The Adaptation Advantage

Book description

A guide for individuals and organizations navigating the complex and ambiguous Future of Work

Foreword by New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas L. Friedman

Technology is changing work as we know it. Cultural norms are undergoing tectonic shifts. A global pandemic proves that we are inextricably connected whether we choose to be or not. So much change, so quickly, is disorienting. It's undermining our sense of identity and challenging our ability to adapt. But where so many see these changes as threatening, Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley see the opportunity to open the flood gates of human potential—if we can change the way we think about work and leadership. They have dedicated the last 5 years to understanding how technical, business, and cultural shifts affecting the workplace have brought us to this crossroads, The result is a powerful and practical guide to the future of work for leaders and employees. The future can be better, but only if we let go of our attachment to our traditional (and disappearing) ideas about careers, and what a "good job" looks like.

Blending wisdom from interviews with hundreds of executives, The Adaptation Advantage explains the profound changes happening in the world of work and posits the solution: new ways to think about careers that detach our sense of pride and personal identity from our job title, and connect it to our sense of purpose. Activating purpose, the authors suggest, will inherently motivate learning, engagement, empowerment, and lead to new forms of pride and identity throughout the workforce. Only when we let go of our rigid career identities can we embrace and appreciate the joys of learning and adapting to new realities—and help our organizations do the same.

Of course, making this transition is hard. It requires leaders who can attract and motivate cognitively diverse teams fueled by a strong sense of purpose in an environment of psychological safety—despite fierce competition and external pressures.   Adapting to the future of work has always called for strong leadership. Now, as a pandemic disrupts so many aspects of work, adapting is a leadership imperative. The Adaptation Advantage is an essential guide to help leaders meet that challenge.

