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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 8 | CHAPTER ONE • accepting that definitive answers don’t yet exist; and • learning from and nurturing the collective intelligence, creativity, and experimentation that emerges over time. Resolving tough, adaptive challenges requires flexibility. The need to be open-minded can apply even to how success may ultimately be defined. 18 Tough Challenge ECE faces what Adam Kahane would categorize as a tough challenge. 19 The characteristics of tough challenges contrast with problems that can rely on im- plementing answers based on known knowledge and solutions, regardless of how complicated or demanding to execute. The systemic qualities of tough challenges mean they aren’t effectively tackled piece by piece in a sequential fashion. That approach fractures a system into its parts, sidelining the crucial connections and interrelationships upon which a system’s cohesion is dependent. Further, their social complexity promotes varied perspectives, values, and interests, requiring those of us living with the challenge to come together and engage in the creative work of resolving it. And because the future being created is as yet undetermined, current “best practices” are rarely capable of offering answers. Instead, new next practices have to be created. 20 Finally, ECE’s tough challenge has a strong adaptive component, necessitating that as a field we confront new realities, identify gaps between our aspirations and present standing, and grapple with what may need to be discarded in order to evolve into a professional field of practice. 21 By definition, confronting ECE’s tough challenge will entail dealing with uncer- tainty, disquiet, conflict, and possible loss. Consequently, the change process we’re about to undertake involves both our hearts and our minds. As Marty Linsky and Ronald Heifetz noted in their foreword to Ready or Not: Leadership Choices in Early Care and Education, 22 inherent to successfully engaging with ECE’s tough challenge are • confronting questions many of us would like to avoid; • managing resistance, both active and passive, from those of us who have a stake in the status quo; and • feeling uncomfortable when being held accountable for our role in the challenge at hand as well as for its solutions. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL