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Leading in a Complex World

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Thanks to globalization and the emergence and wide spread of new technologies, the world has become a very interconnected place during the past decades. This change has happened and is happening at an ever increasing speed. As a consequence, management and leadership have become increasingly challenging to deal with the resulting complexity. To succeed, traditional approaches to management and leadership are not enough. We need to continuously grow and adapt our leadership capabilities. In this Session you will learn how to cope with this challenge. I will share stories, insights and tools that will help you to increase your leadership bandwidth, making you better prepared for leading in a complex world. One key element is a decent understanding of Systems Thinking, Human System Dynamics and Complex Adaptive Systems theory. All these are very inspiring, yet as a leader I had difficulties to translate these into something actionable and useful in my daily life. And talking to many others (not only leaders) I found that many people share that challenge. So, in this talk you will learn about tools that enable you to deal with complexity from a leadership perspective. I will share stories about how these tools have helped me and my team. You will also learn how to embrace the mindset shift related to Agile and you will learn how to take better decisions using modern leadership approaches. This talk is based on my own experiences as a leader in an agile transformation (2000+ people) and the great inspirations I got from working and discussing with my group colleagues from the Supporting Agile Adoption program (one of the programs sponsored by the Agile Alliance).

Published in: Leadership & Management

Leading in a Complex World

  1. 1. Hendrik Esser @HendrikEsser VP Operations & Programs Program Director Supporting Agile Adoption Leading In a Complex World Agile 2015, Washington
  2. 2. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 2 Leadership? Management? We have tried so many things… Why do we not get the desired results? A better approach - Some theory & models - A tool - Examples Q&A
  3. 3. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 3 › Leadership is about connecting and aligning people with vision and purpose. › Management is about planning and taking action to get to the shared vision and achieve a purpose. › All of us do both. Leadership & Management
  4. 4. so many things…
  5. 5. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 5 › 1980s/90s: Scaling by specifying processes, roles, detailed work instructions, … › 90s/00s: improvement programs to fix issues (Q, TTM) – World Class Provisioning – 2x better quality – 10x better quality – 1/2 TTM – Re-organization › Looking over and over and over and over and over and over again into our processes and organizational structure We tried . . . . . . to be competitive
  6. 6. not get the desired results?
  7. 7. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 7 Are we able to learn? Real world Decision Results Decision guidelines Idea how the world works
  8. 8. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 8 The world is changing … … but it has always been changing! So: what is different today?
  9. 9. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 9 2010 2015 Mobile Data Traffic
  10. 10. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 10 Smartphones 2014 2017 2020 Asia Pacific ME & Africa
  11. 11. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 11 Amount of available information New challenge Speed of information flow ??? Technological advancements
  12. 12. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 12 SocietyTechnology With a growing impact of technology on society, the responsibility of people creating the new fantastic technology for the planet grows!  Corporate responsibility & sustainability  How will society and companies cope with these challenges? Mobile communication Mobile data Social networks Bandwidth Big data 3D Printers Internet of Things Info flood Trustworthiness Data security Privacy Safety Vulnerability
  13. 13. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 13
  14. 14. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 14 Strategy & vision X
  15. 15. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 15 >
  16. 16. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 16 Rapidly changing complex eco-system This can’t be controlled by a few people  Decentralized approach Raplex Picture from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nasa_blue_marble.jpg
  17. 17. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 17 Do you mean we need to decentralize leadership and management? Hmm… How do we then integrate these decentralized efforts? Yes? But Hendrik! Well, I think it already is!! And how do we align towards a company’s vision & purpose?
  18. 18. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 18 The people in a company form a complex adaptive human system
  19. 19. Work on the system
  20. 20. theory & models
  21. 21. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 21 Ludwig Wittgenstein
  22. 22. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 22 Cynefin Dave Snowden, HBR Article, Nov 2007 OBVIOUS COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX CHAOTIC sense-categorize-respond sense-analyze-respondprobe-sense-respond act-sense-respond DISORDER best practice good practiceemergent practice novel practice
  23. 23. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 23 emerge
  24. 24. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 24 Basic, self-similar building blocks of systems: Containers Differences Exchanges Human Systems Dynamics
  25. 25. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 25 CDE example
  26. 26. How can we practically make use of this?
  27. 27. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 27 Become system-aware Excel in learning fast Adapt your system to changing conditions
  28. 28. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 28 Learning cycle Look at the system Analyze: - Is your vision still valid? - What supports your vision - What doesn’t Take change actions Define a change experiment See what emerges
  29. 29. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 29 How can you act on your system?
  30. 30. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 30 All societies have shared rules/constraints. They are either set or they emerge.  In a company we usually set and manage constraints Leading via Constraints
