Missing the Warning Signs - Why Leaders Can Fail so Spectacularly and What You Can Do About It

Event factfile

Date of event: 27 March 2014
Event ends: 27 March 2014
Start time: 10:30
End time: 17:30
Price: Henley Partnership Members
Missing the Warning Signs - Why Leaders Can Fail so Spectacularly and What You Can Do About It

Using a provocative title, this expert in complexity and ambiguity examines how to identify patterns in change to leverage opportunities and mitigate risk.

In a complex world, organisations continuously evolve. Leaders, therefore, lead in the midst of change. They have no unique vantage point, no brakes to stop change while they make sense of it, and no reverse gear. With all the ‘noise’ in organisations, it can be tempting to focus on planned aspects of change through projects, programmes and initiatives. But this creates dangerous blind spots, so that leaders can miss weak signals about emerging opportunities and problems. When unintended consequences arise, or we fail to leverage opportunities, we ask why all those warning signs, which seem so obvious with hindsight, were missed.

In the past, we’ve been able to comfort ourselves that, with good planning, spectacular failures and missed opportunities probably won’t happen on our watch. But in a more connected and dynamic world, that’s a highly risky strategy.

Dr Sharon Varney, an experienced change leader herself, offers a unique approach to working with organisational complexity during change. It is both highly practical and grounded in rigorous research, which offers new insight into patterns of emergent organisational change. Paying attention to these patterns can help leaders to identify the unexpected much sooner – enabling them to leverage the possibilities and mitigate potential problems.

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For more information please contact Mark Swain by email at hp@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 1491 418 855.