Weber Consulting Group

Adaptive Learning Matters

On this page you’ll find a range of ideas about adaptive learning, conversational capacity, and organizational performance. What do we mean by adaptive learning? It’s the ability to work with others to diagnose complex problems, to identify the most elegant strategies for dealing with them, and to then successfully implement those strategies.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,” says Alvin Toffler, “but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” In today’s crazy world, where disruptive change is ever more commonplace, conversational capacity and adaptive learning – the ability to think smarter, faster, and together about tough problems – will increasingly separate the high performers from the rest of the pack.

Leaning into Difference – The Key to Solving Tough Problems

adaptive challenge

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress – Mahatma Gandhi

“Life is a series of problems,” observed M. Scott Peck. A more accurate statement was never made. But when it comes to solving them it’s important to realize that not all problems are created equal.

All our difficulties fall somewhere on a spectrum; at one end of this spectrum we find routine problems, and, at the other end, adaptive challenges. A routine problem isn’t considered routine because it happens regularly, but because we have a routine for dealing with it – a protocol, a process, or expert on which we can depend for a reliable fix. A routine problem may be irksome and expensive, but at least we’re in familiar territory and know what to do about it.

Continue Reading

Why Arguing Backfires

arguing

“Our Similarities bring us to a common ground;

Our Differences allow us to be fascinated by each other”

– Tom Robbins

Arguing: As Counterproductive As It Is Common

A sure sign that ego has triumphed over effectiveness, arguing creates a major drag on performance in our teams and organizations. Yet we see it all the time: people dismissing the views of others while zealously hawking their own opinions. These fruitless arguments, and all the bickering and bullshit they produce, are a clear signal that conversational capacity is in short supply.

Continue Reading

Interview with Mike Richardson

Mike Richardson

Mike Richardson is a thought leading expert on agility and the author of Wheel$spin: The Agile Executive’s Manifesto. He is a scientist and engineer turned manager, executive, and CEO. Mike is also an award winning Chair with Vistage International, chairing 3 groups with over 50 members (CEOs and Senior Executives) and is also a Vistage Resource Speaker to other Vistage groups, nationally and internationally. He also facilitates CEOs and their teams to be more agile as leaders and as a business.

Continue Reading

10 Behaviors That Weaken Your Team Communication Skills

    Conversational capacity refers to the ability – of an individual or a team – to have open, balanced, learning-focused dialogue about tough issues and in challenging circumstances. It’s a vital competence, but this capacity is hard to maintain. All too often we behave in habitual ways that diminish it, with unfortunate consequences for our success and productivity – both individually and as a team.

Continue Reading

Mindfulness Exercise Makes You Smarter and More Resilient

Mindfulness Exercise

In Conversational Capacity I explained why mindful awareness is such an important aspect of remaining purpose-driven and learning-focused under pressure:

“Since deliberately balancing candor and curiosity requires you communicate more mindfully, activities such as meditation, yoga, or meditative running that strengthen our awareness are powerful ways to increase your competence. My recommendation is this: If you don’t have a regular mindfulness practice, start one. If you do have one, keep it up. “Mindful Awareness Practices,” or MAPS, as they’re called (putting a new spin on the term “mental MAPS”), help sharpen your capacity for self-awareness. And since you can’t manage a reflex if you’re unaware of it, developing a part of your mind that is able to watch your behavior in the moment is essential.

Continue Reading

What Went Wrong At General Motors?

general motors

As the sad debacle at General Motors continues to unfold I find myself asking questions about the company’s culture. How did a problem like this continue for so long? How many people spoke up when they first learned about the problem with the ignition switch? If none did, how many people spoke up when it became clear the problem was a serious threat to public safety? Did someone at least finally raise their voice when it became clear that people were dying because of the problem? And, if people did speak up, did they do so productively, in a way that sparked more learning than defensiveness?

Continue Reading

Systems Thinking & Adaptive Learning: An Interview With Chris Soderquist

Chris Soderquist

A systems approach begins when first you see the world through the eyes of another – C. West Churchman

Chris Soderquist is the Carl Sagan of systems thinking. Sagan’s genius lay not just in his keen scientific mind, but also in his ability to convey the power, fun, and usefulness of science to people who might not otherwise get it – and to do so in a contagiously engaging and enthusiastic way.

Continue Reading