Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders

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Stanford University Press, Feb 25, 2015 - Business & Economics - 272 pages

When faced with complex challenges or uncertain outcomes, many leaders believe that if they are smart enough, work hard enough, or turn to the best management tools, they will be able to find the right answer, predict and plan for the future, and break down tasks to produce controllable results. But what are leaders to do when this isn't the case?

Rather than offering one-size-fits-all tips and tricks drawn from the realm of business as usual, Simple Habits for Complex Times provides three integral practices that enable leaders to navigate the unknown. By taking multiple perspectives, asking different questions, and seeing more of their system, leaders can better understand themselves, their roles, and the world around them. They can become more nimble, respond with agility, and guide their organizations to thrive in an ever-shifting business landscape. The more leaders use these simple habits, the more they enhance their performance and solve increasingly common, sticky business issues with greater acumen.

Whether in large or small organizations, in government or the private sector, in the U.S. or overseas, leaders will turn to this book as a companion that helps them grow into the best version of themselves.


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Excellent book!
Allows readers to make sense of complexity in their organisations and provides a novel approach to dealing with uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and volatility.


Chapter 1 Leading the Possible
Chapter 2 Engage with Complexity but Keep It Simple
Chapter 3 Say What You Think Listening to the Ways You Might Be Wrong
Chapter 4 Create a Clear Vision for an Unclear Future
Chapter 5 Make Rational Use of Human Irrationality
Chapter 6 Communicate Your Certainty About Uncertainty
Chapter 7 Grow Your People to Be Bigger Than Your Problems
Chapter 8 Lead Changes as the New Normal

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About the author (2015)

Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnston are founding partners of Cultivating Leadership, a global leadership consultancy. Jennifer is the author of Changing on the Job (Stanford, 2011). Keith is the former Global Chair of Oxfam International. Follow them on

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