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Leadership and Transformation Require a Taste for Complexity 

Complexity science is often invoked when trying to explain the changes in healthcare delivery and healthcare business.  Complexity theory can also help us through personal transformation and leadership development.  Here are five principles of complexity theory to consider as you make your way along your path: 

1.      View your system through the lens of complexity, in addition to the metaphor of a machine or a military organization---uncover and work with paradox and tension, rather than shying away from them as if they were unnatural.

2.      Build a good-enough vision and provide minimum specifications, rather than trying to plan out every little detail.

3.      When life is far from certain, lead from the edge; that is, balance data and intuition, planning and acting, safety and risk, giving due honor to each.

4.      Go for multiple actions at the fringes, letting direction arise, rather than believing that you must be sure before proceeding with anything.

5.       Grow complex systems by chunking---allowing complex systems to emerge out of the links among simple systems that work well and are capable of operating independently. 

For more on Complexity Theory, read:  Edgeware: insights from complexity science for healthcare leaders, by Zimmerman, Lindberg and Plsek 

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, Business Consultant and Executive Coach for Healthcare Leaders francine@physicianleadership.com (206) 686-4205


Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   2006 Ki Health, Inc.