Simon Terry

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Purpose & Practice grow together

Purpose beats entropy. Adaptive leadership practice renews.

Most learning experiences fade. Some fade very quickly. In general only a small proportion of any experience is retained. Even less makes it into sustained practice.

Almost seven years ago, I had my first experience of a learning program that introduced me to adaptive leadership. That amazing experience, the Accelerate Program at NAB, involved work inside and outside the organisation on complex issues.  These issues required the practice of the skills of a different type of leadership than traditional transactional and expertise based command and control leadership. That leadership experience has been one that has grown every day since.

What makes the power of adaptive leadership lessons grow in practice?

Purpose & practice.

Entropy is the normal process of decay in systems.  Negentropy, or syntropy, is its opposite where things grow in strength over time. My experience is that purpose is a great way to beat entropy.  The Wikipedia for negentropy notes that even scientists see power in purpose:

Indeed, negentropy has been used by biologists as the basis for purpose or direction in life, namely cooperative or moral instincts.

My first experience of adaptive leadership in the Accelerate Program forced a great deal of personal reflection on purpose. That clarity drove new action in a range of different domains. Purpose is an incredible force for energy and drives the desire to see these new skills in practice. Naturally I began tentatively and with a great deal of discomfort.

In all the years since, I have learned that continued Adaptive leadership practice refines the clarity of personal purpose. I have become more aware of my effect on others and on the importance of collaborative solutions that engage many people in the system. Those interactions reinforce the growing energy. The purpose sustains you through the challenges of practice. A continuous iteration of purpose and practice, grows the effectiveness of your leadership.

The purpose is in the work. Adaptive leadership work especially.


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