Do You Face an Adaptive Challenge?
An adaptive challenge requires fundamentally new ways of thinking and acting. Doubling revenues in a flat market, exceeding financial targets in a merger, and dramatically increasing the value of an R&D pipeline are examples of adaptive challenges our clients have faced.
An adaptive challenge is distinct from an operational challenge. Operational challenges are still significant as well, but the organization has the skills and abilities to achieve it, so it becomes a matter of executing flawlessly—no easy task! It’s just a different type of task.
One of the most common mistakes leaders make is not matching the approach to large scale change with the type of challenge they are facing. Using an operational change management approach to address an adaptive challenge will not be successful. A mismatch between the type of challenge and the approach results in wasted time and resources and unsuccessful change efforts.
We have found the types of organization change fall along a spectrum, defined by the level of ambition and the nature of the challenge and solution. Any one organization may have many types of changes going on at once. We have described these types of challenges in the diagram below.