Leading Change Through Adaptive Culture

Leading Change Through Adaptive Culture
Summary: Leaders supporting an adaptive culture in organizations.

Leading Change

A leadership style can be described as a form of supporting and guiding a group of individuals through a change, challenge, or crisis by building an adaptive culture. An adaptive organizational culture supports the leadership concept and change processes by creating flexibility, transparency, creativity, innovativeness, efficiency, commitment, trust, fluidity, and promotes sustainability. An organization with an adaptive culture built into the management and leadership strategies, system, and processes creates and maintains a competitive advantage in the information age of the 21st century. Building and integrating an adaptive culture of leadership, management, and staff, into a leadership approach of transformational leadership, facilitate the transformational process for all leaders, members, and stakeholders.

Definitions Of Building An Adaptive Culture Concept And Process

Sustainable leadership uses an adaptive culture that involves everyone, in the change, challenge, or crisis resolution process, for a resilient and swift recovery, regardless of his/her position on the corporate ladder. An open, transparent, and adaptive culture in leadership and management processes creates room for innovation, higher accountability, responsibility, and creativity, improves efficiency, and builds competitive advantage (Heifetz et al., 2009). Another definition for building an adaptive culture concept and process in leadership and change in an organization is sharing all responsibilities regardless of the position in the hierarchy of command in the organization (Barnes et al., 2013).

When individuals in an organization are held accountable for their tasks and duties, and responsibilities and obligations of other people on their team, including leadership roles, such as cross-training between departments, it minimizes room for error and creates an adaptive culture which is efficient during a challenge, crisis, and change. Leadership and management’s responsibility is to align their mission, vision, values, and goals with that of the subordinates and encourage equal participation in team meetings, team-building exercises, and team development (Canals, 2014). It is only when subordinates, staff, and stakeholders feel a connection or bond to the organizational leaders, and management, they are eager to participate proactively and productively lead through any transition or transformation in the department or organization.

Significance Of Building An Adaptive Culture In The 21st Century

The value of building an adaptive culture of leadership and change in the 21st century is essential to organizations, especially in the increased use of information technology and its ability to transfer data at a rapid rate. If the organizational leaders do not have a recovery plan in place or address the restoration of their reputation immediately, present and future clients may choose to cease to do business with this organization (Raney, 2014).

As challenges and crises may occur in a matter of seconds in the dynamic internal and external environments globally, an open, authentic, all participating adaptive organizational culture in leadership and management would create the best opportunities for competitive advantage and sustainability (Mccann & Sweet, 2014). While forecasting disaster opportunities, threats, or risks, may allow for a disaster recovery plan of practice, the resiliency and time of recovery of organizational performance will serve as key factors that will inform management of the level of the existing adaptive leadership culture, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Research And Conclusions On Building An Adaptive Culture

There are many research findings and conclusions on building an adaptive culture to leverage change through leadership processes. The leadership theory for creating an adaptive culture in leadership highlights five characteristics that emphasize transparent communication, equal responsibility, developing leadership capacity, individual judgment, and ongoing reflection and learning (Heifetz et al., 2009). Challenges, crises, and change are continuous and ever-changing in the future, so the adaptive culture in leadership, management, and staff must be flexible, agile, and complementing to maintain organizational performance, strength, endurance, and competitive advantage.

The change theory for building an adaptive culture in leadership involves five processes, diagnosing the problem from a balcony view, interpreting the verbal and non-verbal communication, providing flexible intervention, the change process, and coming out more robust through the chaos, stress, and crisis (Prewitt & Weil, 2014). The everyday practice of coming out stronger through challenges and confusion will lead an organization and its’ leadership to endure future challenges and pressures, more proficiently, successfully, and rapidly.

Another change theory on building an adaptive organizational culture is identifying the elements, focusing on authority, analyzing information, aligning strategy, and minimizing the gap between behavior and values politically (Raney, 2014). An adaptive leadership culture reduces stress and strain on every member of the organization, by the optimal use of preexisting strategies and resources during moments of crisis, changes, and challenges.

Integration Of Concept Into Personal Leadership Approach

Integrating the building of an adaptive culture concept into one’s leadership approach of transformational leadership requires flexibility, transparency, strength, authenticity, confidence, commitment, patience, persistence, practicality, drive, focus, and a vision for growth (Fullan, 2011). An open two-way communication channel, organizational unity, empathetic leadership, focusing in a direction together, and reviewing the action feedback loop during a crisis or challenge, can create competitive advantage and sustainability for an organization using transformational leadership processes in alignment with an adaptive culture.

The more quickly and efficiently an organization and its’ leaders and members can adapt to transition, challenge, and crisis, the more likely the organization will succeed in moments of competitive advantage and sustainability (Senge et al., 2010). Integrating an adaptive culture on leadership in an organization, during organizational transitions or transformations, eases the stress and chaos by studying scores of interactions for optimizing organizational performance. Leveraging change through leadership processes involves various theories, strategies, and transformational leadership practices in alignment with adaptive cultures within the organization internally and externally to create competitive advantage, sustainability, reduce risks or threats, and optimize organizational performance.


Thus, leveraging change through leadership processes in the 21st century requires building an adaptive culture, internally and externally. The organization transitions quickly through the development, challenge, or crisis. The definition of leveraging change in the leadership process through building an adaptive culture requires clarity, focus, strength, unity, flexibility, time, and practice to swiftly and efficiently move through a change process.

Since information transfer occurs at instantaneous speeds through technological devices, software, and sites, building an adaptive culture is most significant to the success of businesses and organizations than before. Research, findings, and conclusions highlight building an adaptive culture needing leadership and change theory applications of shared responsibility and accountability for swift and efficient responses to the dynamic changes in internal and external environments.

The integration of building an adaptive culture into the personal leadership approach of transformational leadership is complementing, like most features of adaptive practice support, and ease transformation processes during organizational change. Optimal organizational performance requires a flexible organizational structure, strategies, behavior, and culture. Leadership and management align the values, mission, vision, and goals of the organization with all of the internal and external members.


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