Hugh O’Doherty has consulted extensively with CLA, developing Adaptive Leadership capacity in a wide variety of private, corporate and public clients. A faculty member at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Hugh is involved in many executive programs related to leadership.
A native of Northern Ireland, Hugh has consulted to many international organizations, including the Northern Ireland Mediation Network and the Center for International Understanding. He has worked in Bosnia, Croatia, and Cyprus, and has addressed the United Nations Global Forum on Re-Inventing Government.
In the US, his work often focuses on community and public service challenges, such as assisting urban school superintendents to develop the leadership required to address the complex challenges inherent in meeting the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Education Act.
The CLA logo honors the challenge that exercising true leadership entails.
The large dot in the center represents an opportunity for change, what we call an adaptive challenge. It is surrounded by the individuals and coalitions, represented by the small purple dots, which have a stake in tackling—or avoiding—the problem you face.
Individuals representing divergent views, yet actively engaged in working on the challenge “in the room,” are depicted in the inner circle. These outside dots represent constituents and their specific loyalties, values, and losses that will be affected when a progress is taken toward an adaptive challenge. These outside forces, are what those are “inside the room” represent and are managing and whether aware of them or not, the invested constituents can derail a solution.
The leadership opportunity lies in recognizing these competing commitments and helping the various members work through their articulation and potential losses. This adaptive stakeholder analysis needs to involve those both inside and outside the room. Acknowledging what might be lost or may have to be given up to make progress is critical. Without this first step, the loyalties and values to those outside responsibilities can make the Adaptive Challenge intractable.
By understanding the key factions around an Adaptive Challenge, you are more likely to develop strategies for recruiting allies, working with the opposition, and preparing for the casualties of the process. The diagnostic work is to observe the system by seeing the multiple relationships to the issue.
CLA engagements are only delivered by master practitioners.