Kris Forcier, Strategy Execution’s Director of Global Sales Enablement, recently shared a story about what his teenage kids taught him about being adaptive. The story begins as follows:
A few days ago, I mandated that my 17-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, 2-year-old puppy, and wife of 26 years set aside some structured time to unplug and focus on something to do together as a family. As the self-proclaimed “boss” in my house, I was fairly loose with this mandate. It could be playing a game, watching a movie, or going for a walk; I just wanted it to be something we did together. I’m sure many have tried this and I hope have had success, but I’d like to share the failure of my efforts with you, as it led to great clarity, understanding, and attaining agreement on something that was beneficial for us all; in my world a win/win for everyone.
Click here to read the full article, What my teenage children have taught me about being “adaptive”
So how does adaptive leadership relate to our personal lives?
Most of us have a tendency to perceive our professional lives as being vastly different and separate from our personal ones. While this may be true from a tactical standpoint, if we take a closer look at the elements that influence our jobs and that we must navigate every day – strategy, work, and people – we’ll soon discover that they are not unlike the same variables we must manage at home. In the case of this story, Kris Forcier sought out to alter the strategy (quality family time) of his home life, but in doing so he had to figure out how that fit into the work (watching a movie together) and the people (his family members).
We’re constantly talking about how the business environment is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, a concept derived from the military, and that we refer to as “VUCA.” But what Kris learned from this situation with his family is that VUCA isn’t just reserved for the business world. In fact, it accurately describes all of our worlds in some way and how we must have the right combination of skills and an adaptive mindset to navigate within it.
Ultimately, being able to take a step back and view his current project through a different lens allowed him to reassess the situation and better understand why his original plan failed. Having an adaptive mindset allowed him to see things from a different perspective – in this case, through the eyes of his teenage kids – and approach his problem in a new way. At the end of the day, Kris was able to come up with a solution together – not by my mandate, but by understanding his family’s needs and requirements, and collaborating to find a solution that worked for everyone.
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