We are delighted to see Deborah Ancona, Director of the MIT Leadership Center at the MIT Sloan School of Management acknowledging sensemaking as a key aspect of leadership in her post entitled The Elements of Good Leadership.
“Today’s leaders need the ability to make sense of complex environments. Sensemaking — the ability to make sense of what’s going on in a changing and complex environment — is a particularly important predictor of leadership effectiveness right now, Ancona explained. Sensemaking in business (a term drawn from the works of Karl Weick) requires executives to let go of their old mental models and some of their core assumptions; to take in data from a wide variety of sources; to use the information they have to construct, with others, a “map” of what they think is going on; and to verify and update the map — in part by conducting small experiments that provide the organization with more information.”
We love Karl Weick’s work and consider him to be among a small group of inspirational pioneers. We are often asked how Weick’s work relates to what Humantific does today. We point out that professional sensemakers did not and do not exist in the Weick’s universe. Writing in a somewhat vertical way, Karl seems to have been unaware of the parallel universe of visual sensemaking that already existed at the time of his first writings (see below). Today organizational leaders have the opportunity to accelerate sensemaking and build sensemaking capacity by collaborating with professional sensemakers. At Humantific we link SenseMaking to ChangeMaking. This linkage is fundamental to how we help organizational leaders drive change in organizations.
Understanding Social SenseMaking
Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to the Social SenseMaking Group on Facebook explaining how 21st century SenseMaking and Social SenseMaking in particular differ from Karl Weick’s SenseMaking.