• Liz

Get off the dance floor

A great analogy to use when thinking about the technicalities as an Adaptive Leader and forging change in your team or organisation. I've used this technique with Mentees before with great results for them to be able to 'look outside of the boat' on the balcony and nudge individuals on the dance floor within well thought through, low risk changes to measure impact.


If you want to create lasting change, you need to run between the dance floor and the balcony to improve your view of the tricky challenges you have identified as adaptive challenges.


From the balcony you can see movements, followers, power and relationships. You can see from a distance potential threats to your business and any changes you are suggesting. You move out of the 'hubbub' and detail of day to day working and up to a higher viewpoint.





Great leaders will be able to horizon scan and predict challenges and threats to their business and organisation and also be able to nurture and maximise opportunities early on as they are scanning from the balcony. You'll know leaders like this, either in your work life or certainly in sports you might follow. Always with their finger on the pulse, able to get down on the dance floor, sometimes to lead the steps, sometimes to nudge people into a different tempo or beat, then return to the balcony to see the impact. From the balcony you won't get absorbed by organisational cultures and norms - maybe causing or aggravating your adaptive challenge.


The 'nudges' are managed through constant observation of the stakeholders involved in the adaptive challenge and the Leader makes small changes, all with potential risk, but they play out and the Leader watches and learns. People on the dance floor are not stood in front of and addressed and told it's the shimmy or nothing, and those dancing a twist to a folk piece, might be nudged to improve their confidence to learn the folk dance from peers in another area - seriously I can use this vision for a LONG while!


I embrace the dance floor analogy as it is something we can all relate to - I mean, who hasn't boogied the night away or stood swaying awkwardly around the edge? So if these guys are those in your team, what do you do to help the flow and get the group working more effectively together? Who are the people who will go for it when something new comes on and where's your group of people who dance the same steps, every night, regardless of the tune?


There is so much more to the analogy and how it can improve your ability as a Leader to tackle and drive deep rooted change positively, taking and influencing multiple stakeholder groups with you. You might need support to identify your adaptive challenge and support your groups to understand the difference between adaptive and technical challenges and why we approach them differently but you ABSOLUTELY should try stepping up on the balcony and share with me what you see.


To undertake adaptive challenges, you have to hold a high sense of assurance in self - where is your risk tolerance? Why can you lead this group and also dance the night away? What do you see when you look in the leadership mirror? (I have one of these by the way for training sessions, it's a sight to behold!)


#leadership #coaching #adaptiveleadership #mirror #selfawareness #dancefloor #balcony #focus


The adaptive leadership theory and model is available as a focused workshop - change management - giving participants the skills and knowledge plus set an experiment to undertake in the workplace and access to 2 x 1:1 coaching sessions (before and after the experiment).





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©2018 by Liz Rowe, Chesil Infinity, Dorset