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?
𝐂𝐋𝐄𝐀𝐑 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓 (domain of the best practise characterized by stability and clear cause-and-effect relationship):
✰𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩: Sense►categorize►respond. Command and control works best, little communication is needed.
✰𝘛𝘪𝘱: Try to automatize activities to maximize efficiency.
𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐋𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓 (multiple right answers possible):
✰𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩: Sense►analyse►respond to come up with an effective response.
✰𝘛𝘪𝘱: Continuously improve your processes and systems and strengthen the competencies of the experts in the team.
𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐋𝐄𝐗 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓 (no right solution, everything is in a constant flux and changes are emerging, we understand why things happen only in retrospect):
✰𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩: Probe►sense►respond, “safe to fail” experiments to understand the environment better.
✰𝘛𝘪𝘱: Strengthen the 𝓲𝓑𝓼𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓮𝓷𝓪𝓫𝓵𝓮𝓻𝓼 (Identity, Artful Participation, Conflict Resolution, Communication, Organisational Alignment, Decision-Making, Execution, Learning)
𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐎𝐓𝐈𝐂 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓 (realm of the unknowables, the relationship between cause and effect cannot be determined):
✰𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩: Act►sense►respond. Do something and assess if the action is bringing you a step towards a more comfortable place.
✰𝘛𝘪𝘱: Be aware of power games and try to move your business out of that space by leveraging the 𝓲𝓑𝓼𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓮𝓷𝓪𝓫𝓵𝓮𝓻𝓼
𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐅𝐔𝐒𝐄𝐃 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐗𝐓 (“I don’t know” or “I don’t know that I don’t know” which context I am in):
✰𝘈𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘤𝘩: Here it is all about increasing consciousness.
✰𝘛𝘪𝘱: always remind yourself that your standard activities from yesterday may not be appropriate anymore in today’s context.
For information about the Cynefin framework developed by Dave Snowden please find here an insightful HBR article.