Beyond Agility: Are YOU an Antifragile Change Leader? (March 2015)

Ask yourself:

  • Do you thrive in this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, or merely survive?
  • Do you have the change leadership, and not merely the change management, to “get to the next level”?
  • Do you want (need!) to foster greater employee creativity & engagement and market innovation & disruption in your team and organization?

These were questions the executives I spoke to last week at the APIC Conference were grappling with as they face tremendous changes in business models, customer expectations, and grinding competition in their industry.

In leading change, we assess change “readiness.”  We praise “resiliency” and strive for “robustness.”  Individual and organizational “agility” is a valued goal.


Yet, consider the wind, candle, and fire.  As Nassim Nicholas Taleb helped us see in his groundbreaking book Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder:


Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow…..
Let us call it antifragile.  Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.  The resilient resists shocks and stays the same.
The antifragile gets better.


While agility involves responding to change, antifragility involves gaining from disorder; and while agility emphasizes embracing change through inspecting and adapting, antifragility emphasizes embracing chaos through adapting and evolving.

Change Intelligence/CQ is the awareness of one’s change leader style, and the ability to adapt one’s style to be optimally effective across a variety of people and situations.  Building CQ equips us to be more agile change leaders and antifragile change leaders. We transform ourselves – as we transform the organizations we serve.  Antifragile change leaders go beyond “mere” adaptation, deeply integrating insights and new behaviors in order to evolve into even more impactful leaders.  To learn more, I invite you to listen to an interview by Si Alhir, Antifragility Practitioner, Consultant, and Coach (and CQ Certified Change Leader).

Adopting this new perspective – this new paradigm – of leadership enables us to embrace – not hide – from chaos and the many disruptions we encounter in the marketplace and within our organizations. Antifragility provides those we serve new tools to overcome resistance and benefit from disorder.  We can move from fear and suffering – beyond simply managing change and trying to control complexity – to taking charge and emerging stronger in the face of turbulence and disruption.

To get started, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Identify a person who “thrives from chaos” –
    what are their characteristics?
  • List out differences between “adapting to” and “evolving from” – how can this apply to you and your development as a leader?  How could this help you leapfrog from “agile” to “antifragile”?
  • Consider the very real phenomenon of “post-traumatic growth” – as opposed to what we typically hear about “post-traumatic stress.”  What major traumas have you experienced in your life?  How have they stressed you?  How have they accelerated your growth?
  • What could you change in your world (including your mindsets and your behaviors) to achieve greater antifragility?

Intrigued? Want to learn more about Antifragile Change Leadership?  Join me and Si Alhir for an interactive and informative webinar on April 24 at noon ET (register now – even if you can’t attend live, you will receive access to the recording!).