepts that were talked about in this book. It opened my mind to some new ways of doing things.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book on leadership, because it brings everything back to yourself. Practical insights and lessons on how to influence, reframe, reposition, mobilize, andsoforth, to further your cause and stay connected to your purpose.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just read the whole book in one sitting. So reliable and so supportive in time of pandemic. This book is what I am thristing for during Covid-19 period which needed to implement adaptive leadership in all setting.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I use lessons from it every day in my leadership training.
Shane Orr
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to this book, but there was a lot more "what" than "how" and much of the "what" was intuitive. ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book about leadership. This book or something similar should be required reading for all human beings...
Rachael Mackie
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This was required reading for a leadership class so not one I chose. The concepts made sense, but it was boring to read and I found myself skimming to get to the end.
Kim Phan
I'd have liked this book better had I worked in a larger organization and that it's shorter. The book's illustration is not inspiring. ...more
Amy Constant
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though I read it for a class, I really enjoyed the concepts and theories.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a good one to keep on the shelf and refer back to.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
This read like a self-published book. It seemed they took transformational leadership and repackaged it into adaptive leadership.
Luke Evans
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read part.

More of a reference work
Ron Aguilera
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book on leadership!
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
This was very practical and a guide that I will no doubt return to from time to time.
I can definitely tell the leaders who've read and adopted this method of leadership...I like it... I learned some new things and reaffirmed others... ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent examples throughout the book for adaptive change in your professional life and personal life, too. Great advice on how to lead adaptive change.
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