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Legislative Leadership Minnesota 2013 Ronald Heifetz Harvard Kennedy School.

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Presentation on theme: "Legislative Leadership Minnesota 2013 Ronald Heifetz Harvard Kennedy School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legislative Leadership Minnesota 2013 Ronald Heifetz Harvard Kennedy School

2 Distinguish Technical and Adaptive Work

3 Persistent conflicts are symptomatic of a bundled set of issues that are in part technical problems and in part adaptive challenges.

4 The Classic Error Diagnosing and treating adaptive challenges as if they were technical problems

5 Essential Questions of Adaptive Work 1.What cultural DNA do we keep? 2.What cultural DNA do we discard? 3.What innovative DNA will enable us to thrive in the new and challenging environment?

6 Properties of Adaptive Work 1.Adaptive work demands responses outside the current repertoire. 2.To thrive in changing conditions, adaptive organizations must be responsive to the environment. 3.Successful adaptations are conservative as well as progressive. 4.The people with the problem are the problem, and they are the solution. Solutions often lie within the society.

7 Properties of Adaptive Work 5.Success requires local adaptations to local environments 6.Solutions involve direct and indirect loss as people re-fashion loyalties and develop new competencies 7.Adaptive work takes more time than technical work 8.Innovation toward adaptive change is experimental 9.Adaptive work generates disequilibrium and avoidance

8 Social and Political Tension Social and political tension and disequilibrium are part of social learning and adaptive change

9 PRODUCTIVE RANGE OF DISTRESS DISEQUILIBRIUM TIME LIMIT OF TOLERANCE THRESHOLD OF LEARNING ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE WORK AVOIDANCE TECHNICAL PROBLEM Technical and Adaptive Work

10 Avoiding Adaptive Work Societies and Organizations Tend to Avoid Adaptive Work Why? To restore equilibrium and avoid losses How? By diverting responsibility or attention

11 Displacing Responsibility 1. Externalize the enemy 2. Attack authority 3. Divide the top team 4. Kill the messenger 5. Scapegoat

12 Diverting Attention 1.Fake Remedies a.Define the problem to fit your competence b.Misuse structural adjustments c.Misuse consultants, committees, task forces 2.Denial 3.Unproductive Conflict a.Gladiator fights with spectators

13 Discussion Question How can you reduce rather than amplify the constituency pressures that will constrain your ability to collaborate?

14 The Politics of Leadership ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE

15 Discussion Question In meeting adaptive challenges, social contracts of trust between authorities and citizens need to be “renegotiated.” How can you help each other challenge and disappoint your constituencies at a rate they can tolerate?

16 Properties of Authority A service contract Formal or informal Power entrusted for service Key components of the contract Power Trust Service

17 Services of Authority Direction Protection Order Orientation to roles Control of conflict Norm Maintenance

18 Trust Trust Predictability Values Competence

19 The Paradox of Trust People will trust you when you fulfill their expectations for service So what happens when you: Deliver information that conflicts with those expectations? Tell people what they may need to hear, but not what they want and expect to hear?

20 A Strategy of Leadership: Mobilizing Adaptive Work 1. Get on the Balcony 2. Think Politically 3. Regulate Disequilibrium 4. Distribute Leadership and Responsibility 5. Infuse the Work with Meaning

21 Get on the Balcony Unbundle Technical from Adaptive challenges Distinguish ripe from unripe issues Frame the key challenges Keep the key issues at the center of attention

22 Think Politically Find allies Keep the opposition close Own your piece of the problem Acknowledge losses Model the changed behavior Accept casualties

23 Regulate Disequilibrium Strengthen the holding environment for cross-boundary work Depersonalize the conflicts: distinguish role from self Maintain a productive level of disequilibrium Pace the work Take the heat and hold steady Maintain a collective sense of purpose

24 Distribute Leadership and Responsibility Place the adaptive work where it must be done Encourage widespread social and policy experimentation Refashion loyalties to move from dependency to distributed initiative and responsibility Cascade leadership responsibility to local levels Protect unauthorized voices of leadership

25 Infuse the Work with Meaning Develop a narrative that: Manages expectations Helps people comprehend the developments in their lives Builds from and conserves the past Names the losses and sustains people through transitional pain Engages people in their adaptive work Calls forth people’s resourcefulness


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