… mastering how to deal with paradoxes or dilemmas (and the organizational and personal tensions that arise from them):
- fast time to market (and revenue) vs. safety and quality
- fast spare parts availability vs. reduction of inventories/costs
- decentralization of sales (customer proximity) vs. centralization (better control & management also in terms of compliance)
- Globalization (growth) vs. regionalization (local responsibility)
- Continuity and consistency vs. innovation and flexibility
… you name it
If we (exclusively) do one, then it is (probably) wrong or the other – then we are also (probably) wrong. Moreover, it is not about solving paradoxes (they don’t go away, they just change) – you have to work on them continuously and “manage” them.
Niklas Luhmann once described organizations as “paradox coping machines”, their structures, programs and premises enable different things to be right and wrong at the same time. And it is precisely this tension to hold (and endure) that has such a stressful effect on many people in organizations.
As human beings, we want to act – we want to move forward and then make the right decisions for that action. Yet, as individuals, we are less and less able to deal with the range of different challenges (paradoxes & opportunities for intervention) – for all our resilience and/or tolerance for ambiguity.
Especially executives in hierarchical structures seem increasingly overwhelmed and unable to act in the face of increasing dynamics in the market. Decisions are made slowly, even though the customer is waiting (bottleneck effect), responsibility is managed in silos…
In order to deal successfully with increasing complexity and ambiguity, organizations need
- Value-added oriented structures
- Distributed leadership responsibility (understanding leadership as a social function)
- Balanced and adult (leadership) personalities
- Less instead of more management artifacts and practices
This is what we as @eurosysteam stand for with our content and programs.
#systemic #leadershipdevelopment #valuecreation #organizationaldesign