Complexify Yourself

by | Nov 15, 2018 | Change, Ideas

Most of us don’t like complex things, we prefer relative simplicity.  We tend to view most areas of our lives through a binary lens – this or that, X + Y = Z, right or wrong, black or white, etc.  Our brains functional well in this state as it helps us automate our decisions and allows us to function.  Frankly, we would be paralysed without some of our life being binary decisions.

Yet people are not binary, neither are their views, perspectives.  Often we can disagree with someone on one topic, agree on another and another topic share some similarity of analysis while disagreeing on implications.  We rarely (if ever) understand the full reality of a situation or individual.

Neither are all decisions simple or complex, there is quite a spectrum between.  There are tools, like the Cynefin framework, to help us in decision making for different types of problems.

One of my previous professors used to encourage us to ‘complexify’ ourselves whenever we came across a complex decision.  As the reality of any situation has multiple sides, it is important to bring many people together who have different viewpoints.  In doing so we make our understanding and analysis of the situation more ‘complex’ and often we will shatter the illusion that it was somehow a binary decision (this or that).  We still need to make a decision, but when we ‘complexify’ ourselves our decisions (and our understanding of them) are more nuanced.

Organisational change is rarely binary; it is often a mixture of the entire decision making spectrum.

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