How can emergent leaders remain effective in an environment that constantly evolves and becomes more complex?
Sensemaking is perceiving, making sense of, and acting upon the environment and events around us. This especially relates to new and unfamiliar stimuli. In business organisations, this helps people prepare for the future, or respond to events for which there are no established rules or policies. Sensemaking is our brain’s response to novel or unexpected stimuli as it integrates new information into our ever-updating world view.
Practicing sensemaking is like using a kaleidoscope. If you shift your lens and perception to bring a complex situation into focus, you’ll better understand the situation, what is sitting on the periphery and where attention should be focused.
Sensemaking is achieved by organising sense data until the environment is understood well enough to enable reasonable decisions. It is the precursor to impactful action. Mapping these shifts and adjustments can build a premise for personal and shared understanding.
Sensemaking is not about setting the view; it is about equipping yourself with a practice of observation, reflection and action. Sensemaking ensures that your team and support network refer to the same map. The map changes over time, but you’ll be amazed at what you discover through this process.
We can meaningfully engage with and steer complex systems rather than simply allowing ourselves to be subjected to them. To do this, we must first hone our sensemaking capability.
Sensemaking enables leaders to better understand what is happening in their environments and respond with appropriate and necessary action. A sensemaking mindset reminds us that it is not just reality that matters, but how problems and situations are interpreted and what solutions are needed.
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