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Praise for The Adaptation Advantage
  3. Foreword: From Flat to Fast to Smart to Deep
  4. Introduction
    1. Breaking with Identity to Seize the Adaptation Advantage
    2. So What's Changing?
    3. How Did We Get Here?
    4. How Big Is the Challenge?
    5. The Adaptability Gap
    6. Amid Rapid Change, Keep Calm and Adapt On
    7. So What's in This Book?
    8. Who Is This Book For?
    9. Notes
  5. Part I Adapting at the Speed of Change
    1. 1 The World Is Fast: Technology Is Changing Everything and Planting Opportunity Everywhere
      1. Wait a Second
      2. Technological Climate Change
      3. Environmental Climate Change
      4. Climate Change of the Market
      5. The Force of Three Amplifying and Interlocking Climate Changes
      6. Notes
    2. 2 The Only Things Moving Faster Than Technology Are Cultural and Social Norms
      1. Shifting Ground Beneath Our Feet
      2. From Linear and Local to Exponential and Global
      3. Race
      4. Religion
      5. Age
      6. Family
      7. Gender Identity
      8. Truth and Trust
      9. Consent and Power Shifts
      10. Death of Distance Reshapes Human Relationships
      11. So, Who Are You? Occupational Identity and Expertise
      12. Notes
    3. 3 You're Already Adapting and Not Even Noticing
      1. We've Already Begun to Outsource Our Memory
      2. People Aren't Horses
      3. Atomization, Automation, and Augmentation
      4. Atomization in Action
      5. Automation in Action
      6. Augmentation in Action
      7. Putting Atomization, Automation, and Augmentation Together
      8. Notes
    4. 4 Getting Comfortable with Adaptation: The Slowest Rate of Change Is Happening Now
      1. The Power of Pause
      2. From Scalable Efficiency to Scalable Learning
      3. From Stocks to Flows of Knowledge
      4. From Learning to Work to Working to Learn Continuously
      5. Identifying Patterns to Build Bridges
      6. Notes
  6. Part II Letting Go and Learning Fast to Thrive
    1. 5 What Do You Do for a Living? The Question That Traps Us in the Past
      1. The Questions That Limit Our Identity
      2. The Identity Trap
      3. How Identity Is Formed
      4. Narratives Can Trap Us in the Past and Limit Our Future
      5. Gender, Narratives, and Identity
      6. The Confidence Gap
      7. Identity Is Never Done
      8. An Occupational Identity Crisis Isn't Limited to Job Loss
      9. Notes
    2. 6 Finding the Courage to Let Go of Occupational Identity
      1. What Does the Parable of the Three Stonecutters Have to Do with You?
      2. The Day 1 Mindset: You Are a Prototype; Start with Why
      3. How Job Loss Can Be a Gain
      4. Modeling Vulnerability: We Share Our Hard Lessons
      5. What Do You Do Now?
      6. Notes
    3. 7 Learning Fast: Why an Agile Learning Mindset Is Essential
      1. Learn Fast—What Does That Even Mean?
      2. What Do We Mean by Learning? First-, Second-, and Third-Generation Learning Organizations
      3. The S-Curve of Learning: Explore, Experiment, Execute, Expand
      4. The Curse of Expertise: The Challenge of Unlearning
      5. The Iceberg: The Substance Beneath the Surface
      6. Identity: The Core of the Adaptive Mind
      7. The Agile Learning Mindset
      8. The Enablers: Uniquely Human Skills
      9. Why We Need the Agile Mindset: The Broken Education-to-Work Pipeline
      10. ABL: Always Be Learning
      11. Notes
    4. 8 Rise of the Humans: Developing Your Creativity, Empathy, and Other Uniquely Human Capabilities
      1. Play Is the Way Forward
      2. The Uniqueness of the Human Drive to Learn and Create
      3. The Predictive Markets Declare Future Skills Favor Humans
      4. Understanding Uniquely Human Skills
      5. Chasing STEM at Our Peril
      6. The Skills Battleground: Humans Need Apply
      7. The Return on Being Human
      8. Return on Humans for All Jobs: The Special Power of Empathy
      9. Evolving Beyond Shareholder Value: The Purpose of a Company
      10. To Maximize Human Potential, Place the Human in the Center
      11. Notes
  7. Part III Leading People and Organizations in the Evolution of Work
    1. 9 Leading in Continuous Change: Modeling Vulnerability, Learning from Failure, and Providing the Psychological Safety that Builds Trusting Teams
      1. You Are at the Wheel
      2. Leadership, Power, Cookies, and Chickens
      3. What Makes a Modern Leader?
      4. Transformational Leadership
      5. Transformational Leadership and Change Management Models
      6. Leading with Fear: The Burning Platform
      7. Putting It All Together
      8. Notes
    2. 10 The Adaptive Organization: Creating the Capacity to Change at the Speed of Technology, Market, and Social Evolution
      1. What Should We Measure?
      2. The Power of the Culture and Capacity Focus
      3. Culture at the Core
      4. Capacity: Culture's Partner
      5. Capability and Context: The Scissors Metaphor
      6. In Accelerated Change, Focus on the Inputs Rather Than the Outputs
      7. Becoming a Learning Company
      8. Notes
    3. 11 Capability Is King: Looking Beyond the Resume to Design Your Adaptive Team
      1. No More Little Boxes
      2. The Job Description Is History
      3. Job Descriptions Become Traps
      4. Fire Your Job Description
      5. Hire for Cultural Alignment
      6. Hire Adults and Let Them Do Their Jobs
      7. Turn the Right People into Great Teams
      8. Embrace Cognitive Diversity
      9. Get Comfortable with Failure
      10. Live in a State of Continuous Learning
      11. Manage a Multigenerational Workforce
      12. How Do We Get from Here to There?
      13. The New Leadership Imperative
      14. Notes
    4. 12 Getting Ready to Seize Your Adaptation Advantage
      1. Note
  8. Additional Resources
    1. Books
    2. Videos
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. About the Authors
  11. Index
  12. End User License Agreement

Product information

  • Title: The Adaptation Advantage
  • Author(s): Heather E. McGowan, Chris Shipley, Thomas L. Friedman
  • Release date: April 2020
  • Publisher(s): Wiley
  • ISBN: 9781119653097