Getting a grip on complexity

Ron Lindstrom

School of Leadership Studies Prof. Ronald Lindstrom explores how complexity links leadership and health system performance in a Longwoods essay authored jointly with Hugh MacLeod.

Lindstrom and MacLeod suggest health care leaders resist simplifying complex matters.  Here is an excerpt: 

"Complexity asks, how do things assemble themselves? Complexity looks at interacting elements and asks how do they form patterns and how do the patterns unfold given patterns may never be finished because they are open-ended. In healthcare this kind of inquiry can create reaction: traditional science does not like perpetual novelty. Newtonian laws are supposed to be unchanging. The question is whether we, as leaders, contribute to the complexity. Far too often we apply simple solutions to complex challenges. And then we are surprised that we have only scratched the surface and pulled the wrong levers."

Read the entire essay.