Wayfinding Leadership – Enabling adaptability and distributed autonomy.

It is no secret that adaptability and responsiveness are becoming key strategic capabilities.  The world is changing rapidly, and organizations face many novel challenges, such as the exponential rise of AI, climate disruption, and socio-economic unrest.  These mega-trends can no longer be ignored, and we have no tried and true ways of responding to them.

To lead in these conditions, where there are many unknown unknowns is challenging, especially because of dominant narratives that equate competence to “knowing”.  In a sense, we are all wayfinders, i.e. we can no longer “know before we go”; we can only “know as we go.”  We are “muddling through”, meaning we can no longer have clear roadmaps and fully worked-out strategic plans.  We need truly adaptive strategies and leadership to provide environments where people have a sense of agency and autonomy.

The need for new ways of leading and organising exists in every business. 

  •  In small, successful start-ups, the question presents itself regarding scaling.  How do we scale without becoming a rigid bureaucracy?  The opposite is true in large corporates – how do we release rigid bureaucracy without fragmenting and becoming inefficient?
  • In some companies, the question is, “how do we explore more broadly, ignite our people’s creativity and innovate to stay relevant”; in others, there is no shortage of ideas but no way to prioritise.

In this one-day workshop, Michael Göthe and Sonja Blignaut will share learnings from the field of complexity and their work in some of the world’s most innovative companies. How do companies like Spotify, Zettle/PayPal, and Volvo Cars deal with complexity and stay competitive?  

We will also explore what we can learn from:

  • Wayfinding cultures like the Polynesians
  • From anthropologists, sports coaches, and architects 
  • The field of complexity.
  • Companies that use adaptive strategies, new ways to manage product portfolios, road maps, and performance measures.

Objectives of the workshop include:

  • Explore the implications/differences of leading in complexity vs order.
  • Understand the adaptive process and the tensions it creates in organisations.
  • Explore Wayfinding principles and the Waysfinder framework.
  • Learn how to lead by managing constraints and affordances.
  • Explore the skills and resources you need to become a wayfinding organisation.

This workshop is for you if … 

  • you lead in complexity.
  • your organisation needs to become more adaptive and responsive.
  • your successful start-up needs to scale without becoming a rigid and slow bureaucracy.
  • you lead self-organising teams towards a common direction and mission.
  • want to enable innovative cultures, not an innovation department.
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