Leaders need to encourage a sense of urgency in the people they are counting on to carry out the work. However, that sense or urgency needs to energize, not paralyze. People need to be excited about the future, not feeling like it's some kind of alien universe. Leaders have to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that they can get there from here. Adaptive Action is as simple as it its powerful. It is a cycle of three questions (What? So what? Now what?) that are repeated again and again. These questions provide a lifeline for those who feel deeply uncomfortable with but nonetheless have to live in flux.
Here are a few reasons why these questions, and Adaptive Action in general, seem doable as we seek to thrive in chaos and leverage uncertainty:
- There are patterns in chaos. Once we learn to see them, we can take action that makes sense.
- You don't have to see the future. You only have to clearly see the present.
- Some of the old solutions still work. You don't have to start from scratch.
- You can still plan. You just need to plan for a month ahead, not a year ahead (and certainly not five years ahead).
- The pressure to find "the one true answer" is off.
- It's okay to make mistakes.
- You can give up your desire to "win."
- It is fun.