The Thrive Cycle: Unlock The Adaptive Organisation Within

The Thrive Cycle: Unlock The Adaptive Organisation Within

by Kate Christiansen


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WINNER! 2017 Axiom Business Book Awards - Bronze Medal

How adaptive is your organisation? What does an adaptive organisation look like from the inside? How do you build one? Where do you start?

This book provides these answers and many more. Think of it as the Complete Leader’s Guide to turning the organisation you have today, into one that holds an adaptive advantage over its rivals. The Thrive Cycle, and its original framework, will enable you and your organisation to discuss, define, develop and measure adaptive capability in a meaningful way. It crystallises the lessons of twenty years spent influencing, cajoling and coercing large, complex organisations to adapt, and shares the insights from a career spent in-between the organisational silos. The result is a new, reality-based approach to one of the world’s biggest challenges: CHANGE. If you’re a leader with the ambition, passion and strategic imperative to create The Adaptive Organisation, this book will show you how.


'This engaging and highly-readable book provides an innovative approach to one of the biggest challenges facing business today: managing relentless change. It offers a range of practical insights and tools which for me, makes it essential reading.' -- Keith Jackson Former CRO, Bupa Group

'The Thrive Cycle explores what it means to be an Adaptive Organisation in an ever-changing world. A highly relevant and timely contribution to the science and art of change leadership'. -- Richard Umbers CEO and Managing Director; Myer

'The Thrive Cycle is an actionable, easy to read guide to making positive change happen in complex organisations. Written by a seasoned change practitioner, this book is essential reading for C-suite and senior managers who are tasked with leading change and ensuring their business adapts to, and thrives in, an increasingly uncertain environment'. -- Tom Singer Former CFO , InterContinental Hotels Group

'Sometimes I read a business book and wonder how the author managed to pad out 250 pages with what is essentially one idea - but this book is different. The Thrive Cycle is chock full of sensible, practical tools borne out of real world experience and anchored in customer-centricity and employee engagement. Importantly, it shows how to achieve what is for many businesses 'the impossible dream' - being big and adaptive'. -- Chris Smedley CEO, Assure

'An invaluable read for leaders who want to make their organisations healthier and sustainable; indispensable reflection for those who think their organisation does not need to adapt...and a survival kit for those who consider themselves victims of change'. -- Domènec Crosas Director General, Sanitas Mayores

'The Thrive Cycle shows step by step, how to triumph when faced with the significant challenge of leading change in complex businesses. It is a must-read for executives and senior managers with responsibility for delivering sustainable results in constantly changing environments'. -- Di Fulton - Non-Executive Director, CoInvest

'So many "a-ha" moments in The Thrive Cycle for any leader who has experienced major organisational change. This practical and engaging book provides a comprehensive and flexible framework, supported by a range of useful, easy to apply tools. A must-read!' -- Gabrielle Prior - Former International Director of Operations Quality; AC Nielsen (now Nielsen Online)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780994475107
Publisher: The Adaptive Advantage PTY LTD
Publication date: 09/01/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

KATE CHRISTIANSEN is an author, business leader and passionate change-advocate. Kate has spent more than twenty years navigating the highs and lows of strategic change. She's worked extensively across Europe, South-East Asia and Australia and has held leadership roles in telecommunications, outsourcing, healthcare, financial services and the tertiary sector. In addition to operational leadership roles, Kate has led many mission-critical change initiatives including multi-country change programs; start-ups; entry-strategies for emerging economies; and has integrated multi-billion-dollar mergers. Kate is the originator of The Thrive Cycle - a framework that enables adaptive capability to be discussed, identified, developed, measured and improved within an organisation. Kate is also the co-founder of The Adaptive Advantage. Her organisation empowers senior executives and their teams by enabling them to identify The Thrive Cycle within their organisation, then evolve it to create a sustainable, adaptive advantage.

Table of Contents

1. The Adaptive Dilemma 1
The fundamentals of change 4
Alignment. Easy to say, hard to do 7
Why a new approach is needed 9
The Thrive Cycle in a nutshell 11
About this book 12


2 The Adaptive Organisation and why it matters 19
Agile, adaptive or adaptable? 19
A clear and useful definition 21
The positive case for change 22
Why it's now or never 24
Chapter conclusion 31

3 Your organisation's Adaptive Profile 33
Define your Core Organisation 34
Reflect upon the past 35
Complete the Adaptive Audit 37
Plot your Adaptive Profile 39
Chapter conclusion 40

4 The Thrive Cycle 43
The Thrive Cycle 44
How The Thrive Cycle works 46
How The Thrive Cycle unlocks your organisation 49
Chapter conclusion 58

5 Surfers. Swimmers. Splashers. Sinkers. 59
The Surfers - Selective, determined and energised by uncertainty 61
The Swimmers - Fast in calm water but slow in the surf 64
The Splashers - Go with what's hot and drop what's not 70
The Sinkers - Reckless, undisciplined and dangerous 75
Chapter conclusion 79


6 The first element: Enduring Commitment 87
Define Adaptive Boundaries 89
Inspire a passionate coalition 92
Stand on the same starting-line 92 Define adaptive advantage 94
Set your Target Adaptive Profile 107
Build commitment 110
Use a One-Page-Why 112
Chapter Conclusion 114

7 The second element: Adaptive Principles 117
Principle #1 Put customer-value first 118
Principle #2 Intimately understand where and how value is created 120
Principle #3 Believe adaptive advantage is worth the effort 120
Principle #4 Understand every change and treat it with respect 125
Principle #5 Ensure the net-effect of change is positive 128
Chapter conclusion 128

8 The third element: Anchors of Certainty 130
Anchor #1 Create a Compelling Sense of Purpose 131
Anchor #2 A Customer-Driven Business Definition 135
Anchor #3 Value-Creating Values 145
Embedding the Anchors of Certainty - an example 150
Chapter conclusion 152

9 The fourth element: The Vital Thread 153
What is The Vital Thread? 156
Orion Healthcare - A worked example 156
How The Vital Thread works 156
How The Vital Thread strengthens The Thrive Cycle 161
Chapter conclusion 189

10 The fifth element: Thrive Cycle Leadership 191
The illusive capability 193
Thrive Cycle Leadership 195
Three leadership capabilities 197
Chapter conclusion 223

11 The sixth element: A Balanced Ecosystem 223
Striking the right balance 223
Customer relevance 228
Organisational structure 232
Leadership capability 239
People capability 248
Prioritisation 254
Thrive Cycle Learning 263
Thrive Cycle Management 270
Chapter conclusion 274

PART 3 Unlocking Your Adaptive Organisation 277

12 The Answers 279
Q1: What are we trying to achieve? 280
Q2: Why should our organisation become more adaptive? 281
Q3: Why should we change now? 284
Q4: What does The Adaptive Organisation look like for us? 285
Q5: Where are we today? 287
Q6: What is the gap between today and our desired future? 288
Q7: What's causing the gap and where should we focus? 290
Q8: Where do we start? 302
Chapter conclusion 308

13 You're it! 312
Leap into the Driver's seat 312
Engage the non-believers 313
Be truly committed 315
Be resilient 315
Be brave 317
Confidently embrace the unknown 319
Chapter conclusion 321

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