Decision-making in complexity: How to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

These are challenging times for leaders. So much has changed in the past months. The much quoted “VUCA world” that we had been talking about for a while from the comfort (and smugness:)) of our positions of relative safety and ease – it suddely sprang to life and showed us with a big roar what uncertainty and complexity really mean. This felt unsettling for most of us. There’s an awful lot to juggle for today’s leaders in creating a “new normal” now: There are strategic choices to be made, work environments to be shaped, capabilities to be built – all geared towards thriving in times of volatile change.

In a recent survey I posted on LinkedIn, the majority of leaders in my extended network stated that their single biggest challenge at the moment is decision-making in complexity. It’s an exciting and crucial topic so I thought why not dedicate some time and space to it here in my blog. I recorded an edutainment video for you (just under 9 minutes) and provide an infograph plus a set of slides aimed at giving you a first stab at the “why”, “how” and “what” behind the topic, including some very practical tips. Please note that both the video and the visual aids contain my personal conclusions on the topic based on my own experience, discussions with colleagues, and some reading. I don’t claim to be in possession of “the truth” and neither do I think that there is one single truth, so I really welcome hearing your own perspective. Where do you disagree with me and what would you like to add to the collection of insights and tips? Let me know!

The good news is that many of the ingredients you need for decision-making in complexity, such as creativity, playing and listening to your intuition are already available to you. They might be buried under a couple of layers of what you could call “growing up” or what we used to think of as “being professional” but there are very effective ways of re-rekindling these capabilities. Peeling back the layers. If you’d like to learn more about that, I encourage you to have a look at the ACB learning journey.

What’s your frame of reference? Acknowledging that your own perspective is limited and confounded and thus calling in others to gain a more comprehensive perspective on a given topic are already the first steps to enabling decision-making in complexity.

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