“We have to figure out how to get ourselves out of the complexity of an inherently complex system.”

My colleague Mike Cyze shared this sentiment when discussing school districts, but it applies to a much broader content than that. People often find themselves with complexity paralysis, unable to determine a course of action because of the multitude of options and intertwined variables.

As my class studies systems thinking, we have used the Affordable Care Act as an example. People may not like it as it is, but no one seems to have another solution that doesn’t come with its own downside. For example, one small act of allowing people to opt out could destabilize the markets if healthy people discontinue coverage and costs rise for those needing care who remain. More comprehensive changes have broader implications — that some people will like, others won’t — but all of them are interdependent upon each other.

One way to maneuver in a complex system is to stay focused on the vision or end goal. By taking steps to achieve the “why”, a pathway to action can become more clear. In the school district, a defining principle is “what’s best for the kids.” It guides steps and strategies that may otherwise be buried in the complexity.

What is the beacon that will light your organization’s way amidst the many choices and options?

Thanks Mike!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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