In the last year I organized a course on Management in 21st century. I started the course with showing a similar picture as the one above. The participants expressed what they felt when seeing the picture. I used this image and their feeling to demonstrate overwhelmed Managers today.
The words coming up were: nasty, dirty, smelly, messy.
Often I can see how especially middle management are totally overwhelmed of a situation. This happens especially in change management situations such as Agile Transformations. If a teams is supposed to be self-organized, what is the role of a manager?
Managers are overwhelmed without knowing. Over the last 6 months, I realized, how a swamp perfectly describes this situation:
I have seen those situations over and over again. We call this firefighting.
During the last 8 years helping organizations, I have discovered three different swamps:
Managers and Organizations need to understand, what overwhelms them. How can we adjust our organizations and our system to work towards high performance teams?
There are tools, which help them to navigate in these environments. Management 3.0 gives complexity guidelines. Dave Snowden uses the Cynefin. The Leader’s Dilemma created guidelines on an organisational level, etc.
Nevertheless, in my opinion it starts with our own mindset and how we approach that form our point of reference. Learn in the next blog articles, which these might be.