Webinar Recap – Becoming an Adaptive Leader: Overcoming Project Breakdowns

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strategy ex webinar recap

At a time when the business world is more volatile and complex than ever before, project-based work has become the norm, rather than the exception. During our most recent #StratExLive webinar, Strategy Execution’s Vice President of Product Management, Jonathan Gilbert was joined by Ed Barrows, Managing Director at Duke Corporate Education, to discuss how these changing conditions have created a new demand for adaptive leaders.

The Challenge and Opportunity of Adaptive Leadership

A recent study found that the average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 has dropped significantly since the 1960s – and it is expected to shrink even more in the coming years. As CEOs bear witness to this reduced “life expectancy” of companies, it’s not enough for leaders to manage the day-to-day work. In order to sustain their business, they are also challenged to execute with tomorrow’s vision in mind. Barrows illustrates this by referencing a familiar quote by the famous hockey player, Wayne Gretzky: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

While having the right processes, procedures, and people in place are still critical to getting the job done, adaptive skills are what set successful leaders apart. Adaptive skills enable leaders to drive collaboration at all levels, influence across boundaries, and innovate by owning problems and designing solutions. Gilbert aptly states, “We all need to see ourselves as agents of change because our business environment requires it.”

Models and Tools for Project Leaders

To equip today’s leaders to prepare for tomorrow, Gilbert and Barrows highlight two critical skills, which both map to courses in the new Adaptive Strategic Execution Program (ASEP):

  • Aligning Work With Strategy
  • Influencing Without Authority

Gilbert uses the Architect-Translator-Doer Model to help illustrate the importance of having a healthy feedback loop environment, in which people at all levels must step up and take on increased responsibility, accountability, and communication. Only then can the organization align the work of the doers with the strategy of the architects.

Barrows challenges participants to self-reflect on questions about their own work personas. By assessing and inputting traits like credibility and reliability into a “trust equation,” leaders can better gauge their ability to influence those around them, and adapt as necessary.

Watch the webinar recording to learn more about these adaptive leadership skills and how they can empower leaders and organizations to navigate disruptive environments.

StrategyEx Webinar


Strategy Execution is a global leader in organizational training addressing the inherently volatile and complex business environment that now requires a more holistic and adaptive approach to managing projects.  We enable people to close the strategy execution gap and drive higher organizational performance by strengthening project leadership skills. By combining the best of cutting-edge university research and proven business techniques, we deliver training designed to increase alignment and engagement across teams, business units, or the entire enterprise. Learn more today at strategyex.com. Join the conversation on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

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