By Keith Coats
Adaptability is not just about being successful in a changing world, evolutionary biology identifies it as essential to survival. One of the most important of the adaptive skills is that of ‘getting on the balcony’. Inherent in the Adaptive Leadership model is this powerful (and very helpful) analogy of the ‘Balcony and the Dance floor’.
It is all about perspective and from where it is that we view things. Most of us (and worryingly so, many leaders) operate for the majority of our time from the dance floor. It is about ‘doing’, being ‘active’ and being continually involved. The problem is that whilst on the dance floor one’s vision is limited to the immediate periphery. Being able to see what is happening on the edges is not possible and our dance is shaped by our immediate surroundings. It is from the vantage point of the balcony that one is able to view and scan the entire dance floor. In an exponentially changing world – one where the dance is changing all the time, scanning the entire dance floor is essential. This makes knowing what is your personal and organisational balcony important; knowing what it is and devolving the capacity and discipline to access it on a regular basis. In leadership this is amongst the most neglected of all leadership responsibilities.
Here would be some ways to help you cultivate this vital reflective habit that is so essential for adaptability: