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How to Decide:

Adaptive Leadership for Complex Times

In-house and conference options available. Contact us for a 30-minute conversation.


Community, civic, and nonprofit leaders are discovering that old assumptions, processes—even our collective sense of time—are still shifting unpredictably as the COVID-19 pandemic enables a partial return to work. Many expected by now for a “return to normal,” or that long-held hopes would get a jumpstart. But those hopes have been dashed by staffing struggles, pinched resources, and wounded, tired humans. Old ways of planning and decision-making are failing to meet the moment.

This course is an introduction to principles of adaptive leadership, with a special emphasis on personal discovery and small-scale application. Participants will examine their own leadership preferences and assumptions, and they will consider how those assumptions may have been shaped by the dominant culture. While learning to accept and celebrate their leadership orientation, participants will also consider when a situation is best approached by other leaders—or shaped by different processes.

Participants will come away with a helpful framework for adaptive leadership, as well as a method for scaffolding emergent practices in complex situations.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to answer the following questions:

  • What situations best fit my leadership skills, style, preference, and worldview?

  • In what situations should I consider stepping back and following others’ lead?

  • What are some of my cultural assumptions about leadership and process design?

  • What are some practical ways I might begin to shift those cultural assumptions to enable more equitable processes and outcomes?

  • What are some participatory processes that can enable me to lead in new ways?

Participants will:
  • Know your leadership orientation

  • Learn how to gauge when it's time to flex your leadership orientation OR lead by stepping back & making space

  • Begin to unpack equity implications in our decision-making habits

  • Grow in discernment about when and why we employ different collaborative methods

  • Connect with other participants

  • Leave with two frameworks for resetting yourself and your organization in these challenging times

Who Should Take this Course:
  • Organizational change agents

  • Diversity & inclusion changemakers

  • Project managers

  • Team leaders

  • Those who sense their leadership orientation is underutilized

  • Those who sense their leadership practices are distorted by the often-unreasonable demands of a shifting cultural landscape


3 hours, In-House Course

4 hours, Online (includes lots of breaks)

90 minutes, Conference Format

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