Managing Complexity
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The Inescapable Paradox of Managing Creativity

The Inescapable Paradox of Managing Creativity | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
It takes a powerful leader to unleash and harness innovation.
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

What the authors describe as paradoxes are also known as polarities. The graphic above assumes that we need to think about them in a linear way - if we can find the right "spot" on the continuum between improvisation and structure, for example, we'll achieve success.


This is not the only option available to us.


First, we can choose one or the other - binary thinking. This is what Seth Godin refers to as edgecraft. Find the edges in your solution and you'll define something unique, special. It does mean that you sacrifice the upsides of the alternative. But if that choice fits with organizational and personal values, then it can work.


Alternatively, we can use techniques like polarity management to leverage the upsides of both sides of the polarity/paradox. This requires an active approach to monitoring conditions and adjusting. In this case, leaders identify the upsides and downsides of each pole, and develop a plan to "dynamically steer" the situation to keep both poles in balance.


Innovation and creativity are complex - making connections between problems and solutions is not a linear, straightforward activity. Manage and lead with this in mind.

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Cynefin complexity

Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity   Level  3,  IBM  Tower   60  City  Rd,  Southbank  VIC  3006   www.vucaconcepts.com.au ...
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

I generally like the lock and key analogy used to describe complexity.


However, the description used for a complex problem is overly simplified. Instead of "bunches of keys" I would say:


  • We have all these locks that need to be opened.
  • There are different kinds of locks - not all of them open with a key. Some are cryptographic, some are biometric, etc. We don't know which are which.
  • In a crowd of people, some people have keys, some people don't, some people have the correct biometrics to open some locks, some people have appropriate expertise to open some of the locks.
  • Some of the keys don't have locks.
  • Some of the people don't have locks, keys, or the skills to open the locks.
  • Some of the people who have the required expertise aren't here right now.


I do love the analogy generally, but will only use it with this adaptation.

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Overcoming Resistance to Change Using Organizational Network Analysis

Overcoming Resistance to Change Using Organizational Network Analysis | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Overcoming Resistance to Change Using Organizational Network Analysis
A good example of how organiz...
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

I am curious about the tools that can be used for organizational social network analysis.

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With Change Agents, One Size Does Not Fit All

With Change Agents, One Size Does Not Fit All | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
The kind of change you need should determine how you identify and train your leaders.
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Top 20+ change management mistakes to avoid

Top 20+ change management mistakes to avoid | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Many change efforts fail. They can be traced to these common mistakes: Top 20+ change management mistakes to avoid - Torben Rick
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Tapping the power of hidden influencers | McKinsey & Company

Tapping the power of hidden influencers | McKinsey & Company | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
A tool social scientists use to identify sex workers and drug users can help senior executives find the people most likely to catalyze—or sabotage—organizational-change efforts. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

Within networks, there are hidden influencers who exert outsize influence on others. Who are these individuals in your organization? How will you connect with them to influence organizational change?

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The strength of ‘weak signals’ !

The strength of ‘weak signals’ ! | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it

As information thunders through the digital economy, it’s easy to miss valuable “weak signals” often hidden amid the noise. Arising primarily from social media, they represent snippets—not streams—of information and can help companies to figure out what customers want and to spot looming industry and market disruptions before competitors do. Sometimes, companies notice them during data-analytics number-crunching exercises. Or employees who apply methods more akin to art than to science might spot them and then do some further number crunching to test anomalies they’re seeing or hypotheses the signals suggest. In any case, companies are just beginning to recognize and capture their value.Snippets of information, often hidden in social-media streams, offer companies a valuable new tool for staying ahead. A McKinsey Quarterly article.


Via Fouad Bendris
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

Attending to weak signals is one strategy for managing complexity. Social media affords us an unique opportunity to listen for changing sentiment and respond accordingly.

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Fouad Bendris's curator insight, March 5, 2014 1:10 PM

At most companies, weak signals will be unfamiliar territory for senior management, so an up-front investment in leadership time will be needed to clarify the strategic, organizational, and resource implications of new initiatives. The new roles will require people who are comfortable navigating diverse, less corporate sources of information ...

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Estimating Complexity

Estimating Complexity | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Over the last few years, teaching people the Cynefin framework early on in engagements has really helped me have useful conversations with my clients about when different processes are appropriate....
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

This blog post describes techniques for estimating complexity. The author suggests asking a few questions to determine this:


  1. Has this kind of work been done before?
  2. Have the people involved in this work done this before?
  3. Have the people involved worked together before?


