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Sometimes a Little Difference Makes All the Difference

“Getting people to do adaptive work is the mark of leadership in a competitive world” (Heifetz & Laurie, 2011, p. 58). “The magnitude of change today can prompt a doom and gloom vision, or it can be seen as an opportunity for a fundamental shift in how we humans define ourselves, where we are going, and how we will accomplish our goals” (Conner, 1992, pp. 4-5).

In today’s competitive world survival is spelled C.H.A.N.G.E.

At no time in history has technology advanced so quickly. What is new today will be antiquated by this time next year. An ability to adapt is the key to success. Unfortunately, corporations find themselves left behind the pack before they even realize they are no longer leading the race.

John Kotter says, “Major change takes time, sometimes lots of time” (Kotter, 2012, p. 123). The challenge of producing an adaptive spirit in the heart of followers is an art form in today’s marketplace, and those who develop that skill-set will see increasing market value placed on their expertise.

Changes that diverge from the status quo are particularly challenging to implement. They require change agents to distance themselves from their existing institutions and persuade other organization members to adopt practices that not only are new, but also break with the norms of their institutional environment (Battalana & Casciaro, 2012, p. 381).

Facilitating adaptive behavior in members of an organization requires a unique set of skills that are still being formulated by practitioners of change. Techniques vary, but the challenge is constant. Change is necessary for survival.


Heifetz, R. A., & Laurie, D. L. (2011). The work of leadership. In H. B. Review, HBR's 10 must reads on leadership (pp. 57-78). Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press.

Conner, D. R. (1992). Managing at the speed of change: How resilient managers suceed and prosper where others fail. New York, NY: Villiad Books.

Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading Change. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Review Press.

Battalana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2012). Change agents, networks and institutions: A contigency theory of organizational change. Academy of management journal , 55 (2), 381-398.

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