This reflection paper is written to analyze my experiences with respect to lessons learnt in embracing complexity topic, along with other useful tools discussed in classroom sessions. With this practice I wish to achieve a meaningful way to apply the lessons in my work area.
While reading the interview of Tim Sullivan, I came to realize that there is a strong connection with my personal limitations w.r.t complex adaptive systems.
To the response about barrier in effectively dealing with complexity, Tim has discussed that we humans have innate tendency of attaching cause to effect, which precludes understanding complex situations. I find that I am overly inclined towards cause-effect loop in dealing with complex situations. Though, many of times I don’t remain wary of the fact that I am dealing with complexity but my general approach in working such situation is controlled by the cause-effect phenomenon.
I would like to analyze the fundamentals with a personal experience. Two years ago, while working at Global Logic Software, I was entrusted to design a prototype to change processes that have gone stale. Conventions were not challenged over long time, I started working to lay new rules and operating procedures. Working on this task was not a daily activity for me; the challenge was to come up with high level of intellectual curiosity.
I interacted with different stakeholders and discussed all the issues faced in day-to-day work at length. After several brainstorming sessions and analysis, I put forth my ideas to make processes lean and mean to benefit ‘product and release’ management and marketing teams. In dealing so, I had a clear idea that the old practices no longer exist for new challenges and must be replaced.
Within few weeks of implementing the suggested changes, I started getting direct or indirect feedback from stakeholders that they are finding difficulty coping up with their deliveries. Problems arose in operations with on-site functions taking a major jolt.
Dissatisfaction was inevitable. I had laid too much emphasis on lean structure and disconnect crept in cross-functional teams effecting quality and delivery. New changes were based on certain underlying assumptions. I had looked for solutions to rectify the prevailing old effects occurring due to old practices. Only now I can clearly see that I was stuck in the causal approach.
In doing so, I failed to realize that inspite of making life easier for all while improving quality & efficiency; new changes hampered engagement across teams.
As I reflect back on the past experience, I can now easily find out how my thinking process worked against me in coming up with suitable situation. Firstly, in the context of complex adaptive system, while coming up with a new framework, I was looking at the heterogeneous segments. Mostly, I kept on concentrating on individuals for ideas, who were dear to me as I was closely associated while I remained disconnected to others. This inhibited me to see the functions of the system as a whole. I was missing the lifecycle and pulse of the close-knit group. Secondly, I see that most of the people with whom I was discussing stuff were wearing an appreciative veil, as they were close associates of mine. That was my limitation set by my comfort level with people with whom I had close work relations. I see it as active inertia of people to give me critical feedback. As stated by Tim, its indispensable to get a panel of people possessing varied skills & experiences, carrying intellectual curiosity, which can help bring out 15% solutions.
Thirdly, although I sat with quite a number of people for discussions, I failed to get the high net worth information, which I most certainly required to bring out solutions. Finally, I find that Causal approach worked against me in bringing out the outcome I was expecting. Now, I see that I should be able to sit back and relax a bit while...