By answering on a scale between 1 - Many times or 5 - Never for each of the questions, team members will gain a better sense of the complexity of the work.


At the end of the post (stick with it non-IT people...the references to application development pass), the author suggests some techniques to assist with determining the success of experiments.

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Michael Sahota: Tactics, Strategy, & Culture – A Model for Thinking about Organizational Change

Michael Sahota: Tactics, Strategy, & Culture – A Model for Thinking about Organizational Change | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it

The following diagram is a powerful mental frame to help understand change efforts within organizations. It makes the discernment between tactical, strategic and cultural levels. One way to use the diagram is to position each change item or activity on the line to show what aspect it is focussed on.

More importantly, I use the diagram to engage with clients to explore what they want to achieve, why they want to achieve it, and how invested they are in the outcome.

 

Some typical benefits are listed above the line. Most importantly, break-through results only come from culture –  not tactical or strategic approaches.

Tactics – “How do we work?” is about day to day practices and process elements. These are things that a team or organization can adopt.Strategy – “What do we want to achieve” is about aligning the company around key goals and initiatives.Culture – “Who do we want to be?” is about clarifying the organizations reason for existing as well as it’s values and vision.


Via Edouard Siekierski
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Reflecting on Enterprise 2.0 as an Organizational Culture Change Agent

Reflecting on Enterprise 2.0 as an Organizational Culture Change Agent | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
I know.I promised not to utilize the moniker 2.0 in 2014 but how else can I reflect back on the state of Enterprise 2.0 without actually using the term? I’ll simply lay blame to Andrew McAfee for
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

I love these quotes in the post. (Emphasis added.)


"What we have wrestled with for decades, however, is the notion that managers control employees. That is not the connection of people to people, it’s the ownership and manipulation of assets to ensure some form of action will complete. It is the parent-child syndrome cemented by a Frederick Taylor stopwatch."


“'[we need to] connect with each other and figure out how to re-imagine our broken corporations and set about trying to fix them.'”


Creating a great organizational culture is about you and me...and how we connect to create a great experience for each other and ourselves. Leadership is important, but outside of our sphere of direct influence. It's easier to change ourselves and connect to others with similar aims than it is to try to change anyone else - or wait for them to change.


I'm going this way. Want to join?

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Culture’s Role in Enabling Organizational Change

Culture’s Role in Enabling Organizational Change | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Culture is critically important to business success, according to 84 percent of the more than 2,200 global participants in the 2013 Culture and Change Management Survey. Findings also suggest strong correlations between the success of change programs and whether culture was leveraged in the change process—pointing to the need for a more culture-oriented approach to change. However, there is a clear disparity between the way companies view culture and the way they treat it. Less than half of participants saw their companies effectively managing culture, and more than half said a major cultural overhaul was needed. How can leaders take steps to enrich and more effectively leverage their culture?
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Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

Reorganizing the hierarchy into a different flavour of hierarchy is not sufficient to address the complexity and pace of change that we are facing. We need to check our assumptions about control, scarcity and flow of information. Why do we think the way that we do? How does this work? How does it hold us back? What might we do differently or better?

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Great is the power of steady misrepresentation - Cognitive Edge Network Blog

Great is the power of steady misrepresentation - Cognitive Edge Network Blog | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

In this post, Dave Snowden clarifies that the Cynefin framework is not a "crude categorization model" but should be thought of as dynamic.


For example, you may be working on a complex problem - like organizational transformation - but one of the tactics that can be used is to perform a safe-fail experiment that is "only" complicated. While the big challenge may always remain complex, you can cycle into the complicated domain as necessary.


Chaotic problems should only be transitory - we should not spend a lot of time here. However, it is useful to use expertise (a hallmark of complicated problems) to capture information about innovations that arise during chaos. These innovations can become the best - or obvious - way of doing things later.


For example, following the Calgary floods, following a radically different procurement process on school portables reduced the construction time from one year to a few months. How might we harvest this innovation to reduce the construction time on portables in the future? If we aren't mindful of these sorts of innovations arising from chaos, we will not fully harvest the benefits.

