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COMPLEXITY,
CHANGE ANDYOU
(Or what will become known forever as “the LEGO workshop.”)
LaurieWidmark
Senior Manager, Organizational Renewal
Human Services
laurie.widmark@gov.ab.ca
AngieTarasoff
Senior Manager,Technology Planning and Management
Alberta Education, SchoolTechnology
angie.tarasoff@gov.ab.ca
@angietarasoff
http://ca.linkedin.com/in/angietarasoff/
www.newernormal.ca
http://www.scoop.it/t/managing-complexity
HANDS-ON
Complexity and the Cynefin Framework
What is about to happen?
•Four exercises
•After each exercise, we’ll unpack what
you and your team experienced
Activity 1
•Sort the pieces by colour
•Decide among yourselves what pieces will
be treated as special
•Put “special” pieces into one pile
SIMPLE
Best practice
Cause = Effect
Known
Feudal Leadership
Sense-Categorize-Respond
Activity 2
•Build a tower that is at least 20 bricks tall
•The tower must have a regular colour
pattern
•Upper layers may not be wider than lower
layers
SIMPLE
Best practice
Cause = Effect
Known
Feudal Leadership
Sense-Categorize-Respond
COMPLICATED
Good practice
Cause -> Effect
Knowable
Expert Leadership
Sense-Analyze-Respond
Activity 3
•Build an animal or a vehicle
•It must have a regular colour pattern
•Each colour of brick may be handled by
only one person
•You have 30 seconds to plan, after that no
talking or whispering
•Your group will be moved with your
structure to another table every minute
SIMPLE
Best practice
Cause = Effect
Known
Feudal Leadership
Sense-Categorize-Respond
COMPLICATED
Good practice
Cause -> Effect
Knowable
Expert Leadership
Sense-Analyze-Respond
COMPLEX
Emergent practice
[CE]
Retrospectively knowable
Networked Leadership
Probe-Sense-Respond
Activity 4
•Build a building or a plant
•Rules from before apply
•Your group will be moved with your
structure to another table every minute
•At random times we will move randomly
selected people from one group to
another
•No planning time & no talking
SIMPLE
Best practice
Cause = Effect
Known
Feudal Leadership
Sense-Categorize-Respond
COMPLICATED
Good practice
Cause -> Effect
Knowable
Expert Leadership
Sense-Analyze-Respond
COMPLEX
Emergent practice
[CE]
Retrospectively knowable
Networked Leadership
Probe-Sense-Respond
CHAOS
Novel practice
C≠E
Unknowable
Charismatic Leadership
Act-Sense-Respond
SIMPLE
Best practice
Cause = Effect
Known
Feudal Leadership
Sense-Categorize-Respond
COMPLICATED
Good practice
Cause -> Effect
Knowable
Expert Leadership
Sense-Analyze-Respond
COMPLEX
Emergent practice
[CE]
Retrospectively knowable
Networked Leadership
Probe-Sense-Respond
CHAOS
Novel practice
C≠E
Unknowable
Charismatic Leadership
Act-Sense-Respond
DISORDER
Cynefin (Kuh-ne-vin) Framework
•Sensemaking model
•Designed to help leaders understand their
context in order to respond appropriately
•Organizations are complex
•Dynamic
•Non-linear
•Emergent characteristics
•Variable
•Small changes can have significant impact
Resources
Video:The Cynefin Framework http://bit.ly/complexity1
Video: Longitude (EntrainedThinking) http://bit.ly/complexity2
Video:Apollo 13 (Creativity/Innovation) http://bit.ly/complexity03
Video: How to Organise a Children’s Party http://bit.ly/complexity4
Cynefin Framework
Snowden, D.J. Boone, M. 2007. "A Leader's Framework for Decision
Making". Harvard Business Review, November 2007, pp. 69–76.
Workshop exercises adapted from:
Agile 42. "Cynefin Framework Lego Game." Agile 42. N.p., 25 Dec. 2011.
Web. 17 Nov. 2013
SENSEMAKING
Cynefin and you
Considering your experiences,
preferences and education, in which
Cynefin domain:
•Do you feel the most comfortable? Why?
