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complicated vs complex

Complicated problems can be hard to solve, but they are addressable with rules and recipes.

The solutions to complicated problems don’t work as well with complex problems, however. Complex problems involve too many unknowns and too many interrelated factors to reduce to rules and processes.

“if you manage complex things as if they are merely complicated, you’re likely to be setting your company up for failure.”

the why

  • Leading people through complexity requires a different type of leader and a different type of approach:
  • Early in our career the challenges are simple. We can see the link between cause and effect and we implement a procedure to solve the problem.
  • As we develop the challenges become more complicated. The path is thorny and convoluted – issues are not clear cut..
  • In a senior role challenges move from the complicated to the complex. We are asked to lead people through complex challenges with multiple variables and often multiple outcomes.

the what

  • Experimental with the answer –Inertia or lack of information may limit a clear path towards the answer – so experiment to find one.
  • Conduct a safe to fail experiment with a clear hypothesis, methodology and feedback loops.
  • A Breakthrough – Breakthrough comes from digging deeper, rather than trying to solve the problem with limited information.
  • Gather information, build and explore hunches, revisit the issue, get perspectives from as many people as possible… the answer becomes obvious.

the how

  • Knowledge is different to mastery. Our approach is build mastery through simple daily practices.
  • The program takes place over a period of X-Y months with the focus on:
  • Regularly shift from doing to observing
  • Making the development social
  • Maintaining an open mindset

I got the message

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