Blog - Category: Uncategorized

Facing the scary (but exciting) boundary between competence and incompetence

“This is not just an era of change; it is increasingly a change of era.” y General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Arm I tend to avoid using the term VUCA; it has become overused (particularly by consultants) and increasingly is ‘just another buzz word’. It is, however, interesting to reflect on why […]
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Why we suck at "solving wicked problems"

Problems: Wicked, complex, intractable, or adaptive  … whatever we choose to call them, we seem to suck at solving them and we often get profoundly overwhelmed and stuck.  I believe the reason for this is hidden in the language I used in the title and previous sentence  (… and no it's not the adjectives ... […]
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Is faster always better? The case for a certain slowness

In the so-called VUCA world where greater agility seems to have be the only response, this is an important question. Even though agility is about much more than speed, the first response I often get when I ask leaders why they’ve embarked on so-called Agile Transformation processes is “we need to be faster”. The maturity […]
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Seven implications of complexity for organisations

My last post was about Paul Cilliers's 7 characteristics of complex systems.  In this post I want to explore 7 of the implications of complexity that he thought was important for those working in and on organisations  (his original text is in italics). 1.Since the nature of a complex organization is determined by the interaction […]
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3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)

“We incline to see history through the lives of great men. That inclination blinds us to the real complexity …”  - John Kay,  Obliquity Ever since his election as South Africa's new president, my news feed has been filled with posts from people telling Cyril Ramaphosa what his priorities should be.  He faces a seemingly […]
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Storyscaping culture

“The temptation to lead as a chess master, controlling each move of the organization, must give way to an approach as a gardener, enabling rather than directing. A gardening approach to leadership is anything but passive. The leader acts as an “Eyes-On, Hands-Off” enabler who creates and maintains an ecosystem in which the organization operates.” ―  […]
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The complexities of Responsible Leadership

Earlier in the week, I had the privilege of spending the morning exploring ideas around complexity and leadership with two friends who understand both fields.  Our conversation mostly centered on Responsible Leadership as one of the participants runs the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership and it's a very relevant topic at the moment.  At Davos […]
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A short chronicle of 2016

I always admire those writers who have the discipline to publish consistently regardless of circumstance. I tend to write in spurts. I find that when I become really busy with projects and speaking engagements, my writing suffers. So in case you were wondering why I've been so quiet, I thought I'd write a short update […]
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Reflections on consulting

In a recent Acumen (GIBS Business School's magazine) there was a pretty scathing piece on consulting with the heading: Consultants or Insultants? The author's basic premise is that aside from a limited number of tech projects, no self-respecting executive can ever justify the use of expensive consultants and that more often than not they only […]
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