Too many heroes – business is in trouble!

24. June 2021

Your leaders behave like heroes? Your business may be in trouble!

The Cynefin framework distinguishes five contexts which are defined by the nature of the cause-and-effect relationship between business challenges and appropriate solutions.

From my perspective each context requires a different leadership style. Typical organisations seem to have too many HEROES, and too few GARDENERS and GUARDIANS. Would you agree?

๐‚๐‹๐„๐€๐‘ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐„๐—๐“ (domain of the best practise characterized by stability and clear cause-and-effect relationship):
โœฐ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ: Senseโ–บcategorizeโ–บrespond. Command and control works best, little communication is needed.
โœฐ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ-๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ: ๐‘๐Ž๐๐Ž๐“
โœฐ๐˜›๐˜ช๐˜ฑ: Try to automatize activities to maximize efficiency.

๐‚๐Ž๐Œ๐๐‹๐ˆ๐‚๐€๐“๐„๐ƒ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐„๐—๐“ (multiple right answers possible):
โœฐ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ: Senseโ–บanalyseโ–บrespond to come up with an effective response.
โœฐ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ-๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ: ๐„๐—๐๐„๐‘๐“
โœฐ๐˜›๐˜ช๐˜ฑ: Continuously improve your processes and systems and strengthen the competencies of the experts in the team.

๐‚๐Ž๐Œ๐๐‹๐„๐— ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐„๐—๐“ (no right solution, everything is in a constant flux and changes are emerging, we understand why things happen only in retrospect):
โœฐ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ: Probeโ–บsenseโ–บrespond, โ€œsafe to failโ€ experiments to understand the environment better.
โœฐ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ-๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ: ๐†๐€๐‘๐ƒ๐„๐๐„๐‘
โœฐ๐˜›๐˜ช๐˜ฑ: Strengthen the ๐“ฒ๐“‘๐“ผ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ ๐“ฎ๐“ท๐“ช๐“ซ๐“ต๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ผ (Identity, Artful Participation, Conflict Resolution, Communication, Organisational Alignment, Decision-Making, Execution, Learning)

๐‚๐‡๐€๐Ž๐“๐ˆ๐‚ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐„๐—๐“ (realm of the unknowables, the relationship between cause and effect cannot be determined):
โœฐ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ: Actโ–บsenseโ–บrespond. Do something and assess if the action is bringing you a step towards a more comfortable place.
โœฐ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ-๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ: ๐‡๐„๐‘๐Ž
โœฐ๐˜›๐˜ช๐˜ฑ: Be aware of power games and try to move your business out of that space by leveraging the ๐“ฒ๐“‘๐“ผ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ ๐“ฎ๐“ท๐“ช๐“ซ๐“ต๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ผ

๐‚๐Ž๐๐…๐”๐’๐„๐ƒ ๐‚๐Ž๐๐“๐„๐—๐“ (โ€œI donโ€™t knowโ€ or โ€œI donโ€™t know that I donโ€™t knowโ€ which context I am in):
โœฐ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ: Here it is all about increasing consciousness.
โœฐ๐˜“๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ-๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ: ๐†๐”๐€๐‘๐ƒ๐ˆ๐€๐
โœฐ๐˜›๐˜ช๐˜ฑ: always remind yourself that your standard activities from yesterday may not be appropriate anymore in todayโ€™s context.

For information about the Cynefin framework developed byย Dave Snowdenย please find here an insightful HBR article.


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