•Do you feel the least comfortable? Why?
•Does your “usual” work fit?
Cynefin and you
What strategies can you employ to
succeed in problem domains that are
outside your comfort zone?
Cynefin and your work
Cynefin and your work
Considering this, what are some
strategies that you can use to manage
these challenges effectively?
The Organization inTheory
The Organization in Reality
Actually
listens to
Wants his
job
Rivals
Dislikes
Golf
Buddies
Grudge
Religious
Affiliation
Office Romance
Married
Admires
Dislikes
HANDS ON
Polarity Management
Polarities to manage are sets of
opposites that can’t function well
independently. Because the two
sides of a polarity are interdependent,
you cannot chose one as a
“solution” and neglect the other.
The objective of the Polarity
Management perspective is to get the
best of both opposites while avoiding
the limits of each.
(Johnson, 1996)
Activity 1: Identifying Polarities
Finish this sentence:
Sometimes, I think this
team/organization is too__________. At
those times, I wish this team/organization
would be more________________.
Activity 1: Identifying Polarities
What other polarities can we identify?
Consider:
Is the difficulty ongoing? Does shifting from
one pole to another offer a final, complete
solution?
Are the poles interdependent? Can you
emphasize one and neglect the other without
negative consequences?
Polarity Polarity
+ +
- -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance?
Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity?
Value
The positive results of
focusing on this pole
Value
The positive results of
focusing on this pole
Fears
The negative results of
focusing on this pole and
neglecting the other pole
Fears
The negative results of
focusing on this pole and
neglecting the other pole
Diplomacy Candor
+ +
- -Deeper Fear
Higher Purpose
Activity 3: Upsides/Downsides
• Select a polarity that resonates with you
• Working with your group, brainstorm upsides and downsides of
each pole
• Thinking about this polarity pair, what is the higher purpose and
deeper fear associated with it?
• Record your results on the worksheet
Activity 2:What do you see here?
Polarity Polarity
+ +
- -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance?
Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity?
Because I prefer this pole, I…
…try to prevent these bad
things from happening, and…
…I miss out on leveraging these
upsides, so…
…I end up here.

Polarity Polarity
+ +
- -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance?
Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity?
Well-managed polarities allow organizations
to leverage upsides of both poles and
minimize the downsides
Activity 4:
Action Plans and Red Flags
•Continuing to work on your polarity map,
indicate:
•What steps will be taken by whom to ensure that the
upsides of both polarity are leveraged?
•What indicators or warning signs will you notice or
measure to determine if a downside is being
experienced?
•What will you do about it?
Just testing.
SENSEMAKING
What Now?
Thinking back…
•What were 2-3 big ideas discussed?
•What resonated with you?
•What surprised, excited, worried or
puzzled you?
•What new vantage point or insight did
you gain?
•What will you do differently as a result?
References
Polarity Management
Johnson, B. (2009). Handbook of polarity
management: identifying and managing
unsolvable problems. Amherst, Mass: HRD Press.
RESOURCE SLIDES
DESIGNTHINKING,
MINDSETS AND
CYNEFIN
Carol Dweck, Ph.D., Jeanne Liedtka, DBA, and Dave Snowden, MBA
Mashed Up
OUTLOOK
UNCERTAINTY
NEW EXPERIENCES
REPERTOIRE
Do the job
right and …
Limit
Avoid
Develop
Narrow
Consider problems
objectively
Focus on a few clear
ideas
Reduce risk with
research and data
Make calculated
investments
Make incremental
progress
Unstable Environment
Complex & Chaotic
Stable Environment
(Simple & Complicated)
OUTLOOK
UNCERTAINTY
NEW EXPERIENCES
REPERTOIRE
Do the job
right and …
Continuously
learn, adapt
and …
LimitAccept
AvoidSeek
Develop
Narrow
Develop
Broad
Consider problems
objectively
Focus on a few clear
ideas
Reduce risk with
research and data
Make calculated
investments
Make incremental
progress
Develop multiple
opportunities
Manage risk through
action
Place small bets,
quickly
Succeed more often
in new situations
Consider problems
empathetically
Unstable Environment
Complex & Chaotic
Stable Environment
(Simple & Complicated)
ORGANIZATIONS IN
THEORY AND
REALITY
InTheory everything is possible,
however, I live in Practice and the
road toTheory is washed out.
