MAKESHIFTS - Organisational Learning & Development Consultancy
MakING the shift.
“What got you here, won’t get you there”.
YOU ARE HERE.
Wise words, but how do we know where we are in any process of change?
When navigating complexity, we may have little awareness of how a decision ‘over here’ might impact on outcomes ‘over there’. Like ripples in a pond, our actions effect the wider system, and the wider system affects us in ways we are scarcely aware of. We apply solutions in good faith, only to discover down the road, we have unintentionally contributed to the emergence of new problems which require attention. Or, as a workshop participant said recently, it’s like the game ‘Whack em all’ – you hit one problem (whack!) and another pops up somewhere else. Target one problem (whack!) and it pops up somewhere else unpredictably.
So how do we get better at seeing more of the system so we can better predict the likely consequences of our proposed actions before they emerge? Seeing problems as symptoms is a good starting place. Knowing that whatever presents on the surface level is just the tip of the iceberg in most cases. If we really want to solve the difficult and complex organisational issues we face, we need to be prepared to give some time to exploring their causes and understanding the systemic issues which give rise to them. This gives us a more realistic sense of ‘where we are’.
Understanding where we are may require we use tools we have not yet considered, and that we engage with people in ways we have not yet tried. That we try on new lenses, see things through the eyes of others, expand our own perception of reality.
How do we make more of the system visible in order to understand the inter-relationships and connections which will help us to make wiser and more timely decisions?
How can we engage in ways that are meaningful and help us to collectively visualise, make sense of and work with the complexity we are immersed in?
Learning to navigate complexity and relaxing into change and uncertainty are among the most important competencies for contemporary organisations, requiring a different approach to leadership, one that is more adaptive and collaborative, allowing us to develop collective responses to shared problems in order to avoid ‘continually creating the results that no-one wants’ (Otto Scharmer) .
We specialise in working with organisations and stakeholder communities to develop capacity for collective leadership from a systems perspective through targeted interventions in response to specific needs and challenges.