Adaptibility and Improvisation:
Leading in Uncertain Times

A Workshop with Daena Giardella

Organizational Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach
Senior Lecturer MIT Sloan, Faculty Affiliate MIT Leadership Center

During this monumentally challenging moment, we are grappling with core questions:

How do we lead effectively in times of uncertainty?

What tools will enable us to cultivate resilience and adaptability in ourselves and our team members?

How do we navigate the terrain of simultaneous health, social, and economic upheavals, while maintaining strong morale among team members whose personal and family lives may be disrupted?

What skills help us strengthen our flexibility and focus when each day brings another unexpected development that changes yesterday’s plan?

How do we respond with empathy and clarity to the feelings and anxieties of others, when everyone is experiencing high stress? (and how do we practice self-care?)

How do leaders and staff communicate expectations about work priorities, while effectively finding ways to discuss the impact of personal life stresses on work goals and deliverables?
The ability to respond proactively in uncertain times is a core leadership and team capability. Our ability to improvise to solve unexpected problems strategically is paramount – whether it is managing the changes in our daily work routines, navigating project deadlines, integrating team members working in person with members who are working remotely, or finding ways to balance personal, family, and professional needs while we are working from home. This workshop offers concrete skills and frameworks from the Improvisational Leadership toolkit to help us address these questions and meet the moment with adaptability, confidence, resilience, emotional intelligence, and vision.

Improvisation is the art of the unexpected and the science of the unknown. The Improvisational Leadership framework offers us a much-needed leadership skillset to respond strategically with dexterity when we face stress, disruption, pressure, risk, and adversity. In an interactive format, participants will learn and discuss useful influence tools and approaches to help them lead skillfully in uncertain and unexpected circumstances.

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