Leading in Complexity: Why Agility Allows Us to Thrive in an Unpredictable World
Managing Consultant and Technical Fellow, Excella
Our ability to usefully predict the future has always relied on a lot of assumptions, but increasingly our challenges defy straightforward cause-and-effect expectations. Instead, opportunities and threats emerge in response to both shifting external constraints and our own actions. This “new reality” even has its own buzzword: VUCA, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. Agile leaders need to embrace the truth that unpredictability significantly reduces productivity while simultaneously amplifying risk. Crucially, leadership approaches that don’t consider the critical role of emergence increase the likelihood of significant failure.
In this session, we will discuss how the Cynefin framework helps us make sense of what kinds of problems we’re dealing with, as well as how to adjust our leadership and problem-solving approaches. We will examine how various agile practices help us surface and manage emergent opportunities and the risk that comes with unpredictability. Attendees will collaboratively review how their organizations are currently equipped to handle complexity and identify impediments and options to effect change.
Understanding complex problems and how to approach them enables leaders at every level to make a better case for agility, improve tradeoff decisions under ever-present constraints, and move beyond process to an outcome-focused view of agile transformations.
#Format: Presentation, Breakout rooms, Q&A
Mathias is a team and executive coach and delivery lead at Excella with twenty years of public and private sector experience consulting organizations on improving their teams, systems, products, and leadership by implementing Lean and Agile concepts. Mathias coaches clients on making sense out of uncertainty, optimizing customer-focused value streams, and maximizing business value. He guides organizations in applying Agile and Lean principles relevant to their specific context rather than relying on acquired process frameworks.
Mathias holds graduate degrees in cybernetics and management, as well as numerous professional certifications. He has coached and led software development and data analytics teams in a variety of roles, including Agile Coach, ScrumMaster, Solutions Architect, Project Manager, and Business Analyst. His experience includes healthcare, law enforcement, manufacturing, hospitality, travel, and human resources. Mathias is a frequent presenter and facilitator at national and international conferences on Agile, Project Management, and Business Analysis.