In this post we revisit a classic article from the January/February edition of Management Today. Increasing business complexity and uncertainty requires an effective approach to solving important problems. By Geoffrey Coffey
In today’s organisations there is little doubt that high complexity and uncertainty abound. Increasingly, leaders are faced with a raft of complex problems that defy simple solution.
There are two broad approaches to dealing with high complexity. The first aims to reduce complexity to a manageable level. The second, when complexity cannot be reduced, is to deal with it directly.
Increasingly, the important and strategic problems facing organisations fit into the latter category. Here are five tips for working directly with high complexity and uncertainty to solve non-routine, important and complex problems.
Tip 1. Embrace the assumptions of complexity
Working effectively with high complexity requires embracing four assumptions. These are:
By Dr Malcolm Johnson FAIM
Increasingly, people at work are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of tasks they are being asked to complete or contribute to. A case in point is your email inbox of which every morning waits to consume your day. It is almost a common routine to settling into work; make a coffee and open Microsoft Outlook before tackling your own task agenda. Immediately your own plans are swamped by the needs of others as you respond to each email.
In the absence of a clear task agenda of your own, it is tempting to use email responses to create a busyness and sense of importance for your input or contribution to others. And time disappears. Email provides a default excuse for not taking control of your own agenda. Is this because email provides a more immediate deadline than your own tasks that are possible to adjust? By responding are you stress-relieving in the short-term but adding to the stress of time to your own agenda by deferring or delaying working on it?
Catch up on all the latest management, leadership and workplace articles gathered on AIM’s Twitter account last week. For daily updates follow us at http://twitter.com/aimcomau.
What is Your Level of Positivity? (via @michaelrhopkin) http://bit.ly/1vIE7Wc
6 Daily Practices of Effective Managers (via @RobertCordray) http://bit.ly/1wlInJh
Why You Should Play on Your Strengths–Not Focus on Your Weaknesses (via @lollydaskal) http://bit.ly/1w0SXY1
10 Executive Presence Rules (via @DorothyDalton) http://bit.ly/1s6NnAY
How to Lead Your Team Members – and Learn to Give and Get Criticism (via @tlnt_com) http://bit.ly/1ss5Yc3
The Hidden Blessings in a Slow Start (via @michaelhyatt) http://bit.ly/1sw4opK
How the Right Routines (For You) Help You Show Up at Your Best (via @sbleaders) http://bit.ly/1s8ZltT
The Comparison Trap: How to Enjoy (and Not Envy) the Success of Others (via @99u) http://bit.ly/1EO8xdF
Who’s in Your Corner? (via
Guest post by Matt Avery
Finding ways of making even the most mundane tasks fun is an important part of the process of maximizing your happiness. By developing creative ways of overcoming, or reframing the unavoidable but boring elements of your life so that you actually look forward to them, and even learn to love doing them, you can dramatically transform a large part of your life.
Trying to avoid life’s less glamorous and exciting but nonetheless fundamental aspects is a mug’s game, since it almost inevitably leads to prevarication and procrastination. In other words, the boring parts of your everyday life cannot be avoided, they can only be postponed.
It is far better; then, not to delay them (which doesn’t get them out of your hair anyway and simply leaves them hanging over you, a depressing thought whenever you are reminded of them), but to tackle them head-on, and to do so in such a way as to make them fun.
The most important factor in achieving this is that
Guest post by Dr Jason Fox
A big part of my work is in culture-design – deliberately crafting the structures, rituals and artefacts to trigger and support the behaviours we want to see more of.
Culture is fuzzy territory, and often lacks deliberate effort because of it. When we bring it back to behaviours (and the motivation design that influences them) – things get more real, more measurable, and more tangible… but it’s still fuzzy. And so a big part of the motivation design for culture involves talk of narrative and emotions. In fact, it’s critical.
Emotions at work
Darren Hill (a mate and fellow conspirator at Pragmatic Thinking) made a post about the role of narrative and emotions at work. You can read the BRW article here.
“A huge mistake all businesses make is that they market and storytell outside their business – but don’t work hard enough to market and storytell inside their business.” Darren writes.
Is there a job on your to-do list that pops up again and again, which you simply can’t bring yourself to complete? We all have them and unfortunately, there is usually no escaping them.
