Leadership in Complex Times


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This is a workshop that was presented at the 2011 FCSSAA conference in Edmonton on November 17, 2011

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  • The number of seniors will increase by nearly 120%The number of people, ages 0-24 will decrease 16%In Canada, visible minorities will grow as much as 113% (2001 to 2017). The rest of the population will grow at a rate between .7% and 6.7%In 2003, one in ten immigrants spoke English or French as their mother tongue, compared to almost one in three in 1980.
  • Leadership in Complex Times

    1. 1. LEADERSHIP IN COMPLEX TIMES Prepared for: FCSSAA “Leading the Way” conference Mark Holmgren Edmonton Alberta 780 299 0780 November 16-18 2011 www.markholmgren.com1
    2. 2. Tackling today’s global challenges will require radical thinking, creative solutions and collaborative action. -Tim Brown2
    3. 3. Order Structure Relationship PurposeUnpredictable Independence Interdependence Order Beauty Flexibility Variance Creation Destruction Renewal Adaptation 3
    4. 4. BIG CHANGE TRENDSBY 2031…• Last of the Boomers retire.• Age expectancy in the mid-80s.• Seniors increase by 120%.• Young people decrease by 16%.• Immigration drives population growth.• Employment Participation Declines (from 72% to 63%)• Worker-Retiree ratio 2:1 (5:1 in 1981)4
    5. 5. FUNDING PICTURE• Funding from governments and major funders is thin, flat, and at risk.• Government contracts generally do not cover all costs.• How funding is delivered will likely change.• Corporate giving is not an answer. Corporations primarily invest in large organizations.• Corporate Social Responsibility is creating more complexity• Social Enterprise will not save the day.5
    6. 6. PHILANTHROPY• On-Line Giving – it is growing rapidly• Micro Giving – changing the nature of charity. Anyone can be a philanthropist!• Text Giving – the new version of writing a cheque?• Leadership and Mega Gifts – how long will a minority of donors be able to support the community sector?6
    7. 7. PHILANTHROPYThe growing mindset:• Global Affinities, Local Action• Self-directed: the Demonstrable BANG “I” want to have• Activism or Charity?• Unbranded /unorganized philanthropy7
    8. 8. TECHNOLOGY/INTERNET• Social Networks• Crowdsourcing• Convergence & Dependence• Increased/Decreased Connectivity• Impatience8
    9. 9. COMPLEXITY & LEADERSHIP Based on the work of Brenda Zimmerman BAKING A CAKE Recipe is essential It is tested for replicability No great skill required. Standard results if recipe followed. SIMPLE Easily KNOWN9
    10. 10. COMPLEXITY & LEADERSHIP Based on the work of Brenda Zimmerman BUILDING A ROCKET Formulae are critical and necessary High level of expertise Can`t do it alone. Sending one up increases assurance of COMPLICATED the next. Rockets are similar in critical ways10 KNOWABLE
    11. 11. COMPLEXITY & LEADERSHIP Based on the work of Brenda Zimmerman RAISING A CHILD Formulae have limited applicability Raising one is no guarantee of the next. Expertise helps but relationships are key COMPLEX Can`t separate parts from the whole11 UNKNOWABLE
    12. 12. Credit: CTV Edmonton Time is too short and things are too bad for pessimism. - Dee Hock12
    13. 13. RESOURCING THECOMMUNITY SECTOR:THE ADAPTIVE DILEMMA Steadily Declining Revenues Steadily Increasing Costs Steadily Increasing Demand and Expectations ADAPTIVE DILEMMA13 - John Ott
    14. 14. WHAT WE NEED MUST HAVEWe must have leadership that acknowledgesthe complexity and chaos of the world in whichwe live.We must have leadership that is rooted in thesometimes grim reality of our day to day world,yet concurrently is able to fuel our highestaspirations and embolden us to great change.14 From the Tamarack Community Collaboration Institute Conference 2010
    15. 15. WHAT WE NEED MUST HAVEWe must have leadership that is authenticallyinclusive; recognizes multiple truths in theworld; and taps into our shared wisdom.We must have leadership that is adaptive andflexible and embraces risk-taking, change andfailure as opportunities for learning.15 From the Tamarack Community Collaboration Institute Conference 2010
    16. 16. TYPES OF CHANGEIncrementalMinor adjustments to modestly improve an existingapproachReformistMajor change to a current approach while maintaining theoverall way of thinking about the challengeTransformational (Big Change)Fundamental change to a system or approach based onnew ways of thinking about the challenge and addressing it.16
    17. 17. FOUR ELEMENTS OF CHANGE17 (John Ott)
