Part 1

Universal Patterns of Leading in Uncertain Times

How do some people, organizations, and coalitions thrive in uncertain times? What enables them to appear so certain and take decisive action amid ambiguity about the future?

Yogi Berra was right when he said, “The future ain't what it used to be.” Not much else is certain these days. Steady state now is changing at the speed of the environment. This frightens, overwhelms, and immobilizes some people. For others, this global reset is a thrill ride and they want a front seat. If this sounds like you, the PRIMES in Part 1 will get you outfitted to “make your dent in the universe.”

Here's the deal. Almost all the tame problems have been solved. We get to solve the wicked problems. Wicked problems affect a lot of people and it takes a lot of people, all with their own agendas, to collaborate and solve them. In this context, “a lot” means more than seven. When fewer than seven people can solve a problem, even if it is technically complex, they can self-organize and get the job done. Once the group size exceeds seven, the social dynamic switches from small group behavior to large group behavior. Large groups quickly become dysfunctional, are unsustainable, and do not produce meaningful, lasting outcomes unless led. Sorry to break this news to all you “new agers,” but I have tried almost every trendy idea about emergent and self-organizing systems over the last three decades, and have concluded that groups with more than seven members ...

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