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Having personally Coached 100's of leaders throughout my career, I have recognized that one thing is very constant in the work place. That one thing is change. Change happens around us, to us and through us every moment of the day. When we add to this the different responses each person has to change and the entanglement between individuals experiencing change, things get complex.
Something as small as a shift in one's perspective can have significant change on the whole team, initiative or organization. It may not be seen at first but it is quite often felt.
This forces us to engage in change with our limbic brain (our feeling brain). Some of us will lean in, others will fight, flight or freeze. Make no mistake though - each of these is a response.
The question is, are they the right responses?
Do they serve us? Do they serve our organization? Will they help us move forward in alignment with our goals? Or are the changes and our responses so "different" that now our goals need revisiting?
In the world of many complexities (and unknown unknowns) we need better tools to make sense of what is happening in the moment, we need a better way to invite & embrace diversity of thought and we need to execute with new / novel ideas.
As a Cynefin Foundations and Advanced Practitioner I can tell you that without any hesitation that this book (and the practices that follow) will provide great insights and inspiration to those who have battled the ongoing pains of knowing that what has worked in the past is not going to work in the domain of rich complexity. There is another alternative. In fact there are many - and we need a everyone with a different perspective to help us see all that is or could be - beyond what we are already familiar with. This book shows us that!
This is a fantastic primer for anyone seeking a better way to think different, act different and innovate from the emergent future (as it unfolds).
This is an impotant book but there are two problems woth the Kindle version. First, the diagrams were captured at so low a resoution that the text is very difficult to read even when tge diagrams are enlarged. Second, the large, complex diagrams don't work well on the small screen of a Kindle. Reading the book on a tablet or PC eliminates the second problem but not the first.
As a GP I find Cynefin touches every aspect of my life as a health care provider and deliverer of treatment - both individually and to populations. Beyond that, as a Clinical Lead working for a Health Board in the current Covid-19 era whilst also dealing with the accumulated health debt of un/under-diagnosed conditions (cancers, chronic multi-morbidity, etc) the Cynefin approach to Complexity provides an invaluable lens through which to see “wicked problems” in a very different light.
It provides a set of tools for Senior leadership to get out from under their own feet in the complicated domain and begin to deal with the here and now “is-ness” of complexity through mapping, distributed cognition and disintermediation.
This book is a treasure trove compendium of individually authored mini-chapters which will scaffold your knowledge and understanding and help you make meaning out of your own personal/organisational challenges with hope for something different (and better) to emerge.
The trick of course is to use your uncertainty as a driver to engage....
Well, I stayed up til 2am two nights to finish reading it. I esp. enjoyed Dave’s own account of the history. He writes this time in a reflective mood and personal tone which I find very accessible. Funnily enough I was there at some of the UK events in the early days - “The Tacit Tactic” and “Dancing with Dilbert”! (I suggested “Dances with Dogbert”) It’s a curious book in that it’s *about* Cynefin in the sense of being *around* it rather than directly about it in the way you might usually interpret "this is a book about...". That means there are some really quite different types of perspective - again, I don't just mean different views but wholly different kinds of view in the way that X-ray and ultrasound give different images than your natural eye sees. Which all makes for a good read for people who’ve followed this story and want to gain more insight into it ... which has been my case.
This is a great book. Its a kind of coming of age publication; a collection of tales about experiences of / with and about the usefulness of the Cynefin Framework, celebrating it's 21st birthday and paying homage to its creator Dave Snowden. At times it's difficult to comprehend, yet hard to put down (stop reading) - it's unusually compelling. And well worth staying the course as there is real gold in there in terms of making sense of your world and how to act in it. I have gone on to buy the Cynefin 101 course which is excellent - I see this as a whole new learning journey stretching out ahead of me. And I expect to reread this book at times along the way and no doubt understand the passages more and more each time.
Complexity , well it's complicated and context specific. Fortunately the authors and contributors of the book don't fall into the trap of telling you what to think, and what you need to do. They layout approaches and observations from their fields/perspectives and you dear reader, need to make sense of these perspectives by adding and contrasting your own. There key themes and threads that are pulled together by the books contributors and presented in small chapters. When you join the dots for yourself, you appreciate the patterns of complexity and the approaches there in. For people expecting this book to equip you and your organisation with a 'simple how to' guide for complexity, you've missed the point. I would also recommend getting Simple Habits for Complex times as another great book on the topic, and The Surprising Power of Liberating structures if you want to facilitate groups to approach complexity as a community. Why only 4 stars, because there is no index, so if I wanted to quickly jump to a specific topic covered by one of the contributors (and I can't remember the contributor) then its difficult to find. This 'simple' addition would be a useful improvement.
I’ve been using the Cynefin framework for a decade as away to reflect on challenges. This book, with so may user perspectives as well Dave Snowden’s insights have, for me, added real texture and depth to an already valuable tool. I appreciate and applaud those who took the time and trouble to bring it about.