I’m enjoying and making sense of Dan Russell’s posts on sensemaking:
What’s always struck me about sensemaking behavior is this: People just don’t seem to be all that good at it. They take notes on the topic, then never go over them, or lose them in the shuffle of life.
I resonate with that. I’ve learnt a couple of approaches to make sense of where I am, where the organisation is, and where it’s context is, for instance systems thinking tools such as the Cynefin model. Whenever I’m confronted with a problem, I may or may not reach for my tools. Often, I get stuck in a situation, and _then_ reach for my tools and think “why did I not think of that before…”
For instance, I’m working on a product where the self-organizing team has not been able to agree on a direction and a planning method for a while. I look at the context – it is new product development, something like whatever we are going to make does not exist. If I get the Cynefin model out of the box, we find ourselves in the “Complex” domain, where cause and effect are only coherent in retrospect and do not repeat. The appropriate approach (according to the Cynefin model) is to create a bunch of products instead of one.
So it may not be a wonder that the team can’t agree on an approach – we shouldn’t. We are not blind men looking at different sides of an elephant – we are looking at several elephants, and each may require their own approach…