Leadership in a complex world
Today I have (re-)learned a lesson of complexity theory with respect to vision, the critical success factor of any effective leader according to my belief and experiences:
(1) „A vision without a system is as bad as a system without a vision.“
(2) „Simple rules can support a complex system. Build a „good enough“ vision.“
What does this imply for effective leadership? The 3 principles (build vision, nurture collaboration, promote learning) still hold true. With respect to the first element, building vision, an effective leader is skilled to build this „good enough“ vision. Note though that defining „simple“ rules can be much harder than setting up a complex system of rules and regulations. A good vision provides guidance, it is as strong as it is simple, i.e., simple to understand and simple to follow.
Thanks to Tom Johns, PhD, PE, PMP, MAPM, the founder and chairman of Business Management Consultants (www.bmc-online.com) for pointing out these valuable insights of complexity theory.
I am looking forward to attend his session „The Art of Project Management Complexity“ at the upcoming PMI Global Congress in Denver.
Thanks for the post. I think getting „simple“ rules right is very much like asking the right questions. We can multiply questions or rules ad nauseum but when we get the key questions in hand or identify the truly defining rules, a kind of magic happens. Some organizations/individuals seem comforted b a thick book of rules, even if the direction or vision isn’t right. I like the balance/tension that you’ve struck here – „as strong as it is simple.“
The PMI congress looks very intriguing – I’ll have to keep an eye out for it next year.
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