    18. 18. REASONS FOR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE From the work of Dr. Homer-DixonCognitive: Cognitive inertia due to availability bias(assessing change and challenges based on recentor current experiences)Emotional: Motivated bias to defend ones identity. Itis hard to change when what you are facing is aredefinition of yourself and/or your role.Economic: Misleading price signals. Seeing nonprofits as a low cost provider will result in thedismantling of the sector 18
    19. 19. REASONS FOR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE From the work of Dr. Homer-DixonSocial: Vested interests pose barriers to makingchange that will alter what social position or benefitswe experience.Political: Short time horizons tend to define problemsin small and often unrealistic chunks. Governmentswork in annual cycles and within the context ofelections. Change that falls beyond the short termmay not be sell-able to the public. 19
    20. 20. THEORY OF CHANGE Changes in perception about community and our collective roles advance understanding and lead to changes in individual, collective, and cross- sectoral action that, over time, contribute to improving lives20 and social conditions.
    21. 21. CHANGE PROGRESSIONFrom To TowardExperts Own and Experts Facilitate Community includesDecide How Community Experts InteractsSimple Fixes Complicated Complex Solutions SystemsHelp By Numbers Help By Numbers Changed PeopleOf Activities Being Changed Improving Community ConditionsClients are Needs Clients with People with Assets andand Problems Needs and Aspirations ProblemsExclusion Inclusion Belonging21
    22. 22. CHANGE PROGRESSIONFrom To TowardSelective Forced Collaboration AuthenticCooperation RelationshipsNeed More Money Not Enough Money Rethinking ResourcesTweaking Reforming TransformationBest Practice Evidence Based Community Identified Innovation AspirationsNeed to Do More Stop all the Scaling up whatof the Same Duplication works.Logic Model SROI Learning our Way Together22
    23. 23. PERCEPTION SHIFTFamilies and communities are in thebest position to take primaryresponsibility for the health and well-being of their members. Thisresponsibility is shared with helpingprofessionals, governments, andfunders.23 - John Ott
    24. 24. PERCEPTION SHIFT This perception shift calls for helping professionals, governments, and funders to include in their mandates two key roles: (1)strengthening the ability of communities to promote the health and well-being of their members, promoting interdependence in order to break the cycle of dependence on services; and24
    25. 25. PERCEPTION SHIFT(2) providing bridge services to people whodo not have natural communities ofsupport, or whose needs are beyond thecapacity of their families or communities tomeet, while helping to establish orstrengthen their ties to natural communitiesof support.25 - John Ott
    26. 26. MUST-HAVE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES • Able to identify simple, complicated, and complex problems. • Able to suspend certainty and have a high tolerance for ambiguity. • Able to create conditions for experimentation and for creative failure. • Able to work with data and their stories. • Able to foster and champion collective wisdom and generative dialogue. • Able to ask and work with wicked or upside 26 down questions.
    27. 27. MUST-HAVE LEADERSHIP QUALITIES • Able to welcome all that arises. • Skilled at seeking diversity, paradoxes, and contradictions. • Able to focus on what works and why (appreciative inquiry) • Able to foster collaborative leadership within a hierarchical framework. • Able to inspire people to make personal change in order to effect community change. 27
    28. 28. THANK YOU TO THESE SOURCES • Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon • John Ott • Brenda Zimmerman • Stat Canada • Imagine Canada • Tamarack Institute28
    29. 29. Mark Holmgren has more than 25 years of experience working as a consultant or senior staff in the non profit sector. His consulting practice focuses on helping NPOs undertake strategic change. His work includes trends analysis, strategic design, facilitation services, socialMark Holmgren media strategy, and communications. He also teaches in Consulting the Non Profit Executive Leadership program at McEwan University and is assisting the university with curriculum review and redesign. Current or recent clients include: Bissell Centre, United Way, The Family Centre, Partners for Kids, Head Start, The Food Bank, The Support Network, Return to Rural, and the NPVS Table of ANVSI. Mark is the former executive director of Operation Friendship and worked for two United Ways as a vice president and as a COO for a software development company.29 www.markholmgren.com