Who We Are


Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) is an international leadership development practice and the Home of Adaptive Leadership. CLA grew out of the work of Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky, who have spent more than 30 years examining and teaching the practice of leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Today, CLA comprises a team of experienced consultants working around the globe skilled in the practical application of Adaptive Leadership. CLA works with organizations, teams, communities and individuals to identify their most significant challenges, generate new solutions, and exercise the leadership required to bring them to scale.

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CLA Logo

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.

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