AdaptableJan 17, 2023
What emerges from embracing uncertainty?
Companies are fixated on providing certainty. Exemplified by the primary expectation on leaders and managers to remove uncertainty. Why is this so, and where does this originate from?
In this episode I share some clues, and how you can make use of them to transform your approach and response to uncertainty.
Strategy eats Roadmaps for breakfast 😜
Roadmaps are frequently used to remove uncertainty. However, relying on traditional roadmaps in complex situations creates a fallacy. A big issue is that they don’t take the element of surprise into account.
One differentiator between being good at managing complexity and uncertainty, and being bad at it is strategy. Unfortunately people’s common perception of strategy is simplistic and misleading.
In this episode I elaborate on some misconceptions, strategy’s main purpose and how to practice strategy.
Making Sense of Complexity
Working in complex situations creates lots of ambiguity and room for interpretation. Because of this people tend to become puzzled, confused or stuck. When working with uncertainty you can still find options that are reasonable and useful in the specific context. In this episode I talk about some principles and practical tools that are helpful to make sense of and act in complexity.
Traits that distinguish "Great Leaders"
Complex situations makes it challenging to become a leader that’s appreciated. People and situations within an organisation set a diverse set of expectations on leadership. I’ve noticed that people who repeatedly provide appreciated and appropriate leadership share some common traits that distinguish them from other leaders.
Besides sharing these traits I also share the most basic and useful framing of what leadership entails, that I’ve come across.
Here's an illustration that summaries the traits I’ve noticed so far.
In-depth article on infoQ that covers this and previous episode in writing.
Some of the key people and work that has influenced my thinking and practice in the context of this episode:
Klara Palmberg’s doctoral thesis - Beyond Process Management
Esther Derby on contextual change - 7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change
Dave Snowden on context awareness and navigating complexity - Cynefin framework
David Epstein on generalists strengths during complexity - Range
John Kay & Mervyn King on decisions during uncertainty - Radical uncertainty
Aaron Dignan on complexity conscious - Brave New Work
Trivialisation of Complexity
When people struggle with collaboration they tend to share some typical statements that they hope will improve the situation. Unfortunately, due to ignorance, these statements trivialise complexity. Together with other traits they lead to several negative consequences.
My observations are that most organisations suffer from trivialisation. To avoid the negative effects of trivialisation it helps to increase awareness of situations that are complex and the traits that encourage and discourage trivialisation.
New episodes will be uploaded shortly
Announcement that the podcast is back from hiatus with several new episodes being uploaded regularly.
Mind your Language!
Season 2 trailer
Season 2 of Adaptable is just around the corner! 👏🏾 🥳 🙌🏼
Empowered Product Teams
All organisations, teams and leaders have the same goal; to build something that’s successful. In our experience none of them have found the path to success either strait or obvious. Far from all have reached the level of success they aimed for. We’ve found that having Empowered Product Teams have greatly increased the chances for an organisation to meet user needs and deliver business value.
In this episode we go through:
- What a product team is and isn’t, what they’re about and their purpose.
- When it’s most relevant to have them and how to make best use of them.
- Some of the condition to set them up for success.
Some of the resources we use in our work and in this episode:
Wardely Mapping introduction by Simon Wardley
Cenefin framework introduction dy Dave Snowden
Spotify DIBB framework explained by Henrik Kniberg
Marty Cagan writes about Empowered Product Teams and product related topics
John Cutler on different activities a team could invest in
Theresa Torres presentation on Product Discovery
As a leader in a complex business context one of your key interests should be to improve the performance of the people you lead. Recent research has found that becoming an inclusive leader directly impact peoples performance. It has also identified a number of traits connected with the capability of Inclusive Leadership. We go through each trait and look at how they can be applied in practise with a few concrete examples.
Our sources for the research and traits can be found in the following articles:
People Positive organisations
Without people no organisation would exist or function. How leaders in an organisation perceive and treat its people has a direct effect on what it can achieve. Anecdotally companies with a people positive view are finding that their employees are highly engaged and bringing their best effort. To large extent the concept of being People Positive is foundational to things we've talked about in previous episodes. In this episode we talk about what it means to be people positive by sharing several concrete examples.
We have a big announcement to share.
Organisations that optimise for teams
All organisations today have adopted the concept and practice of working in teams. That's the way you work, otherwise you're doing something wrong. At the same time not enough organisations create the conditions necessary to optimise for teams to become productive. Instead they unknowingly foster conditions that creates obstacles for teams. We elaborate on the most common fallacies and pitfall we've seen. We also share some tools that can be used to mitigate and shift towards more appropriate conditions.
Additional useful resources that you can learn more from:
Complexity Conscious organisations
How do you manage in complexity? What does it mean when a situation or context is complex? Why should you care?
Organisations and leaders that are Complexity Conscious has an increased ability to early identify paths that will lead to desired effects and those that will lead to dead ends or harm. We share some real-world examples that has helped to increase our and others consciousness around complexity.
The following sources have increased our language and toolbox within this field. We highly recommend taking a deeper look.
In this episode we look beyond agile practices and structures that's commonly talked about. We share experiences that has assisted organisations to adopt agile values and beliefs and why they've found them useful in highly uncertain, complex and ambiguous business situations.
Product Led organisations
In our first episode we will explore the concept of being a Product Led organisation. Being product led is key to both staying relevant as a company and staying ahead of competition.
In many cases organisations way of managing in uncertainty, complexity and change is not as effective as they would like. An increasing number of companies are realising that they need to change their way of working to find success and stay relevant in today's business. Their current way of doing things are in best case not supporting them enough to achieve their goals and in worst case counter-productive. Lots of companies also find it really challenging to adapt a way that effectively supports them in uncertainty, complexity and change. And this is where being product led creates value.
What this podcast is about and who the hosts are