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The irrational side of change management | McKinsey & Company

Most change programs fail, but the odds of success can be greatly improved by taking into account these counterintuitive insights about how employees interpret their environment and choose to act. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

Despite the growth of Change Management as a discipline, there has been no discernible improvement in the success of change initiatives in organizations. This article provides 9 practical insights into leading change. Worth the read.

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Andy Powell's curator insight, March 26, 2014 3:14 PM

While they are not known for actually practicing this themselves- these are very good tips, well stated and new enough that they add to the understanding of successful change.    I have had direct experience to support Point 5 on influence leaders -   the “rank and file” , if they connect with the change,  are an extremely powerful change agent.  But creating the environment that enables this connection and empowers them to act is not easy.  Point 3 is advocating for Appreciative Inquiry without giving credit to it or Cooperrider - they even cite his 4D model.

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Why should you be strategically agile? And what does it mean?

Why should you be strategically agile? And what does it mean? | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
A post summarising recent thinking on the (often over-used) notion of ‘Strategy’ – how it is evolving from “planning for deterministic organisations” to “dealing with the uncertainty of complex sys...
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

FINALLY! A definition of agility that is actually understandable in the organizational context. If I hear the statement "we need to be more agile" one more time without any explanation of WHAT THAT MEANS one more time, I'll probably hurl.


I - for once - don't feel an ounce of nausea when reading this article.


Victory!

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Organize Like a Startup

Organize Like a Startup | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Legacy companies looking to increase agility and collaboration can take a few lessons from new firms.
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Infographic: Why Culture Matters and How It Makes Change Stick

Infographic: Why Culture Matters and How It Makes Change Stick | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
This graphic—based on findings from the 2013 Culture and Change Management Survey—highlights key findings, global perceptions of culture, top barriers to sustainable change, and presents a comprehensive picture of the survey demographic, which consisted of more than 2,200 participants around the world.
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Three Smooth Stones: Managing Polarities

Three Smooth Stones: Managing Polarities | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Nearly a decade ago, I started collaborating with Pat Keifert, a theology prof at Luther Seminary and president of Church Innovations, and a leading voice in the missional church conversation. Part...
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

A thoughtful piece about managing polarities - don't be put off by the church aspect here - this is definitely worth the read.

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The role of networks in organizational change | McKinsey & Company

The role of networks in organizational change | McKinsey & Company | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it

WhenCompanies shouldn’t focus so much on formal structures that they ignore the informal ones. A McKinsey Quarterly article.

Angie Tarasoff's insight:

When we consider organizational change, we often restrict ourselves to thinking about the organization as a whole, organizational units, and individuals. We neglect to consider the role of groups and informal networks. What informal networks and groups exist in your organization and how will you access them to create change?

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Andy Powell's curator insight, March 19, 2014 12:25 AM

When 97% of employees feel their company's culture needs to change/evolve - and this sort of number is not new - you might think we would have this culture change thing down by now.  Unfortunately most culture change initiatives fail.  Here is some insight on a reason that is not often cited - failing to engage the "brokers" - the super connectors.  Do you know who your brokers are?  Do you know how to recognize them?  They are not who you might think they are.

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Fragmentation

Fragmentation | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
The Primes are universal patterns of group behavior that you can use to solve any problem.
Angie Tarasoff's insight:

I balk at the idea of "universal patterns of group behavior", but find the models presented here to be intriguing.


The question I was left with was this: "is fragmentation always bad?"


If the entire organization is singularly focused on the wrong strategy, having everyone pull together could be disastrous.


Could intentional fragmentation be beneficial?

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Ralph Stacey - How Organizations Become what they Become

Angie Tarasoff's insight:

Do organizations emerge as a result of the plans and strategies developed by the dominant coalition, or do they emerge as a result of the interplay between people and their ideas?

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Actually, it’s not complicated

Actually, it’s not complicated | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Most IT, HR, KM, etc. projects seem to assume the situation is complicated.
Complicated – relationship between cause & effect requires analysis, investigation, and expertise.
We should Sense – Analyze – Respond & we can apply good practices.
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Infographic: Top 20+ organizational change mana...

Infographic: Top 20+ organizational change mana... | Managing Complexity | Scoop.it
Avoid these common pitfalls of organizational change - Infographic: Top 20+ organizational change management pitfalls - Torben Rick (Infographic: Top 20+ organizational change management pitfalls | @scoopit http://t.co/8IBKoBzSqs)...
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