Complexity in the workplace

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Complexity in the workplace

In a precipitous changing world, organisations and nations will need to consistently undertake transformational changes to increase high value work, in order to sustain living standards and remain competitive.

Accordingly, high value work is at the forefront of competition! Driving innovation, productivity and growth. Consequently, high value work is the indisputable tool of sustainable competitive advantage.

At the core of this approach, are complex, high skilled and intellectually demanding manufacturing organisations. Additionally, these endeavours will need a flexible, diverse and highly skilled workforce to acquire the capacity to capitalise on opportunities, and exploit changes in technology that present themselves.

Complexity will be the defining factor in these transformational changes, and how organisations and nations harness this complexity will be central to their success.

Hierarchical organisations:

Traditionally, large hierarchical organisations developed to organise and allocate resources to initiatives that increase certainty and predictability with the sole intention of maximising quality and on time performance.

As a consequence of those endeavours, organisations are highly resistant to change and disruption. In addition, as the rate of customer demands and market disruption accelerates, obsolete hierarchical organisations will face the destructive headwinds of change and corporate inertia. Furthermore, because of their very nature, they will also fail to provide today's high skilled workforce with the autonomy to build agile and adaptive systems.

Organisations commencing difficult transformational changes in order to survive and flourish, will have to consistently monitor the toxic hierarchical parent-child workplace dynamics that have existed for generations, between middle management and their workforce.

Consequently, organisations and nations that neglect to monitor their progress, and to provide consistent, high quality support to their workforce as they construct agile, lean and adaptive cultures, will soon find the cost of replacing a highly skilled workforce with years of product knowledge (In some cases tribal knowledge) a heavy financial burden.

Compelling today's workforce to commit, and to be more functional and cognitively fluid across many kinds of tasks and situations in an organisation, will create complex demands, including;

1. Increasing complexity.
2. Continuous learning and self-improvement.
3. Improved critical thinking skills.
4. Commit to the process.


Increasing complexity:

There are two significant methods of coping with highly complex systems. Organisations and nations can attempt to reduce the complexity, or they can accordingly embrace the complexity by elevating the cognitive and relational skill-set of their governing body's.

The first method could involve the development of a lean, strategic blueprint that reduces the amount of information needed to be processed by the governing body's, or the standardisation and modularisation of value-adding systems.

The second method could include a robust learning culture and candid dialogue that increases the cognitive diversity of all participants, and the decentralisation of decision-making and policy processes, which would consequently increase efficiency and streamline the diversity of the governance solution.

Proceeding to a more sustainable governance arrangement that accommodates complexity, will not be simple. Prevalent rules and obsolete structures tend to stabilise systems, however they also make them completely unyielding in periods of major socio-economic transformation.

Ultimately, either technique would decrease the complexity shortfall between the system and its governance arrangement.

Continuous learning and self improvement:

Transformational organisations will need to furnish empowered work environments that provide formal assessment, coupled with real choices, consequences and substantive rewards, while recognising the difficulty facing the individual.

Individuals must be prepared to seek information to identify skill disparity, also recognise areas to improve current performance, keep up with advances in their chosen career path, and anticipate how changes elsewhere in the organisation may affect work demands and future skill requirements.

Self development is of paramount significance to individuals in today's financially restrained, quality motivated and swiftly evolving organisations. Consequently, individuals require insight into organisational objectives and performance requirements to ensure their ability to meet today's and future organisational expectations.

Improved critical thinking skills:

Given that, critical thinking is one of the most important skills required by organisations and nations to achieve their strategic objectives, nations must promote critical thinking and active learning in their national curriculum.

Critical thinking, creativity and lifelong learning are the tools and methods required for individuals, organisations and nations to problem solve, invent and implement complex solutions.

Never before have organisations, individuals and nations operated in such a complex and rapidly changing world where they are bombarded with a constant stream of information. They are being asked to manage this information flow, take on new responsibilities, learn diverse new tasks and make effective decisions, often with limited time, direction and information.

These complex pressures put problem solving and creative thinking at a premium, and ultimately all levels of an organisation or nations are required to recognise and implement sound solutions to track and evaluate results.

Commit to the process:

The ability to persevere and commit to undertake trans-formative changes to increase, high value work requires discipline and clear focus to accomplishing the goals, of increasing the productivity and competitiveness of organisations, individuals and nations.

In conclusion:

Any attempt to store wealth or earn passive income from organisations or nations, that do not promote critical thinking and active learning in their national curriculum or undertake high value work, is in itself defective critical thinking.

Investments in areas that disregard the complexity test will ultimately end with disappointing results.

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