A newly arrived senior executive, Casey, had just 90 days to achieve top performance.  By accepting a job offer with a new employer, Casey experienced a lot of newness amidst a tumultuous business environment.  This was complex change and he knew he needed to adapt to change.  In response, Casey created his own performance path, with my assistance as his Executive Coach.

Because Casey is a structured person, he required a critical path for top performance.   That would focus on adapting to change.

He settled for a ‘highlighted’ path within the bigger context.  Being a picture person, he choose this photo to sum up what he was looking for.

David Peterson, [PhD], Global Head of Coaching for Google, says that ‘Failure to adapt when things change’ is THE NUMBER ONE reason when successful leaders fail’. 

Adapt to change, or fail.  That’s a big incentive for adapting.  Another benefit, is that by adapting to change, the brain gets better and better at it.  So we are future-proofing our brain and our whole self to stay relevant.

Casey’s strategy to adapt to change was to break things down into bite-sized chunks:

– He started connecting the dots.  He worked to become informed of the market.  It was experiencing shorter lead times and price undercutting by competitors.  He became adept at agilely responding to these challenges.

– We focused on his rigid response to uncertainty and ambiguity ie. typically a ’my way or the highway’ response.  Casey realised that the agile and moment-to-moment strategies he used as a competent golfer could help.  He applied them in the work situation.  For example, to keep moving forward, he became an ‘experimenter’.  He carried out ‘small-scale’ experiments, testing the market with his user advisory group.  Frequent review of his progress held him in good stead for launching his longer term plan.

– He made other changes in his life which gave him a fresh and interesting perspective on life.  For example, Casey mixed things up a bit in his work routine.  He also set about  ‘noticing new things’ (a simple tool to keep him fresh and agile), refer Ellen Langer, ( 

– Being a person who would normally ‘go it alone’, he now did the opposite.  He referred to his users’ group.  This is a great strategy originally suggested by Tom Peters (]).  This kept him connected to and real about his performance, growth and value.  The feedback he received from his users’ group gave him further confidence that he was on the right track.

–  Finally Casey reflected regularly on whether his intentions were matched by his actual impact.  Executives don’t do this very much in a routine kind of way.  Casey learned quickly that a consensual WE-based leadership style readily enrolled his staff (  Tactics like walking the floor, having regular stand-up briefings on what is happening in the market worked well.  Also, what worked was conducting regular staff-focussed one-on-one’s.

Casey DID make a very positive impact within 90 days, through his fresh approach to taking on the competition.  As a person he became a WE-leader.   And he continued to adapt and thrive through forging his own path.