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.
Let’s let gratitude move to the center screen for a moment. We’ll come back to the series on complexity in the next post.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling especially grateful for the amazing people who have been mentors and teachers for me.
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.
Don’t make false choices (part 2)
In my last post , I talked about shifting from OR to AND with respect to two of the key paradoxes that are key to leading in complexity:
- Stability AND fluidity
I'm very excited to announce the recipient of our 2017 coaching scholarship, Mimi Marziani, Executive Director at the Texas Civil Rights Project. I'm very much looking forward to working with her!
In Q1, 2018, I'll open applications for the 2018 scholarship. If you want to be among the first to know, sign up for blog updates or my monthly newsletter. You can learn more about this year's scholarship program here.
Complex situations are full of places where we have to make tough choices. Expand the current market or enter a new one? Let an aging product die or re-energize it with new features. Some of these may truly need to be either/or choices. And there are lots of places where we need to move from OR to AND.
The story of the 5 blind men exploring an elephant reminds us that what we see depends entirely on our perspective. This suggest two things we want to consider when working with complexity.
Does this sound like your world?
· Changes are coming at you at an ever increasing pace.
· Your solid problem solving skills sometimes don’t seem to work so well.
· Just when you think you’ve go things figured out, the situation changes.
Often the very idea of giving or getting feedback puts our brains into defensive mode. Most of the feedback we get/give is some version of “You should do X instead of Y.” While it can be useful to get suggestions for improvement, there is another kind of feedback that we rarely get that’s even more helpful.
The world needs the best you’ve got. The most brilliant software algorithm, the most enchanting song, the most impactful social innovation, the most courageous leadership... We need your brilliance played full out.
So what’s holding you back?