Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ambiguity Competencies II

This this the second part of the last blog. I will continue to cover the issues that Christine raised about ambiguity competencies.
3. Leading others in times of ambiguity
There are a series skills, thinking, attitudes and behavours that are specifically required when people have to lead others in times of uncertainty. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Creating a compelling and real vision of a required future state for people to move into - there are specific methods and tools for this.
  2. Intrapersonal ability - being able to monitor your emotional state and manage it this includes:
    1. Emotional resilience - the ability to move quickly out of one emotional state into another and change the cognitive frame being applied.
  3. Interpersonal ability - connecting with others, empathy and being able to manage other peoples emotional states
  4. Agility - the ability to see change and move with it, and respond accordingly. This is a key competence that has a series of sub skills, thinking, attitudes and behaviours associated with it. This is a major differentiating attribute that mode 4 leaders have.
  5. Decision making in ambiguous situations where the outcomes are uncertain. There are some very specific methods are available here.
  6. Problem solving, especially where data is missing, incomplete or contradictory. We are currently preparing a series of online workshops around this.
  7. Generative (Creative and innovative) practices.
  8. The ability to use diverse resources and thinking frames without prejudice.
to name but a few. The aim here is to have agile and flexible leadership that can see change as it happens, change it's approach when necessary to suit the situation and maintain progress, including counter intuitive moves.

4. Developing ambiguity tolerance / resilience in organisations
This requires a special strategic approach that denotes multiple pathways and outcomes. Most strategies have one future and one pathway. In order to develop tolerance to ambiguity, the ability to profit or advantage from ambiguity and increase organisational resilience takes more than just more plans. Just look at the pickle FEMA got into over the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Their problems did not stem from a lack of plans or planning. Organisations that are agile, and can adapt quickly require a different mind set and a different type of strategy.
Again there are different sets of competencies and capabilities required for this than are present in most frameworks.

One further word. Any such competency or capability framework needs to have a direction (and a level of ambiguity) that produces the emergent properties required, i.e. the ability to deal with ambiguity positively, find and capitalise on the advantages in every situation and develop agility, excitement, energy and resilience.

Need more? Contact me

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