You cannot manage complex human dynamics with frameworks

Management 3.0 Module: Complexity Thinking

You cannot control a complex system, but you have many options for guiding it. This module is about how to deal with increased complexity in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world.

An organization is a complex adaptive system (CAS), because it consists of parts (people) that form a system (organization), which shows complex behavior while it keeps adapting to a changing environment.

There are no laws for dealing with change, uncertainty and complexity.

Management 3.0 Complexity Thinking Guidelines

  1. Address complexity with complexity: The brain is more complex than any other tool. To make sense of a complex thing, use storytelling, metaphors, visuals.
  2. Use a diversity of perspectives: Combining multiple incorrect views often results in a much better observation.
  3. Assume subjectivity and coevolution: When cause and effect are interdependent, resolve a situation by focusing on something else.
  4. Steal and tweak: We usually think of innovation as inventing new things, but we may be smarter to think of it as recombining old ones.
  5. Expect dependence on context: Be skeptical, because what worked in the past, or for others, is not guaranteed to work for you now.
  6. Anticipate, explore, adapt: Probe a situation by imagining improvements (anticipate), trying things out (explore), and responding to change (adapt).
  7. Shorten the feedback cycle: Systems with slower feedback cycles have higher extinction rates in changing environments. Iterate faster.
  8. Keep your options open: Prepare to be surprised.

Search for Workshops

Search

Martie Icon

Complexity Thinking is one of the foundation modules of the Management 3.0 Foundation Workshop. Together with Management and Leadership it is illustrated in Martie’s legs.