Essay on A Leader's Framework to Decision Making

5356 Words Sep 9th, 2013 22 Pages
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Wise executives tailor their approach to fit the complexity of the circumstances they face.

A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone

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Wise executives tailor their approach to fit the complexity of the circumstances they face.

A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone

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In January 1993, a gunman murdered seven people in a fast-food restaurant in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago. In his dual roles as an administrative executive and spokesperson for the police department, Deputy Chief Walter Gasior suddenly had to cope with several
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Four of these—simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic—require leaders to diagnose situations and to act in contextually appropriate ways. The fifth—disorder—applies when it is unclear which of the other four contexts is predominant. Using the Cynefin framework can help executives sense which context they are in so that they can not only make better decisions but also avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes. In this article, we focus on the first four contexts, offering examples and suggestions about how to lead and make appropriate decisions in each of them. Since the complex domain is much more prevalent in the business world than most leaders realize—and requires different, often counterintuitive, responses—we concentrate particularly on that context. Leaders who understand that the world is often irrational and unpredictable will find the Cynefin framework particularly useful.

Simple Contexts: The Domain of Best Practice
Simple contexts are characterized by stability and clear cause-and-effect relationships that

are easily discernible by everyone. Often, the right answer is self-evident and undisputed. In this realm of “known knowns,” decisions are unquestioned because all parties share an understanding. Areas that are little subject to change, such as problems with order processing and fulfillment, usually belong here. Simple contexts, properly assessed, require straightforward management and

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