There are untold levels of interpretation and perspective that shape our meaning, interactions and experiences. Making sense of these levels is the challenge. Understanding the dimensions that are at work, why they exist, and the nuances they bring to what is being said, how it is being said and what remains unsaid is fundamental. The good news is that there is structure at play that can help to uncover undercurrents, build meaning and provide perspective. The secret lies in knowing where to look.
Things are not always as they seem. While this is true enough, it belies a complexity of interaction and meaning that makes up the whole messy, awkward and complicated way that we communicate and collaborate as human beings. We use levels of meaning to obfuscate and deceive. But we also use them to find freedom and agency. Once we understand that, we open up a whole different perspective on power, play and opportunity.
It is a little astonishing how often people presume that change can be forced. In particular, there’s an assumption that all that’s required is for senior management to tell everyone what to do, and they’ll do it. You can try. I guarantee it won’t work; at least, it won’t work for long. Leadership has a role, but it’s not the one you think.
While we have explored what actually constitutes agency, and illustrated it with examples, a fundamental question is how it emerges. How exactly do individuals develop the ability to exercise agency?
I had an interesting discussion with a colleague yesterday. We were discussing the evolution of management practices (as one does over a late Sunday brunch) and I made the observation that there were a number of useful, valuable and entirely relevant management practices that were being explored in the 1990s, that have pretty much since […]
Decision making is a complicated endeavour. It basically involves trying to divine the future, and make a call on what the best strategy based upon uncertain outcomes. That’s never easy, particularly when we want to make the right decision. The one that will play out the way that we want it to. Short of a […]