Agile and Antifragile Change Leadership

The PwC 16th Annual global CEO Survey empathizes that we must expect the unexpected and emerge stronger than before:

During the past decade, we’ve seen economic volatility and disruption escalate to arguably unprecedented levels. . . . For business leaders across the world, “expect the unexpected” has become the mantra.

The only way forward is to build organisations that can survive and thrive amidst disorder: organisations that are agile and adaptable, able to cope with disruption and emerge stronger than before.

To expect the unexpected and emerge strong, consider integrating Antifragility and Change Intelligence:

Antifragility + Change Intelligence = Agile and Antifragile Change Leadership

Listen to the webinar introducing Antifragile Change Leadership.

We’ll be offering Antifragility Change Leader Virtual Certification Workshops soon!

Change Intelligence

In her book, Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change That Sticks, Barbara A. Trautlein (@btrautlein) introduces Change Intelligence (CQ).

First, Barbara distinguishes between change management and change leadership — similar to John Kotter’s (@KotterIntl) distinction between Change Leadership & Change Management and Change Leaders & Managers.

Next, Barbara advances a “simple yet powerful model for change leadership”:

Change intelligence, or CQ, is the awareness of one’s own change leadership style and the ability to adapt one’s style to be optimally effective in leading change across a variety of situations.

The CQ Systems starts with the fact that each change leader has a basic tendency to lead with his or her Heart (Affective/heartset for “who”), Head (Cognitive/mindset for “why” and “what”), Hands (Behaviors/skillset for “how”), or some combination of the three. If you lead mainly from the Heart, you connect with people emotionally (I want it!). If you lead from the Head, you connect with people cognitively (I get it!). And if you lead from the Hands, you connect with people behaviorally (I can do it!). Depending on your natural inclination toward one of these, you have your own set of talents and areas to improve.

Of course, no one leads completely from the Heart, or Head, or Hands. Each of us is a blend of all three, and a small percentage of people do lead with all three with equal savvy. But most of us tend to rely primarily on one or two of these aspects as we lead through change.

Powerful Change Leaders “start with the heart [people-oriented],” “engage the brain [purpose-oriented],” and “help the hands [process-oriented]” move in positive new directions.

Barbara also provides a visualization:

CQ-2015-05-03-00

See here for more on Change Intelligence!

Antifragility

In his book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) introduces Antifragility:

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.

Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind.

Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them.

The mission is how to domesticate, even dominate, even conquer, the unseen, the opaque, and the inexplicable.

See here for more on Antifragility!

Agility and Antifragility

In practice, we can differentiate between the Fragile, Antiagile, Robust, Agile, and Antifragile:

Agility involves responding to change (causing stress), which emphasizes embracing change through inspecting and adapting.

Antifragility involves gaining from disorder (causing stress), which emphasizes embracing disorder through adapting and evolving.

Fragility, Antiagility, Robustness, Agility, and Antifragility may be visualized:

FAARAAF-2015-05-03-00

Agile Change Leadership

Barbara emphasizes:

It is not inherently better or worse to focus on the Heart or the Head or the Hands. However, the effectiveness of a change leadership style shifts in different scenarios depending on the type of change occurring, the business objective, the organizational culture, the people involved, and many other factors.

Fundamentally, it’s the ability to shift that defines an agile change leader — that is, inspecting and adapting (Agility as Boyd’s OODA loop).

An agile change leader embraces change while adapting their change leadership style to be optimally effective given the current situation.

That is, an agile change leader adjusts their style to conditions (stresses) by shifting from one style to another.

Agile Change Leadership may also be visualized:

A-CQ-2015-05-03-00

Notice that we adapt to conditions!

Antifragile Change Leadership

Barbara emphasizes:

Many people are unaware of their dominant aspect (or aspects), and of the impact their leadership style has on the change initiatives they lead. But the effect of how you lead during change is significant — overreliance on the Heart, Head, or Hands to the detriment of the other aspects can alienate the people around you and limit your success. Fortunately, we can all build our capacity to use all three aspects and adapt our change leadership style to be more effective in any situation.

Fundamentally, it’s the ability to build our capacity that defines an antifragile change leader — that is, adapting and evolving.

An antifragile change leader embraces disorder while adapting and evolving their change leadership style to be optimally effective given the current situation.

That is, an antifragile change leader not only adjusts their style to conditions (stresses) by shifting from one style to another, but also develops all their styles from the conditions (stresses) by building the capacity to use all three aspects (Head, Heart, Hands).

Antifragile Change Leadership may also be visualized (without disorder or stress “arrows”):

AF-CQ-2015-05-03-00

Antifragile Change Leadership may also be visualized (with disorder or stress “arrows”):

AF-DS-CQ-2015-05-03-00

Notice that we evolve from conditions!

Listen here to the webinar where Barbara and I introduced Antifragile Change Leadership.

We’ll be offering Antifragility Change Leader Virtual Certification Workshops soon!

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