Technical or Adaptive?

Identifying the type of challenge in front of you can determine which course of action to take next to solve it. Is the challenge technical vs. adaptive? Having a systems background I tend to default to viewing every challenge as a technical one. Where a quick, concrete solution can be implemented by an expert or authority. If only all challenges were like this. In reality, we experience challenges of varying degrees of complexity and scale. Adaptive challenges are difficult to identify, require change in numerous places, impact people and require new ways of doing things. These types of challenges take longer to solve, and require people, not experts to solve. I now look at adaptive challenges as a collection of technical challenges wrapped up in a larger people change challenge.

Technical ChallengeAdaptive Challenge
Easy to identifyDifficult to identify
Clear path to solutionRequires change in how people do things
Solved by expert or authority“People” solve the challenge
Change required in smaller areaChanged required in numerous places
People receptive to changePeople resistant to the challenge, and change
Solutions can often be implemented swiftlySolutions requite an iterative approach, and can take longer to implement
Send salesperson an email alert to remind them to follow up a lead.Design, build and roll-out an enablement program to improve sales effectiveness

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