"This provocative post highlights current business paradoxes challenging leaders: change or remain stable, complexity versus simplicity, growth and sustainability and more."
After seeing evidence of our increasingly VUCA world, one that is growing in its Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous characteristics, this useful list of paradoxes resonates. Does it resonate to your experience?
Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.
Paradox 1: growth versus sustainability
Growth as it is currently defined tends to result in an unquestioned and unchecked consumption of resources. Sustainability considerations are generally considered to put a major strain on growth ambitions.
The way forward is innovation, but another paradox present itself:
Paradox 2: innovating versus operating
Innovation is increasingly about service, process, business model and social innovation.
However, focusing on innovation does not mean ignoring operations. The trick is that what allows operations to thrive can seriously get in the way of innovation and vice versa.
Paradox 3: change versus continuity
If you try to innovate too many things at once you will end up with chaos, if you do not change at all your organisation will decline. What is the right balance?
Paradox 4: collaboration versus competition
Business is inherently competitive yet today, collaboration is common, with most companies having collaborated with their suppliers and their customers. Leading companies are promoting collaboration through crowdsourcing or with competitors.
Paradox 5: complexity versus simplicity
Demands on leaders result in increasing levels of complexity, arising from the number of possible, unpredictable interactions between collaborate, compete; change, remain stable; innovation or operational excellence; growth or sustainability. Leaders must find ways to deal with this complexity and embrace and manage it to achieve simplicity.
Paradox 6: Heart versus mind
Decisions need to be made in the face of incomplete analysis, unpredictable outcomes and changing circumstances. The foundations for analysis and factual arguments differ from emotional and visionary engagement; people who excel at one are not necessarily particularly good at the other and yet both are needed.