Managing Complex Work

 Next date and venue tbd

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." — H.L. Mencken

The Nature of Work

A lot has been written about the nature of work, with particular focus in the past few decades on new product ideation and development in the information technology arena. This kind of work, sometimes referred to as knowledge work, is generally divided into four or five categories, ranging from simple through complex to chaotic, with advice offered as to how each different type of work should be managed. The Stacey matrix and the Cynefin framework are two approaches that may be familiar. While such models attempt to provide clarity they may equally have the opposite effect. Furthermore, even if well-understood, they are far from definitive, and should be approached with caution. After all, whether a system is simple, complicated or complex often depends on your viewpoint, on where you are standing. Sometimes we forget that nuance.

A different way to view systems is to use the metaphors of machine and organism. Is your system objective or subjective, predictable or unpredictable, defined or emergent? Are you adjusting screws or watering plants?

Managing Complex Work will open with the proposition that knowledge work—indeed any kind of creative work—dwells in the organic realm. It is in understanding the nature of organic systems that we can better approach the kinds of technological and organisational problems we face in today's workplace, and learn methods of management and guidance that truly supports such work.

Workshop Outcomes

This workshop does not attempt to provide another model, framework or diagram. If such an outcome occurs it will be through the work of the participants, and not imposed. A more important and useful outcome will be a different way of thinking about systems. Stepping back from all the jargon and imposed solutions will allow the participants to more gracefully explore the space, from their own shared experience and perspective, departing, I hope, a little lighter, a little more hopeful than when they entered.

Who is it for?

This workshop is designed for anyone concerned with structural change, whether in a team, a department or across an entire organisation. We identify certain types of role with such work, e.g. coaches, change agents, and perhaps managers and executives. But meaningful, deep-rooted change sometimes must come from the grass roots of an organisation, and therefore any worker, in any role will benefit from this work—providing they seek a better working life.

About the Facilitator

Tobias Mayer has been facilitating groups for almost thirty years using an emergent, exploratory and somatic style. This workshop will utilise methods from many disciplines, including art, theatre, socratic dialog, and other immersive techniques. No pre-work is required but full, whole-hearted participant engagement is essential on the day.

Workshop Availability

This workshop is currently not scheduled. If you're interested please check back here in a week or two for updates.

If you'd like to host this workshop, or offer it privately within your organisation please get in touch. Pricing is flexible according to organisational status and ability to pay.

Contact Information

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  • Page last updated: 20/01/2020