Know the system you are part of!

And make better decisions

An Entrepreneur shared with me thoughts about her companies future, in a couple of years. She wanted to handover the company smoothly to people who could run the company without her. She only wants to be in the supervisory role. The time planned for this process is about 5 years. At the same day one of the key managers just announced that he will quit the job.

Could have been the key employee a candidate? How should the successor or the team as a successor look like?

Both questions had an immediate reaction from the Entrepreneur. A) The leaving employee was not the right opportunity for being the boss, for several reasons. B) The successor should be a good business person, result driven , sales oriented, hands on, and a team-player.

What are the tasks in this position in 5 years? The entrepreneur spend some time to think about the answer, finally came up with “somehow different from todays tasks”.

Who else is involved in the process of let go to the benefit of a younger manager? The other shareholders” was the response. So what are their thoughts about the profile, future tasks, timeline etc? “I assume….but I don´t know”

Later in the conversation more and more important points emerged which should be part of the consideration. The entrepreneur finally said “It´s more complex than I thought in the first moment. More influences are in place. Let us meet again and go through this process more thoroughly”

This kind of conversation happens often in our work. Be it strategy, operations, marketing, management, leadership, profound explorations for sustainable solutions are consuming too much time and energy, apparently. How to approach the business in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigue times without time and energy? How to make good decisions?

My answer: Spend more time in the initial moment to collect all influencing items more thoroughly.

With a more systems orientated aproach, with systemic tools and methods we can create a better overview. Then we can decide about importance and influence of the collected items. We can decide what we want to take into consideration. Which consequences do we expect from the less important ones. This process creates a much better risk management and decision making process already.

Similar with leadership. Do Leaders take all aspects of their leadership into consideration? How often does the normal manager as a leader think about such? In our work we experience that only very (very) few managers scheduled regular meeting-time in their calendar. This is the easiest trick to not forget leadership tasks. And helps a “manager” to be a better “leader”.

Spending little more time more often is well invested though not very popular. But ambiguity becomes less ambigue, as well as complexity, if you have a better imagination of the whole picture. Uncertainty might be reduced because you have the better overview. Volatility can be adressed better. Through more known options your organization is more flexible to react with option B or C or D. Or something new.

Why not spending a little more time and energy to know your system, its obvious and underlying elements and interdependencies and be on a safer side? Sometimes it makes lot of sense to stop the operational rush, get out of the hamster wheel and have look at it from outside. Not only for CEO´s and Managing Directors, also for Managers who want to make an impact for the future business.

©Axel Kuhlmann for akcc ltd. 2018

akcc co-creates systemic solutions for people and organizations.

Axel is managing partner of akcc ltd., and a serial entrepreneur, speaker, facilitator, mentor, trainer and coach. He works in Asia, Europe and Africa and build bridges between people, businesses and cultures.

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