Alexander Grashow is a Senior Advisor to Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA), an international leadership and consulting practice. Before becoming a Senior Advisor, Alexander held the position of CEO of CLA.
He is a steward of large scale business adaptation, strategist, master facilitator, speaker, and author. Alexander’s career has centered on how companies and their people can adapt and thrive together. He works with Fortune 100 companies, social entrepreneurs and disruptive businesses, and multiparty collaborations. His work creating the future of business involves discerning which of the business norms and traditions to bring forward, leadership among competing groups and interests, creating culture and bringing renewed meaning to work.
He is co-author of The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (Harvard Business Press, 2009) and Leadership in a Permanent Crisis (HBR). Alexander also serves as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, and Chair and Co-Founder of the US Africa Children’s Fellowship.
With a mix of pragmatism, stories and spirit, Alexander helps build healthy generative companies and communities. Alexander’s passion for complex problem solving comes from his work across three sectors, study of economics and fine arts and many lessons learned from his ancestors and children.
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.