Complexity is the new normal…
and yet, managers and leaders are required to use tools and methods designed for a predictable, linear ‘cause and effect’ environment.
A great metaphor for this – ‘It’s hard to survive in the jungle (complexity) when you’ve been raised in the zoo! (order)’
We are living in increasingly complex times. With the drive towards globalisation at scale, many systems (economic, political, etc) are becoming more deeply entangled. It is no longer appropriate to rely on traditional, ordered tools and methods to develop or sustain the outcomes and impacts required to embrace diversity and share risk taking while tackling complex challenges.
Complexity is a recognition that failure is inevitable and you can’t predict the future. And, what matters is early detection and excellence in recovery; the key to resilience.
Complex systems are fundamentally different and require tools and methods that are context specific. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to problems won’t work. Context is critical.
The Cynefin complexity framework and associated methods is a globally established and recognised approach for collaborative sensemaking, planning, decision making, innovation, strategy and monitoring impact.
Experience working in complexity tells me that
- Traditional thinking and approaches won’t provide the certainty you are look for
- Start small…it can have significant impact
- It’s about gaining enough agreement to take action…not consensus
- Rather than focusing on the future state…you need to work with the current context
- One big ‘silver bullet’ solution won’t work…it’s about multiple experiments that can be quickly amplified or shut down
- Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is possible…it’s all about context
- It’s vital to monitor for impact…not solely manage to outcome.
Working in complexity is a seismic shift. It’s much more than a pivot.