As leaders, we often identify our role in terms of the results we are responsible for. And yet there is a second aspect of your role in complex situations that is just as important to focus on – creating the conditions that foster the emergence of your desired outcomes. Yeah, that’s a lot harder to get your arms around than the results. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
Complexity is messy. When we encounter a messy problem, most of us tend to pay attention first to “the problem” as something separate from us. For example, if the quality of public education in my town has declined, I look at things like school financing, teacher preparation, curriculum, etc. I implicitly define the problem as “out there.” While those things surely deserve attention, I’ll be more effective in making changes if I also consider myself as part of the system and thus something that might be changed to shift the system.