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Managing Complexity starts with the Front Line Worker


 Managing Complexity starts with the Front Line Worker as much as at the Board Room

While mis-judgements at Board level receive attention in the critical press, with concerned investors, and regulatory agencies, nowhere is the importance of “managing complexity” demonstrated better than when front line workers or their managers make decisions (with or without thought) that impact adversely on the reputation of the endeavour.   In no time, chatter on such matters can become viral on social media, diverse groups become “interested” joining the clamour, and the business has a totally avoidable emergency on its hands, occupying inordinate attention of senior management or board, costs of containment or recovery, flow-on impacts and lost value.

Examples will spring readily to mind for us all. See the LinkedIn group "Managing Complexity (socio-technical systems and endeavours)"


For example, when the VW alleged cheating scandal (apparently an open secret internally) broke through the organisation boundaries, it was seen first as a "corporate compliance" and legal issue.  However, the clamour was quickly joined by environmental and climate change advocates, consumer protection regulators, and investor relations interests - this is certainly not a criticism, simply another observation of how issues escalate when disparate groups become opportunistic "allies".



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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Management Consultants - practical, effective management in "hyper-complex" situations - systems vulnerable to opportunistic disruption - socio-technical, complex-adaptive system models - strategy, solutions, governance, contracts - risk and quality in infrastructure, dynamic, "end-to-end" value chains for government, business, non-profits; leadership, decision making and learning; history, qualifications.



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