  31. 31. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 31 Constraints? People Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Interdependencies asystemofconstraints
  32. 32. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 32 Human System Action Tool ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities desired state or problem statement
  33. 33. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 33 Human System Action Tool ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities desired state or problem statement Behavior Mindset/attitude Values Needs Competence Skills # people Hidden talent Processes Practices Tools Habits Organization Governance Compensation Roles (Informal) networks
  34. 34. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 34 Learning cycle Look at the system Analyze: - Is your vision still valid? - What supports your vision - What doesn’t Take change actions Define a change experiment See what emerges
  35. 35. Deal professionally with uncertainty
  36. 36. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 36 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty Communicate Make uncertainty visible Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Speak up when you see something unexpected React constructively on surprises Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Frequent meetings to digest updates/new insights Distributed planning on different levels Iterative development  feedback loop Communication structure Manage expectations  anticipate expec- tations & address them Translate uncertainty into realistic expectations (customers, internal stakeholders)
  37. 37. Iteration 1
  38. 38. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 38 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty Communicate Make uncertainty visible Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Speak up when you see something unexpected React constructively on surprises Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Frequent meetings to digest updates/new insights Distributed planning on different levels Iterative development  feedback loop Communication structure Manage expectations  anticipate expec- tations & address them Translate uncertainty into realistic expectations (customers, internal stakeholders)
  39. 39. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 39 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Decision model Portfolio Mgrs
  40. 40. Iteration 2
  41. 41. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 41 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Heavy debates in governance meetings Teams don’t support the ranges Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings
  42. 42. Iteration 3
  43. 43. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 43 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Some teams hate the tool Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings Make tool optional Less debate in governance meetings Add “give me ranges” to process without telling “how”
  44. 44. Iteration 4
  45. 45. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 45 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Debate: why can’t we commit earlier? Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings Make tool optional In governance meetings: range is used to discuss what we can tell to the customer Add “give me ranges” to process without telling “how” Provide customer oriented uncertainty view in governance meetings PdM understand development better Regular work/scenario meetings between Development and PdM Developers understand PdM better
  46. 46. Iteration 5
  47. 47. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 47 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings Make tool optional PdM and Development starting to “join forces” Add “give me ranges” to process without telling “how” Provide customer oriented uncertainty view in governance meetings PdM understand development better Regular work/scenario meetings between Development and PdM Developers understand PdM better Closely pair PO with PdMgr
  48. 48. Iteration 6
  49. 49. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 49 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings Make tool optional We don’t need commitment decisions any more Add “give me ranges” to process without telling “how” Provide customer oriented uncertainty view in governance meetings PdM understand development better Regular work/scenario meetings between Development and PdM Developers understand PdM better Closely pair PO with PdMgr Make commitment decisions optional
  50. 50. Iteration 7
  51. 51. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 51 ProcessesStructures Behavior Capabilities Deal professionally with uncertainty all plans with cost & time ranges Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Distributed planning on different levels Scrum Basic acceptance by PdM Recruit Portfolio Mgrs with “right” mindset & perceverance Explain purpose of ranges Tool support for ranges POs asked to support ranges Lift the abstraction level in governance meetings Make tool optional How could we manage expectations more professionally together with the cutomers? Add “give me ranges” to process without telling “how” Provide customer oriented uncertainty view in governance meetings PdM understand development better Regular work/scenario meetings between Development and PdM Developers understand PdM better Closely pair PO with PdMgr Expectation management?
  52. 52. To be continued …
  53. 53. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 53 You can’t stop emergence and self-organization You need to embrace and support it! Often we are torn apart between speed (tendency towards command & control) and emergence (waiting for our company to find our response) It is a balancing act we need to master. This is not an easy journey. Leadership challenge
  54. 54. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 55 › Change has always been there and society has always been struggling with it. › Due to technological advancements, the speed of information flow and the amount of information has surpassed human ability to consume, filter and make sense. › This calls for “parallel processing”: Centralized management and leadership can’t work in such an environment. › The people working in a company form a complex adaptive human system. › A company’s results emerge from that human system. › Leaders need to become system aware and learn how to influence the system. › The HSA-Tool is helping to start going that path.
  55. 55. Leading in a complex world | Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2015 | 2015-07-22 | Page 56 Q A

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