Leaders are challenged by the need to deal with some of the most complex issues in the organization, even when the future is unclear or uncertain. Many aspects have to be considered such as Federal/State/Local politics, changing regulations, increasing or changing customer needs, vendor issues, overlapping systems with differing needs and priorities, and staff competencies and training needs. Very few leaders are trained to effectively handle managing change in times of organizational complexity. In order for the organization to thrive and last, long term plans must be made to address an often ambiguous future.


Learning Objectives

This advanced program assists leaders in developing the skills needed to successfully master the management of organizational complexity including:

• Innovation and critical thinking
• Management of organizational complexity that goes beyond strategic planning
• Effective decision making and problem solving when faced with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity
• Working at both tactical and strategic levels
• Navigating change and the increasing complexity using evidenced-based tools
• Developing competence for leaders to lead the organization through times of complexity, high levels of ambiguity, and change, and coaching these abilities in middle management
• Management of information complexity and problem complexity
• How to determine organizational and individual capacity for managing information and problem complexity
• Proper delegation including a delegation methodology and delegation for the current level of information and problem complexity
• Specific coaching and mentoring tools and methods to help your staff increase their ability to handle complexity and change
• Succession planning for ensuring the future of the organization
• Organizational Complexity and Change

• Determining the Current Level of Information and Problem Complexity
• Leading Through Complexity and Change in Action
• Organizing Work for Employees’ Current Level of Complexity and Change
• Leading Through Complexity and Change in Action
• Using Complexity and Change Models to Develop the Next Level of Organizational Leaders

• • •


Session 1: Organizational Complexity and Change Overview

Overview: Complexity is determined by the number of factors, the rate of change of those factors, and the ease of identification of the factors in your situation. Content will focus on gaining understanding of information and problem complexity, its direct application to executives, and illustrating a systemic process of moving the organization toward achievement of long-term goals. Complexity is defined as:

1. Information Complexity: Work that moves the organization ahead requires the use of effective judgment, problem solving, and decision making. The complexity of the work is expressed in the complexity of the information that a person uses in problem-solving when presented with a wide range and quantity of information.

2. Problem Complexity: The complexity of a problem lies in the complexity of the pathway that has to be constructed and then traversed in order to attain the goal.


Session 2: Determining the Current Level of Information and Problem Complexity

Overview: Leading an organization through complexity and change requires a thorough knowledge of the organization as a whole and of employees’ current level and comfort in dealing with complexity and change. Once this is known, then the proper plans and skills for leading and managing change can be matched to the right team, person, and process.

Content will cover the five-step formula for determining individual and organizational current level of information and problem complexity. Steps to properly match organizational goals and objectives within a time frame that makes the work achievable are included. Additional focus will be on managing change and creating solution-focused steps to build upon the strengths of the organization and its people, and how to develop a culture that continually improves and thrives through complexity and change.


Session 3: Leading Through Complexity and Change in Action

Overview: Once the foundational knowledge and organizational understanding of information and problem complexity is understood, there are a series of tools that can be used to implement the process. The organization’s leadership will use these tools to solve and handle current complexity and change. This session will provide a feedback system to enhance the decision making and problem solving skills of the participants.

Content will cover the use of Plan:Do:Check:Act models for setting short term measurements of success and failure. By examining various complexity and change tools leaders will be able to understand, plan and ensure the proper level of focus to achieve organizational goals. Additionally, participants will use a coaching for performance model to develop subordinates to work with complexity and change more effectively, creating a stronger succession planning capacity within the organization.


Session 4: Organizing Work for Employees’ Current Level of Complexity and Change

Overview: This is a very different way to look at organizations. The level of change, the increasing complexity of the work, the regulations, and needs of the customers are not getting any simpler. Once leaders understand how to measure and determine how they handle change, a process can be put into place for change management throughout the company. This allows for properly matching the amount of complexity inherent in the work with the proper level within the organization. It is necessary that all employees work in an orchestrated manner toward shared goals. This orchestrated plan for change will ensure that needed changes occur, and that the people who are working with the change are properly matched to learn and implement what is needed.

Content will cover:
• Planning for change
• Using examples and setting a framework for the participants to choose a change that is either happening or will happen
• Using new and existing knowledge to effectively plan for change
• Learning the Planning a Change Model
• Determining at what level of the organization change is necessary
• Using the Individual and Problem Complexity model to craft action steps to implement the change.


Session 5: More Leading through Complexity and Change in Action

Overview: Based on the previous two sessions, participants will discuss questions, challenges, successes and lessons learned. This time will serve as a facilitated learning community to talk about what participants have applied and developed to increase their agency and their own management through complexity and change.


Session 6: Using Complexity and Change Models to Develop the Next Level of Organizational Leaders

Overview: Any organization will rise only to the level of the skills of its leadership. Succession planning and the ability to recognize, train, and develop the future leaders is necessary for the longevity of the organization. Employees who are able plan through times of complexity and change must be identified and placed on a development track to take the organization into the future. From the preceding sessions, participants have gained the knowledge of individual, informational, and problem complexity.

Content will cover:
• How to use this information to create succession plans
• How to determine who has the potential to handle higher levels of complexity and change
• How to hire and determine, based upon the role within the organization, which employees are able to effectively managed complexity and change.

It is critical that current leadership leave a strong legacy of the proper people, in the proper roles, handling the complexity and change that is necessary for the organization to thrive.