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Reflections 6th December

Seamless autumn leaves texture

What’s on my mind

Complexity, and the absence of neat rules.

In less than a year, Coronavirus has taken us from a complicated workplace to a complex one at warp speed, and it changes everything.

Before, we were driven by efficiency, and were able to use powerful tools like Lean Six Sigma to organise and design processes to reduce the complicated to the clear. Whilst things were still changing, they changed in a way (more slowly, and in a linear way) that still made these tools valuable. Climate change and Brexit still appeared on every respectable PESTLE analysis, though for most businesses still at the edge rather than the heart. Big business was diversified anyway, and for many SME it was something they assumed would be sorted in an acceptable fashion.

And here we are. Four weeks today whatever Brexit will be will be real. Vaccines will still be in the infancy of their roll out, and we cannot be sure of how effective they will be. Tiers will be variable and obeyed to varying degrees. In less than a year, the shape of our lives has changed, and we have to change with it. Not so much in what we do – though that will be needed, but in how we think.

Twenty one years ago, Dave Snowden, then of IBM put together a simple model to help people map their environments. It was beautifully, elegantly simple and I have used it frequently ever since.

Cynefin Framework, Dave Snowden;

In less than 12 months, we have moved from a world based on the right hand side of the framework to one where the left hand side is far more present. Where we used to analyse, find a “solution” and respond, today we are operating increasingly in the complex and borderline chaotic, including our personal lives. We are having to probe – to experiment, be prepared to fail, as we learn and move on. For many, it’s deeply uncomfortable.

However, it’s the the world we will be in for some time yet, and we can not only deal with it, but grow in it if we’re prepared to make the move to embrace it. For those that read my blog during the week, to move from the world of the Busker to the world of the Artisan. If we can do that, we can make uncertainty our companion, not our enemy.

What’s making me think

Cynefin. This book, written by practioners, celebrates 21 years of the framework and is an excellent update and account of how it has been used. I found it thought provoking, practical and would recommend it.

Authenticity. Not the normal approach, but a great article from the New York Times on confidence tricksters. I found it fun to read between the lines regarding complex businesses who exhibit similar characteristics, and the power that the simple authenticity of the artisan has.

Communities of Practice. I’ve learned during the past eight months just how powerful small learning groups can be in making sense of what is happening around us. This ten minute read puts some academic insight into what I’ve experienced, and am committed to developing.

Zumping. The pandemic has produced whole new modes of communication and remote action. Zumping is being dumped by Zoom. Great article in the Economist on other toxic gems.

A quote

Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.” Don Miguel Ruiz. The Four Agreements

Where I’m focusing

The idea of artists, artisans and buskers has resonated with a good number of people over the last few weeks, and I’m going to develop the thee further. As we go into 2021, the idea of the modern artisan seems like a worthwhile exploration.

Have a great week.

Filed under: Articles

About the Author

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Complexity and volatility create enormous opportunities for those willing to go beyond the boundaries of "business as usual" to explore the edges of their business. I am an entrepreneur, a coach, a creative thinker, and above all, an explorer of possibility.

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