Don Knuth

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Royal Alberta Museum - Cynefin Framework and Polarity Management Workshop

  • 1. COMPLEXITY, CHANGE ANDYOU (Or what will become known forever as “the LEGO workshop.”)
  • 2. LaurieWidmark Senior Manager, Organizational Renewal Human Services laurie.widmark@gov.ab.ca
  • 3. AngieTarasoff Senior Manager,Technology Planning and Management Alberta Education, SchoolTechnology angie.tarasoff@gov.ab.ca @angietarasoff http://ca.linkedin.com/in/angietarasoff/ www.newernormal.ca http://www.scoop.it/t/managing-complexity
  • 4. HANDS-ON Complexity and the Cynefin Framework
  • 5. What is about to happen? •Four exercises •After each exercise, we’ll unpack what you and your team experienced
  • 6. Activity 1 •Sort the pieces by colour •Decide among yourselves what pieces will be treated as special •Put “special” pieces into one pile
  • 7. SIMPLE Best practice Cause = Effect Known Feudal Leadership Sense-Categorize-Respond
  • 8. Activity 2 •Build a tower that is at least 20 bricks tall •The tower must have a regular colour pattern •Upper layers may not be wider than lower layers
  • 9. SIMPLE Best practice Cause = Effect Known Feudal Leadership Sense-Categorize-Respond COMPLICATED Good practice Cause -> Effect Knowable Expert Leadership Sense-Analyze-Respond
  • 10. Activity 3 •Build an animal or a vehicle •It must have a regular colour pattern •Each colour of brick may be handled by only one person •You have 30 seconds to plan, after that no talking or whispering •Your group will be moved with your structure to another table every minute
  • 11. SIMPLE Best practice Cause = Effect Known Feudal Leadership Sense-Categorize-Respond COMPLICATED Good practice Cause -> Effect Knowable Expert Leadership Sense-Analyze-Respond COMPLEX Emergent practice [CE] Retrospectively knowable Networked Leadership Probe-Sense-Respond
  • 12. Activity 4 •Build a building or a plant •Rules from before apply •Your group will be moved with your structure to another table every minute •At random times we will move randomly selected people from one group to another •No planning time & no talking
  • 13. SIMPLE Best practice Cause = Effect Known Feudal Leadership Sense-Categorize-Respond COMPLICATED Good practice Cause -> Effect Knowable Expert Leadership Sense-Analyze-Respond COMPLEX Emergent practice [CE] Retrospectively knowable Networked Leadership Probe-Sense-Respond CHAOS Novel practice C≠E Unknowable Charismatic Leadership Act-Sense-Respond
  • 14. SIMPLE Best practice Cause = Effect Known Feudal Leadership Sense-Categorize-Respond COMPLICATED Good practice Cause -> Effect Knowable Expert Leadership Sense-Analyze-Respond COMPLEX Emergent practice [CE] Retrospectively knowable Networked Leadership Probe-Sense-Respond CHAOS Novel practice C≠E Unknowable Charismatic Leadership Act-Sense-Respond DISORDER
  • 15. Cynefin (Kuh-ne-vin) Framework •Sensemaking model •Designed to help leaders understand their context in order to respond appropriately •Organizations are complex •Dynamic •Non-linear •Emergent characteristics •Variable •Small changes can have significant impact
  • 16. Resources Video:The Cynefin Framework http://bit.ly/complexity1 Video: Longitude (EntrainedThinking) http://bit.ly/complexity2 Video:Apollo 13 (Creativity/Innovation) http://bit.ly/complexity03 Video: How to Organise a Children’s Party http://bit.ly/complexity4 Cynefin Framework Snowden, D.J. Boone, M. 2007. "A Leader's Framework for Decision Making". Harvard Business Review, November 2007, pp. 69–76. Workshop exercises adapted from: Agile 42. "Cynefin Framework Lego Game." Agile 42. N.p., 25 Dec. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2013
  • 18. Cynefin and you Considering your experiences, preferences and education, in which Cynefin domain: •Do you feel the most comfortable? Why? •Do you feel the least comfortable? Why? •Does your “usual” work fit?
