Complexity is Re-Wiring Your World

It wasn’t that long ago that our business environments were complicated, but still fairly predictable. Back in the 90’s when re-engineering was everywhere we focused on doing the same type of work more efficiently and effectively. Five-year, and even ten-year plans were standard because our environment was relatively stable.  We confidently planned our next steps believing that, while things would change somewhat, they wouldn’t change that much. We assumed we’d still be in the same business, battling the same competitors using our latest strategy of choice.

Those days are gone, of course.  A level of complexity we never could have imagined back in the ’90s, when we were still awed by faxes and voicemail, has enveloped us. Technology is rewiring everything, often in unexpected ways. The interrelatedness, diversity and shear volume of inputs into our systems have annihilated old familiar pattern and left us in a perpetual guessing game about how our future will unfold.

Look carefully at your organization. How have the most fundamental underpinnings of your business morphed in the last five years or so?

  • Are new unexpected competitors reshaping the way your company goes to market?
  • Are the rules of engagement in your industry being rewritten by other entities?
  • Are customers demanding that your organization be more responsive, more accessible, or more green?

Notice how these new patterns of change are rippling – or ripping – through your organization, creating pressures, disconnects, and opportunities in unexpected places.

Throughout July our blog posts will explore how complexity is reshaping the human side of business – including our roles as advocates for change.

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Join the conversation:

What are the most profound shifts you’ve seen in your business and / or industry? How are those changes impact you, your work and your organization? Share your comments below.

Check out my video Change has Changed

Learn more about complexity

For an explanation of complicated versus complex see the Harvard Business Review article Learning to Live with Complexity, (September 2011.)

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