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 … … Continue reading Why we suck at “solving wicked problems”

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 … Continue reading Is faster always better? The case for a certain slowness

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 … Continue reading Seven implications of complexity for organisations

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 … Continue reading 3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)

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.” ―  … Continue reading Storyscaping culture

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 centred on Responsible Leadership as we had an expert in the room (one friend runs the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership) and it’s a very relevant topic at … Continue reading The complexities of Responsible Leadership

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 … Continue reading A short chronicle of 2016

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 … Continue reading Reflections on consulting

Training courses with Dave Snowden in July


Dave will be popping over to SA for a brief visit in the first week of July.  Before we finalise our training calendar, I thought I’d test the waters to see where the most interest is. We only have 4 days available (2 in Cape Town on 4 & 5 July and 2 in Gauteng … Continue reading Training courses with Dave Snowden in July

An event with Prof Dave Snowden for Health Care Professionals: 19 August, Cape Town


Prof Dave Snowden was recently appointed as the chair of the Center for Applied Complexity at Bangor University. They focus on research and interventions using his ground-breaking complexity and narrative research methodologies as well as Sensemaker®, a software tool developed to assist with making sense of large volumes of narrative fragments. Dave will be hosting a … Continue reading An event with Prof Dave Snowden for Health Care Professionals: 19 August, Cape Town