“The Challenge Of Complex Change & The Right Leadership For Super Performance!”

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“The Challenge Of Complex Change & The Right Leadership For Super Performance!”

In recent Blogs we have looked at ‘Managing Complexity for Super Performance’ and Organisations as Complex Adaptive Systems.The Mudd Partnership | Challenge of Complex Change

We suggested that they are interactive, living systems being made up not only of Capital Goods & Technology, but also of People.

Of course, in the scheme of things this is a relatively new paradigm and historically we were conditioned to see Organisations somewhat differently. In fact, traditionally an Organisation and how it operated was defined and understood in purely mechanistic terms which in turn had a tremendous impact on how Organisations were led and how employees were regarded, deployed and generally treated.

If an Organisation is a machine, then for optimum efficiency its operations are made up of a range of activities repeated in a standardised way, by a workforce which is an integral part of the le machina.

It then makes sense for Leadership to be exercised by Command & Control, &, by extension all activity or work is conducted as a mindless and impersonal process, with both change and creativity being viewed as a threat to efficiency.

Complexity Theory and any new paradigm which enables us to look at the same things very differently has led to a new understanding of how Organisations and the People within them actually operate in reality.

An Organisation however is not simply a Complex System, it can also adapt to its environment by being self-organising and learning through constantly revising and rearranging its constituent parts in response to feedback (Social, Political, Economic, Legal, Technical etc) from its’ environment.

We now more readily regard and engage with Organisations on this level and as one of our recent Blogs argued, the demand for deep-reaching & sustainable change within Organisations is being driven by hard forces which are coming from all directions: Whether Private or Public Sector, big or small, Businesses face disruption to Competition & Shareholders demanding more; Organisations face increasing Regulation, new Legislation and new Government targets.

The corollary of this is that Change is a constant and the need to Change is becoming more frequent, radical & complex.

Organisations however are capable of intelligent, purposeful & collective action taken to influence their environment in desired directions. They can learn, adapt and grow, &, this growth can be described in terms of a Life Cycle going from Birth, through Infancy, Adolescence, Maturity and onward to eventual decline.

So, we have Complexity and we have the constant of Change – What then might be the right sort of leadership for such circumstances? The Mudd Partnership would suggest Adaptive Leadership.

Adaption, can be described as a dynamic process of mutual influence and we are all engaged inco-creation by virtue of the influences we exert upon each other; whether in the workplace, within our family and in our social lives: And Adaptive Leadership is by definition a very active form of leadership which impacts upon its environment and does so in very definite ways. It also has some very definite characteristics.

For example, an Adaptive Leader is:

– Proactive, foreseeing opportunities and putting in place the resources to make them a reality;

– A Thinker who acts to exert a Strategic Influence on their environment & ensure their organisation is competitively well positioned;

– Comfortable with challenge, encouraging diverse & divergent views to enrich the decision-making process, &, very able to admit when they are wrong and change course if necessary;

– Continually learning themselves, whilst encouraging innovation from their direct reports and the wider workforce; & also

– Focused on the Organisation’s capacity to learn and transform, change its culture and adapt its technology;

– Willing to experiment and take risks, whilst being completely attuned to their Stakeholders and markets; & finally

– Astute, open, flexible, responsive and serves their Organisation with Passion, True Purpose & Humility!

And those are three key things which regular readers of these Blogs & followers of our discussions on various LinkedIn Groups & Twitter will know that we absolutely believe are prerequisites for truly great leadership.

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