Adaptive Leadership Development

Program Overview

Polykala’s Adaptive Leadership Development is designed to challenge the notion of leadership, generate insight and offer tools to catalyse change. It is  delivered with an emphasis on experiential learning modes. You won’t be asked to sit through hours of theory and there won’t be a single powerpoint. Instead you’ll be on your feet, learning in real-time through creative and reflective activities, as you gain tools and awareness to tackle tough challenges, navigate complexity and  thrive in uncertainty.

Fundamental to the training is the view that a person’s leadership effectiveness is tied directly to their reflective skill. A sequence of structured exercises are presented to elicit predictable ‘automatic’ behaviours so that participants can observe themselves and explore alternative ways of responding that might enhance their leadership capacity.

We explore four key ideas/actions from the adaptive leadership framework and apply them to your context:

  1. Distinguishing leadership and authority
  2. Diagnosing technical and adaptive challenges/opportunities
  3. Unpacking the emotional and social qualities of systemic adaptation: ‘what do we keep, let go and, grow?’
  4. Learn and apply the peer-consultation method to gain practical insights on your adaptive leadership challenges. 

Key Components

  • 1. Learn the core Adaptive Leadership framework.
  • 2. Apply the framework to the change dynamics at play in your context.
  • 3. Distinguish between technical and adaptive challenges.
  • 3. Practise the Harvard case-consultation method to make progress on present challenges.

Topics Covered

Leadership & authority

Technical & adaptive challenges

Harvard peer consultation methodology

Cultural adaptation and loss aversion

"The Polykala Adaptive Leadership course is a must for anyone who wants to experience what it takes to engage in genuine leadership action."
Chris Porter - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Victorian Government


Course Information

Adaptive Leadership Development training

Book a session for your workplace or organisation
  • Workshop length: Full day to Multi day
  • 2 Harvard-trained facilitators
  • 10-25 participants
  • Participant evaluation

Case Studies

Australia Council for the Arts

Polykala designs, curates and delivers the Australia Council for the Arts Future Leaders Program for emerging arts workers in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific. The year-long online and residential fellowship focuses on leadership development, advocacy and building the professional networks of participants to better advocate for the value of the arts and artistic practice in Australia. The program has an emphasis on working with First Nations guests and facilitators to explore a different way of enacting leadership in Australia.

University of Newcastle

Polykala designs and delivers the leadership development and facilitation training components of the University of Newcastle’s Ma & Morley Scholarship program. This intensive session introduces participants to the work of ethical leadership trains participants in the art of facilitation for leadership development and personal insights. This training has been delivered to both staff from the university as well as the scholars of the Ma & Morley Scholarship program.

Australia Rural Leadership Foundation

Polykala has designed range of leadership development programs for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, from multi-year adaptive leadership development programs to short-form interventions into existing programs. In particular, Polykala delivered a program to the forestry industry to assist them to collaborate more effectively across organisations and regions. Our approach to ‘loss aversion’ and change management ensured that people were better equipped to have tough conversations in an industry facing tough challenges.

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