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Making sense in complexity

We hear from business leaders that they struggle to get into a way of thinking with their teams that is not determined by the state of exception.

It’s not really surprising: We live in a time when the unimaginable has become normal. Crisis thinking has put a veil over many areas of life, so that we lack clarity in general. We also know: It is in the exchange between people that a jigsaw puzzle of information comes to life.

There are more aspects why we struggle to free up our minds:

  • In complexity, we do not find cause-effect relationships
  • We have difficulty in looking behind the scenes
  • And while information overflow captivates us, it takes a conscious effort to take a step into the future.

The hope is to create meaningful encounters. Sense-making sessions are a communicative way to do this by replacing factual knowledge with attention.


Here is the instruction:

Step 1: Choose a complex topic and invite a group of stakeholders to discuss it!

In direct exchange with others you begin to understand their perspectives.

We regularly do this with teams when we need to identify the intention for a change project – often a topic that remains ambiguous. It’s also important to have the leader and potentially other stakeholders in the room.

Step 2: Do several rounds of breakout sessions with different contexts!

The biggest mistake is outsourcing difficult issues to committees and expert panels.

Many people think that only professionals can give an informed answer. However, complex issues require taking a bird’s eye view, looking at the situation from different angles (contexts). All we need, is our full attention to engage in complex situations through sensing.

Step 3: Share your observations freely and without bias!

There is a huge benefit in harvesting your feelings and experiences – yet, it’s necessary to keep an open end. There is most likely no right or wrong answer to complex questions:)

All three steps line up, because they ensure a high quality of communication that allows for completely new solutions that you would not have thought possible before.

Ready to join our next sense-making session

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