Whether it’s a report you should’ve written weeks ago, a difficult conversation you need to have with a colleague or simply a stack of emails that need actioning – these tasks may seem small and menial to outsiders, but to the beholder, they can appear impossible to complete.
In her book How to Manage Your Mammoth: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Getting Things Done, Wendy Jago offers her winning techniques for using small steps to accomplish your goals.
Here are just a few of the simple but effective strategies she discusses:
1. Explore the real underlying obstacle blocking you
What is really stopping you from completing the task at hand? While on the surface you may plead lack of time or resources, it may also be a mental block – perhaps you are afraid of not
Read up on all the latest management topics and trends from around the web. For daily updates follow us at http://twitter.com/aimcomau.
The Most Important Skill for Great Leaders? Trustworthiness (via @99u) http://bit.ly/1uQ2B0I
10 Tips for Your Next Networking Event (via @inc) http://bit.ly/1vFKNSA
7 Questions That Confront Paralysis (via @leadershipfreak) http://bit.ly/1BIglcz
Leadership Accountability – A Positive, Simple Approach (via @sbleaders) http://bit.ly/1xVkInl
What is Your Level of Positivity? (via @michaelrhopkin) http://bit.ly/1vIE7Wc
Putting Stuff Into Perspective (via @mjasmus) http://bit.ly/Zbpaiq
Building a Business Brand (via @readytomanage) http://bit.ly/ZbnQMF
How to Reframe Your Fear and Let it Work for You (via @michaelhyatt) http://bit.ly/1uwvH3V
Personal and Professional Turnarounds (via Orrin Woodward Leadership) http://bit.ly/1BMgThH
Judging Others Favorably – Stop, Think & Cons
Guest post by Kerry Anne Cassidy
Do you have people that you work with that you prefer to avoid because they cause you to feel emotions you prefer not to feel? Like anxiety, anger, guilt or shame?
No matter who you are, there will always be people who you find harder to approach and work with than others. And rather than avoiding them, we have to try and find ways to work with them that brings out the best in both of you.
But how can you do this when the situation seems hopeless?
1. You cannot change others
The first step is to understand and acknowledge that you cannot change others. You can change yourself and the way you respond to them but you cannot change them. So, they may remain short, abrupt and impatient but you can change the way that you respond to this behaviour to get a different outcome. You could do this using a reframe, empathy or even asking a question like: what is this person like when they are
Confidence is a valuable trait to have, especially in the workplace. It helps you leverage your strengths, show your expertise, perform well and lead strong teams.
But as Richard Nugent points out in his book Secrets of Confident People, we shouldn’t confuse confidence with arrogance. They are two very different things.
Arrogance is something separate to confidence – it is superficial and ego-driven, and often comes from a deep-rooted place of insecurity. Meanwhile, as Richard writes in the book, ‘true confidence is humble; it helps you to share the limelight with others and is at times vulnerable’. True confidence combines courage, poise, optimism, strength, determination, modesty and self-awareness.
In his book, Richard outlines 50 different techniques for achieving self-confidence. Here is a bite-sized look at four of those strategies for feeling, looking and acting more confident:
1. Be proud of your strengths
We unfortunately live in a culture where we are encoura
What would Monday be without a round-up of management articles? Get your reading done all in one place with articles gathered by AIM’s Twitter last week. For daily updates follow us at http://twitter.com/aimcomau.
How to Negotiate Your Way to Loving Your Job (Without Ever Mentioning Money) (via @fastcompany) http://bit.ly/ZfvwhR
What Went Wrong: 101 Failed Startups Tell All (via @inc) http://bit.ly/ZfviXT
Who Defines Success? You Do! (via @hrbartender) http://bit.ly/1vlLYaR
10 Tips on Getting the Most Out of Business Meetings (via @entmagazine) http://bit.ly/1Crl58V
Tomorrow Tonight: The Importance of Pre-Planning (via @workshifting) http://bit.ly/1rnD1fx
5 Ways to be More Coachable (via All Things Workplace) http://bit.ly/1taJ59w
The Four Rs of High-Stakes Decision Making (via @stratandbiz) http://bit.ly/1u5Pqap
7 Habits That Supercharge Your Productivity in Just 5 Minutes (via @TMNinja) http://bit.ly/YEKBIp
In Challenging Tim