Project Management

Guiding Principles for an Adaptive Organization

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This is a bit of a different post for me.

My partner and I have crafted a set of Guiding Principles for an Adaptive Organization which I invite you to comment on in this thread.

The final version will be posted for download at under a Creative Commons license.

All contributions whose comments are used in some way (meaning either directly or caused us to think about something differently) will be recognized in the final release.

So what would you change, drop or add?

Here are the principles (we thought ten was a nice round number): 

  1. Act with intent through clearly defined and transparent strategic priorities that are reviewed and adjusted based on the evidence and through collaboration inside and outside of the organization

  1. Recognize that becoming and remaining an adaptive organization is not a project, it's hands-on, with live experiments and adjustments until it becomes the way of organizational life

  1. Have fully engaged and clear-the-path leadership

  1. Recognize shared values and principles are the necessary ingredients for people to create and sustain aligned personal and organizational purpose and adaptability

  2. Recognize true organizational sustainability and resilience can only be achieved by becoming adaptive in action and in thought – we do (act) so we can train the adaptive muscle in our brain

  3. Have a strong focus on clients/customers and engage them directly to establish overall strategic priorities, and to achieve specific initiative goals

  4. Hire and promote the creative and productive power of gender-balanced, intellectually, and culturally diverse teams at all levels

  5. Create and support a fail-forward safe environment

  6. Provide collaborative workspaces that can adjust to the needs of people and the organization over time

  7. Recognize that organizational policies exist to support the achievement of organizational and client/customer desired outcomes. When there is a conflict, the outcome wins

These principles support one another equally in achieving mastery as an adaptive organization


Posted on: January 25, 2018 06:26 PM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
"Love to fail, but reduce its footprint over time through adaptive learning techniques that celebrate failures rather than fear it."

The issue I see in org transformations is that they focus on turning positives into positives. There are some factors which can be viewed as negative (such as Change) that can be turned into a positive, such as failure. And I don't mean just accept failures, deal with failures, or simply welcome failures. I mean celebrate it, literally!

Anish Abraham Privacy Program Manager| University of Washington Auburn, Wa, USA
Thanks for sharing the principles, Lawrence.

Eduin Fernando Valdes Alvarado Project Manager| F y F Fabricamos Futuro Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia
Very good, thanks

Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Good Insights Lawrence.

Najam Mumtaz Retired Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Creating a safe environment in organization where employees can create innovative solutions to changing or evolving requirements.
Thank you Lawrence for sharing principles for adaptive organizations.

Lawrence Cooper Creator, Lean-Agile Strategy| AdaptiveOrg Inc. Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the comments so far....keep them coming!

Alexandra Cote Content Marketing| Paymo Romania
Great article!

William Meller Project Management Consultant| Polestar Gothenburg, Sweden
Thanks for sharing!

Ahmed Helmy Mahmoud Omar GIS Project Manager| Dar Al Riyadh Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Thank you for sharing

RAJESH K L Project Manager, PMP| Bharat Electronics, Bengaluru, India Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
To add on to above:
Competency Gap at all levels in Organisation need to be assessed periodically and detailed plan to be updated and tracked to sustain the technological competence of an Organisation.

Shane Drumm Digital Product Person| Journey One Perth, Australia
Great article

Peggy D. Johnson Agile Coach| Allianz O'Fallon, Mo, USA
An organizations leaders *must* set the example for the entire org. Without fully-engaged and supportive leaders transformations do not stick. The support must be active - word and deed - rather than passive.

Ramkrishna Kashyap Project manager LEED AP BD+C| Prime project international Dubai Thane., Maharashtra., United Arab Emirates

Enrique Aparicio PROJECT MANAGER| DATEC Ltda. La Paz, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
Nice Article

Liliya Sablukova, MBA, PMP Sarasota, Fl, USA
Thank you.

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