  • 19. Cynefin and you What strategies can you employ to succeed in problem domains that are outside your comfort zone?
  • 21. Cynefin and your work Considering this, what are some strategies that you can use to manage these challenges effectively?
  • 23. The Organization in Reality Actually listens to Wants his job Rivals Dislikes Golf Buddies Grudge Religious Affiliation Office Romance Married Admires Dislikes
  • 25. Polarities to manage are sets of opposites that can’t function well independently. Because the two sides of a polarity are interdependent, you cannot chose one as a “solution” and neglect the other. The objective of the Polarity Management perspective is to get the best of both opposites while avoiding the limits of each. (Johnson, 1996)
  • 26. Activity 1: Identifying Polarities Finish this sentence: Sometimes, I think this team/organization is too__________. At those times, I wish this team/organization would be more________________.
  • 27. Activity 1: Identifying Polarities What other polarities can we identify? Consider: Is the difficulty ongoing? Does shifting from one pole to another offer a final, complete solution? Are the poles interdependent? Can you emphasize one and neglect the other without negative consequences?
  • 28. Polarity Polarity + + - -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance? Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity? Value The positive results of focusing on this pole Value The positive results of focusing on this pole Fears The negative results of focusing on this pole and neglecting the other pole Fears The negative results of focusing on this pole and neglecting the other pole
  • 29. Diplomacy Candor + + - -Deeper Fear Higher Purpose
  • 30. Activity 3: Upsides/Downsides • Select a polarity that resonates with you • Working with your group, brainstorm upsides and downsides of each pole • Thinking about this polarity pair, what is the higher purpose and deeper fear associated with it? • Record your results on the worksheet
  • 31. Activity 2:What do you see here?
  • 32. Polarity Polarity + + - -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance? Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity? Because I prefer this pole, I… …try to prevent these bad things from happening, and… …I miss out on leveraging these upsides, so… …I end up here. 
  • 33. Polarity Polarity + + - -Deeper Fear: what happens if we don’t balance? Higher Purpose: why balance this polarity? Well-managed polarities allow organizations to leverage upsides of both poles and minimize the downsides
  • 34. Activity 4: Action Plans and Red Flags •Continuing to work on your polarity map, indicate: •What steps will be taken by whom to ensure that the upsides of both polarity are leveraged? •What indicators or warning signs will you notice or measure to determine if a downside is being experienced? •What will you do about it?
  • 37. Thinking back… •What were 2-3 big ideas discussed? •What resonated with you? •What surprised, excited, worried or puzzled you? •What new vantage point or insight did you gain? •What will you do differently as a result?
  • 38. References Polarity Management Johnson, B. (2009). Handbook of polarity management: identifying and managing unsolvable problems. Amherst, Mass: HRD Press.
  • 40. DESIGNTHINKING, MINDSETS AND CYNEFIN Carol Dweck, Ph.D., Jeanne Liedtka, DBA, and Dave Snowden, MBA Mashed Up
  • 41. OUTLOOK UNCERTAINTY NEW EXPERIENCES REPERTOIRE Do the job right and … Limit Avoid Develop Narrow Consider problems objectively Focus on a few clear ideas Reduce risk with research and data Make calculated investments Make incremental progress Unstable Environment Complex & Chaotic Stable Environment (Simple & Complicated)
  • 42. OUTLOOK UNCERTAINTY NEW EXPERIENCES REPERTOIRE Do the job right and … Continuously learn, adapt and … LimitAccept AvoidSeek Develop Narrow Develop Broad Consider problems objectively Focus on a few clear ideas Reduce risk with research and data Make calculated investments Make incremental progress Develop multiple opportunities Manage risk through action Place small bets, quickly Succeed more often in new situations Consider problems empathetically Unstable Environment Complex & Chaotic Stable Environment (Simple & Complicated)
  • 44. InTheory everything is possible, however, I live in Practice and the road toTheory is washed out. Don Knuth