- Wheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organization from an Orderly Universe Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc. 1994
- Rodin, Scott R. The Steward Leader InterVarsity Press 2010
- Sull, Donald and Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015
Additional Information and Resources
- For more information on Simple Rules (also called In-the-Moment Leadership Strategies) see website at neilbakerconsulting.com.
- Subscribers can reference the Resource Guide. If you wish to subscribe for free monthly articles and link to this guide, click on Subscribe. You may unsubscribe at any time.
(text of video)
If culture is essentially the way people work together then in too many workplaces it is hard to see that any kind of fractal or consistent, repeated pattern of behavior is operating. Especially within the complexity and stress of work, human behavior tends to be quite diverse, nonlinear, and messy leading to difficulties such as poor communication, conflict, resistance, and disruptive politics.
In the attempt to achieve more consistency, an all too frequent tendency is to develop a complicated set of rules, procedures, programs, or trainings. But, psychological studies, in situations like workplaces which have many moving parts and unclear links between cause and effect, have indicated that complicated approaches get worse results than using a few simple rules—such as the vision, a set of priorities, and a set of norms for desired behaviors.(3)
When used repeatedly, such rules act like a fractal to guide the emergence of a common pattern of behavior. The most powerful driver for assuring these patterns repeat throughout a team or organization is the way leaders behave. This is the Leadership Fractal—common ways of engaging others based on a few simple rules applied over and over, every day in the flow of work.
Based on evidence and experience, there are simple rules which can generate a high-performing, empowered work culture. More information about these can be accessed with the links provided above.
If we as leaders want to achieve success in this way, three factors are very important: (1) strong commitment to the results and the type of workplace we wish to create, (2) rigorously sustained awareness about our own behavior; and (3) daily practice of simple rules.
The bottom line is that if we don’t like the culture we are seeing, we first have to find a new, simple pattern of behavior and then personally commit it for ourselves.