Cover of Adaptive Action by Glenda H. Eoyang and Royce J. Holladay
Adaptive Action
Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization
Glenda H. Eoyang and Royce J. Holladay


264 pages.
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Hardcover now $65.00 (50% off)
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Hardcover ISBN: 9780804781961
Paperback ISBN: 9780804787116
Ebook ISBN: 9780804785402

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Excerpts and More

Rooted in the study of chaos and complexity, Adaptive Action introduces a simple, common sense process that will guide you and your organization into reflective action.

This elegant method prompts readers to engage with three deceptively simple questions: What? So what? Now what? The first leads to careful observation. The second invites you to thoughtfully consider options and implications. The third ignites effective action. Together, these questions and the tools that support them produce a dynamic and creative dance with uncertainty. The road-tested steps of adaptive action can be used to devise solutions and improve performance across multiple challenges, and they have proven to be scalable from individuals to work groups, from organizations to communities.

In addition to laying out the adaptive action framework and clear protocols to support it, Glenda H. Eoyang and Royce J. Holladay introduce best practices from exemplary professionals who have used adaptive action to meet personal, professional, and political challenges in leadership, consulting, Alzheimer's treatment, evaluation, education reform, political advocacy, and cultural engagement—readying readers to employ this new toolkit to meet their own goals with a sense of ingenuity and flexibility.

About the authors

Glenda H. Eoyang is the founding Executive Director of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute and author of Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science.

Royce J. Holladay is the Director of the Network for the Human Systems Dynamics Institute.

"Adaptive Action offers new ways to think about the limitations in traditional planning: it enables you to name and explore the uncertainty in your systems; it promotes shorter cycles of action and feedback, enabling you to respond to unexpected events and take corrective action more quickly."

Leadership Excellence

"Adaptive Action does an excellent job of building on the theories and methods that underlie our current thinking about complexity. Eoyang and Holladay provide an introduction to practical tools that, before now, have not been gathered into one volume. They organize these resources in a way that takes the reader progressively deeper into the application of adaptive action and brings complexity into greater focus. This book demonstrates how a powerful, but simple framework can uncover deeper meanings and influence change."

—Maya Townsend, Founder and Principal Consultant, Partnering Resources

"Adaptive Action takes a giant leap forward. It moves us closer to understanding how complexity impacts us, our organizations, and society. Then, it reveals how we can be proactive in managing today and influencing tomorrow."

—David W. Jamieson, University of St. Thomas and Past President, American Society for Training & Development

"Staying a step ahead is very difficult, but Adaptive Action provides the tools and questions that every leader should ask at work and at home. Presenting a simple, flexible, and iterative approach that includes inquiry, discovery, shifts, and action, this book provides a blueprint for everyone looking to increase organizational capacity and creative thinking."

—Cindy Elkins, Vice President, IT Americas at Genentech