The Era of Resilience: Are You An Adaptive Leader?

Today is Veteran’s Day, which is often overshadowed by the commercial departmental veteran’s special clearance/Big Deals/Early Bird Black Fridays Sales, or the extra day-off of work; but today, I reflected on my time when I was working for the Massachusetts Veterans Affairs (VA) Department, where I ran studies on evaluating HIV testing and Hepatitis C treatment programs for veterans. I am reminded of the resilience in our veterans and personnel who are currently serving the country domestically and abroad. In the face of constant changes in the landscape, players, and rules in the game, I am in awe in how people can work, live, and evolve during these adaptive challenges in all fields of life.

In the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Leadership program, we teach students on the topics of systems thinking, systematic reflection, and adaptive leadership to create collective impact for population health. Because it is an online program, I teach students from all over the world, while being in my office located in Chicago, Illinois. Our students are working in various settings, and they are often faced with challenging situations to make a change in their organizations.

Becoming an adaptive leader is the key to creating a culture of health and well-being.


Let’s take a look at one of the biggest epidemic: obesity. Unexpected interruptions to a daily routine to get fit, eat right can derail their mental landscape for getting healthy unless an individual can learn to expect change and adapt accordingly. Creating space and tools to understand the barriers and challenges to achieve overall wellness is one step toward bringing individual awareness for adaptation and global change. With awareness, individuals can learn to adapt to the change for better wellness, and then be empowered to lead their way to a personal self-care model. Through individual’s systematic reflection and understanding of the ‘whole systems,’ we can promote collective action, wherein individuals motivate each other in their shared pursuit of health, can help people live life with optimal wellness as personal leadership in the era of resilience.

For today, let’s give thanks to our veterans for being adaptive leaders in their way.

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