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Adaptive Capacity

Book Description

In today’s business world, change of
many kinds—technological, economic,
social, and environmental—is outpacing
the ability of organizations to predict it
and manage it. As a result, the single most
important capacity any company can develop
is the power to adapt to change, and to do
so rapidly, intelligently, and effectively.
In ADAPTIVE CAPACITY: How
Organizations Can Thrive in a Changing
World, Juan Carlos Eichholz—business
consultant and acclaimed professor—offers
a compelling analysis of the challenge of
increasing an organization’s adaptive capacity.
Eichholz examines the five crucial
dimensions across which a company must
improve its adaptive capacity—purpose,
strategy, structure, culture, and talent. His
insights are brought to life through vivid
examples involving organizations ranging
from HP and Google to Telefonica and the
U.S. Marines. Readers will develop a new
appreciation for this most crucial aspect of
contemporary leadership as well as a host of
ideas and practical tools they can begin using
immediately to succeed in a changing world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Prologue: The Trees
  8. Part One: What is Adaptive Capacity?
    1. Chapter 1 Everything Starts With a Problem
      1. Carly Fiorina, HP, and the Difficulties of Adaptation
      2. Equilibrium, Disequilibrium, and Adaptive Capacity
      3. Technical Work, Adaptive Work, and Avoidance
      4. Tension and the Dynamics of Change
      5. The Effects of Responsiveness and Holding Environment on Adaptive Capacity
      6. The U.S. Marines and the Ability to Adapt
      7. The Effects of Authority on Adaptive Capacity
      8. The Challenge of Exercising Leadership
    2. Chapter 2 Organizations Face Problems Differently
      1. LATAM Airlines and Saab: Adaptive Success and Failure in a Rapidly Changing World
      2. Four Kinds of Organizations
      3. Where Does Your Organization Belong?
      4. What is Your Organization’s Reality?
      5. Evolving to be More Adaptive
      6. The Evolution of an Action-Driven Organization
      7. The Evolution of a Communal Organization
      8. The Evolution of a Bureaucratic Organization
      9. The Evolution of an Innovative Organization
    3. Chapter 3 The Problem as an Adaptive Challenge
      1. Telefonica and the Process of Adaptation
      2. Lessons from History: People are Essential
      3. Lessons from Evolution: Focus on the Adaptive Challenge
      4. Lessons from Experience: Design a Process
      5. Three Stages in the Change Process
      6. From the Technical Dimension to the Adaptive Dimension of Change
      7. Some Important Caveats
      8. Difficult Conversations: A Barometer of Adaptive Capacity
      9. How the Authority Faces Adaptive Challenges: A Second Barometer
  9. Part Two: How to Increase an Organization’s Adaptive Capacity
    1. Chapter 4 Purpose: The Organization’s Soul
      1. Grameen Bank, Avon, Apple: Three Very Different Organizations Driven by Purpose
      2. Five Key Variables: Difference, People with Purpose, Legacy, Connection, Narrative
      3. Purpose in Various Kinds of Organizations
      4. How Companies Avoid the Issue of Purpose, and the Power of Asking “Why?”
    2. Chapter 5 Strategy: The Organization’s Brain
      1. Honda and Amazon: Strategy as a Tool for Adaptation
      2. Five Key Variables: Awareness, Reflection, Involvement, Experimentation, Simplicity
      3. Strategy in Various Kinds of Organizations
      4. How Companies Avoid Strategic Thinking, and the Power of Asking “Why Not?”
    3. Chapter 6 Structure: The Organization’s Skeleton
      1. 3M, McDonald’s, and the U.S. Marines: Different Structures for Different Adaptive Challenges
      2. Five Key Variables: Decentralization, Flexibility, Steering/Stirring Committees, Intrapreneurship, External Networks
      3. Structure in Various Kinds of Organizations
      4. How Companies Avoid Rethinking Their Structure, and the Power of Asking “What Would You Do?”
    4. Chapter 7 Culture: The Organization’s Blood
      1. Google and LATAM Airlines: Two Kinds of Adaptive Cultures
      2. Five Key Variables: Independent Judgment, Shared Responsibility, Openness, Learning, Trust
      3. Culture in Various Kinds of Organizations
      4. How Companies Ignore the Importance of Culture, and the Power of Asking “What Is the Problem Really About?”
    5. Chapter 8 Talent: the Organization’s Heart
      1. GE, Netflix, and FC Barcelona: Three Great Developers of Adaptive Talent
      2. Five Key Variables: Identification, Ripening, Feedback, Challenge, Models
      3. Talent in Various Kinds of Organizations
      4. How Companies Avoid the Talent Challenge, and the Power of Asking “Why Do People Join Us? Why Do They Leave?”
  10. Epilogue: The Forest
  11. Acknowledgments
  12. About the Author
  13. Notes
  14. Index