What a shower….. of influence

The cascade effect.

Do you realise how influential you are? Do you think about the impact of what you’re saying on others?

It is widely recognised our world is becoming more complex and uncertain, but it is human nature to try to neaten rough edges and strive for order and gain the appearance of control. In situations of high complexity you cannot simply tidy it away or plan your way out of the inevitable ambiguity. Those who thrive in complex environments embrace it and learn to navigate the resulting tensions. To help, we need to notice and recognise whether some of this tension is self inflicted.

Are you helping simplify your environment or are you unwittingly creating more, unnecessary tension?

I started a new job few years ago which involved bringing together a lot of information from many different sources. My team and I received direction and advice from other influential government departments on how to present this information. Sadly (and frequently) this advice conflicted or different people wished for greater emphasis on a particular element over another.

How often do we unknowingly amplify existing complexity by driving our own agenda or simply broadcasting our opinions without asking whether those affected are also influenced by others? I recently spoke to someone with significant influence in my organisation who stated there should be less emphasis on a particular theme of work. The next day I read a document confirming that very theme is actually a key strategic outcome. I wonder how many people that person has influenced with an opinion counter to aims of the department.

How often do you stop to think whether you create unnecessary tension?

How do you create the environment where people feel safe and trusted to point it out?

People who think this doesn’t apply to them are likely to be those to whom it definitely does. I suggest anyone who shows the self awareness and humility to think about their effect on others is probably embracing the discomfort of the rough edges already.




Trust, accountability & humility. High performing environments in technical, highly complex orgs

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Trust, accountability & humility. High performing environments in technical, highly complex orgs

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