Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleague and global futurist, Keith Coats.


In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptive leadership is crucial for navigating change and uncertainty. At the core of adaptive leadership lies the importance of continuous learning. This article explores why learning is an essential part of adaptive leadership and provides practical strategies to cultivate a learning mindset.

Understanding Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is a proactive approach to leadership that emphasizes responsiveness and the ability to drive change. Leaders who possess adaptive skills are better equipped to tackle complex challenges in a dynamic environment. They understand that learning is essential for problem diagnosis and finding innovative solutions.

Becoming a Life-Long Learner

Reading is a valuable source of learning for adaptive leaders. It expands thinking, challenges worldviews, and provides knowledge that can transform into personal wisdom. Here are some critical factors that come into play that leaders should think about:


  1. Cultivating a Reading Habit

Leaders need to make time for reading, despite busy schedules. As Peter Drucker aptly framed it, “Turbulence is not the problem, it is the use of yesterday’s logic in the turbulence that is the problem.” Smart, forward thinking leaders recognize the importance of new learning and intentionally develop a reading habit.

  • Create a reading list: Choose books that align with your interests, goals, and areas for growth. Seek recommendations from trusted sources or colleagues who have valuable insights.
  • Establish a reading routine: Dedicate specific time every day, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes, to immerse yourself in a book. Experiment with finding the best time that works for you.
  • Reading and expanding your knowledge doesn’t always have to be in the form of a book. There are others means of learning too.
Cultivating a Reading Habit

2. Consolidating Learning: The Power of an A4 Notebook

To maximize the benefits of your learning, you need a system to consolidate and activate your learning. An A4 notebook serves as a valuable tool for capturing and organizing insights from books. Here’s a simple approach I like to use:

  • Create a spider web-like or idea-mapping capture: After finishing a book, transfer your underlined passages, margin notes, and ideas into your notebook. Use symbols and notations that resonate with you and aid in recall.
  • Personalize your notes: Tailor your notebook to your needs. For example, if you’re a presenter, use specific symbols to highlight potential slides or key concepts that can be incorporated into your content.
  • Leverage physical writing: Psychologists suggest that physically writing notes helps with retention by creating neurological pathways in the brain. This is why utilizing an actual notebook and writing by hand is more effective than relying solely on digital highlights and storage.
Consolidating Learning: The Power of an A4 Notebook

3. Making Learning a Practice

To make learning an integral part of adaptive leadership, consider the following suggestions:

  • Find a system that works for you: Experiment with different approaches to consolidate and organize your learning. The goal is to transform knowledge into actionable insights for your leadership and daily life.
  • Set a reading goal: Establish a realistic target for the number of books, articles, journals, or research you aim to read within a specific timeframe. Consider the pace at which you read and include a variety of genres to broaden your perspectives.
  • Form a book club: Create a supportive community of like-minded individuals who can hold each other accountable for reading and learning. This can be particularly helpful for leaders who struggle with prioritizing reading.
Making Learning a Practice

Learning is a fundamental element of adaptive leadership, enabling leaders to navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world. By committing to a continuous learning mindset, setting reading goals, and potentially forming a book club for mutual growth, leaders can ensure they are equipped with the adaptive skills necessary to thrive in any industry or business environment.

Learning becomes the catalyst for unlocking adaptive thinking and behavior, enabling leaders to embrace change, inspire their teams, and achieve long-term success in an ever-evolving world. Embrace the power of learning, and you will unlock the full potential of adaptive leadership.

For more on Adaptive Leadershipget in touch with Keith.


About the author of today’s Tuesday Tip – Keith Coats

Keith Coats is a founding partner of TomorrowToday Global and leadership specialist. He is now based in Cape Town, South Africa having relocated from London towards the end of 2021. Keith works with blue chips companies and in multiple business school leadership programmes worldwide helping senior leaders prepare today for the challenges and threats of tomorrow…and sometimes, the ‘day after tomorrow’.

Recently Keith’s travel has included working throughout the UK, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, and of course, South Africa.


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