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Managing Complex Adaptive Systems Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chaos Picher Allan Associates LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Complex Adaptive Systems Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chaos Picher Allan Associates LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Complex Adaptive Systems Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chaos Picher Allan Associates LLC

2 Self Organizing Groups Leadership Lessons in Three Minutes Picher Allan Associates LLC

3 SimpleComplicatedComplex Baking a CakeSending a Rocket to the Moon Raising a Child Complex Adaptive Systems Picher Allan Associates LLC

4 Command and Control vs. Decentralized Management Picher Allan Associates LLC

5 Management by: InstructionObjectivesValues Picher Allan Associates LLC

6 Why Manage Networks Most social problems are complex Networks and Partnerships are necessary Command and control doesnt work with networked people and projects It doesnt adapt well to changing circumstances and local initiative Decentralized management allows flexibility and creativity Picher Allan Associates LLC

7 Hybrid Form of Organization Hierarchical in some places, chaotic in others Always shifting, evolving Must be stable in spots with closely monitored deliverables Picher Allan Associates LLC

8 Leadership in Complex Organizations Picher Allan Associates LLC

9 Skills Needed to Manage this Kind of Structure Influence rather than control Ability to generate shared values Build relationships Comfort with a balance of stability and disorder High level of autonomy High level of responsibility Freedom to innovate from any part of the network Picher Allan Associates LLC

10 In the Non-profit sector we tend to believe that we measure what we value. But instead we often value only what we can measure.

11 Picher Allan Associates LLC Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. -- A sign on the wall of Albert Einsteins office

12 Intuition Rapid Adaptive Subtle Experiential Resourceful Inexpensive Sensitive Insightful Perceptive to semiconscious & unconscious Picher Allan Associates LLC

13 Intuition Uncertain Inexact Unprovable Unexplainable Unteachable (?) Conducive to generalization & stereotypes Self-validating Sometimes (often?) wrong Picher Allan Associates LLC

14 Intuition Works Best… To decide what to do when you dont know what to do When you have incomplete information When the consequences of being wrong are less than the consequences of not acting while waiting for complete information When rapid decisions are required Picher Allan Associates LLC

15 And… In highly complex situations In rapidly changing circumstances In confusing, ambiguous or vague situations When confronting uncertain risk In the absence of scientific proof When cheap, simple solutions are preferred Picher Allan Associates LLC

16 Networks Require Communications The Right Kinds in the Right Amounts Picher Allan Associates LLC

17 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems Picher Allan Associates LLC From Curt Lindberg, VHA, Inc.; Paul Plsek of Paul Plsek & Associates; and Brenda Zimmerman, York University.

18 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 1. Complexity lens View your system through the lens of complexity... rather than the metaphor of a machine or a military organization. Picher Allan Associates LLC

19 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 2. Good enough vision Build a good enough vision and provide minimum specifications... rather than trying to plan out every little detail. Picher Allan Associates LLC

20 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 3. Clockware/swarmware When life is far from certain, lead from the edge, with clockware and swarmware in tandem... that is, balance data and intuition, planning and acting, safety and risk, giving due honor to each. Picher Allan Associates LLC

21 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 4. Tune to the edge Fostering the "right" degree of: information flow, diversity and difference, connections inside and outside the organization, power differential, and anxiety... instead of controlling information, forcing agreement, dealing separately with contentious groups, working systematically down all the layers of the hierarchy in sequence, and seeking comfort. Picher Allan Associates LLC

22 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 5. Paradox Uncover and work paradox and tension... rather than shying away from them as if they were unnatural. Picher Allan Associates LLC

23 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 6. Multiple actions Go for multiple actions at the fringes, let direction arise... rather than believing that you must be "sure before you proceed with anything. Picher Allan Associates LLC

24 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 7. Shadow system Listen to the shadow system.. that is, realize that informal relationships, gossip, rumor, and hallway conversations, contribute significantly to agents' mental models and subsequent actions. Picher Allan Associates LLC

25 Principles for Managing Complex Adaptive Systems 8. Chunking Grow complex systems by chunking... that is, allow complex systems to emerge out of the links among simple systems that work well and are capable of operating independently. Picher Allan Associates LLC

26 So Whats It All About Traditional management methods dont seem to fit well in networks Self organizing teams Manage by values High level of communication required to share values and agree on work Picher Allan Associates LLC

27 Managing Complex Adaptive Systems Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chaos Picher Allan Associates LLC Chris Allan, Picher Allan Associates LLC Chet Tchozewski,


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