Johnnie Moore

See what happens

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

I’ve just read Dave Snowden’s summary about managing complex problems. It reminds me of the principles of Improv. These are fresh in my mind from the Banff conference last week.

In Banff there were quite a few discussions about the notion of failure. In improv one of the biggest impediments to performance is the fear of failure – or getting distracted by perceptions of not doing well. We tried different ways to address this: should we celebrate it? fail more often? or maybe not use the word failure at all? Dave talks about safe:fail.

Anyway, the gist of this approach to complex systems – whether that’s being on stage in a scene or tackling some horrendous organisational issue – is to try stuff and see what happens. It’s an approach puts less emphasis on prediction or efforts to map the past onto an emerging future. “See what happens”, keeps our options open. We can stay away from too rigidly predicting success or failure: those predictions tend to close our eyes to the multiple ripples from our stone in the pond. (I think of the old joke about the surgeon saying, “The operation was a complete success, although unfortunately the patient died.) See what happens is an invitation to be open to the detail of what emerges.

It’s interesting to try small interventions and see a ripple effect. Sometimes when coaching, I’m tempted to give the client several ideas on what to do differently. I generally now try one thing and see what happens. For instance, if we’re practicing a difficult conversation with a colleague, I might say, Try that again, only this time focus attention on how tense or relaxed your shoulders are. Very often, all sorts of aspects of the performance change.

There is some judgement about what I choose for the focus of attention: it’s generally based on some intuition or experience of something which will improve the performance. I find people often do better at difficult challenges when they’re less tense and not trying so hard. This closely relates to the ideas of The Inner Game, blogged the other day. After this experiment, we can reflect on what changed and see what we want to support and what we’d like to lose. That’s the spirit of Dave’s approach of “probing and sensing”.

Share Post

More Posts

Fluke

There’s more potential in each moment than we realise

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations

Aliveness

Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

Valuing networks

Roland Harwood at NESTA has written a really excellent post: Connecting dots and valuing networks. He manages to articulate several things I passionately believe and throws in some useful maths

Johnnie Moore

Four practices

Nice post by Michael Herman: Four practices Practice of opening Practice of holding Practice of inviting Practice of practicing I’m adding this to my collection of Simple ideas, lightly held.

Johnnie Moore

I’m here… angry and anxious

The terrorists have returned to London. I’m working from home this morning so relatively secure. And news travels ultra-fast – but is also confused and rumour-laden. Already I’ve had people

a tractor parked in front of what appears to be a white-walled chapel

Farmer Joe

Why we should be careful about the stories we invent about each other (and advice for teams)