26 July 2021

Episode 004: The Four Stages of Crisis with Dave Snowden
Managing Constraints in Complex Systems and Future-Proofing with Sense-Making


Welcome to another episode of The Thinking Leader podcast, brought to you by Red Team Thinking. In this episode, your host Bryce Hoffman talks to Dave Snowden about how a four-stage approach can help leaders better manage complexity and why smaller, adaptive systems initiate change to improve your position. 

Dave Snowden is a world-renowned expert in the field of knowledge management who is most famous for creating the Cynefin framework. He is the founder and chief scientific officer for Cognitive Edge, a consulting firm specializing in complexity and sensemaking, and is also the author of several publications, including Managing Complexity and Chaos in Times of Crisis, recently published in conjunction with the European Union.


“Good leaders hardly ever make decisions. It's generally a sign of failure if you've got to do that.” – Dave Snowden

Top 10 Takeaways:


[2:38] The role of the leader in times of crisis.

[6:19] Constraints are the only thing you can manage in a complex system. 

[9:20] Trioptican and the benefits of creating a human sensor network to act faster.

[12:00] The Cynefin Framework – what it is and where it comes from.

[16:15] Distinctions between Complexity and Systems Thinking leadership styles.

[20:55] The problem with big consulting companies.

[27:27] Can processes change culture? 

[30:15] A complexity-based approach to design thinking.

[31:17] Bryce and Dave talk about how companies can respond to negative publicity.

[38:19] How do you get leaders to move beyond short-term thinking?


Mentioned in this Episode:


Brought to you by Red Team Thinking

Cynefin Framework

Cognitive Edge

Managing Complexity and Chaos in Times of Crisis, by Dave Snowden


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