The Company’s “Management in Five Acts” graphic features in a new book by the University of Hertfordshire’s Head of Leadership and Organisational Development, Kevin Flinn. Entitled Leadership Development – A complexity perspective, the book presents a radical challenge to conventional leadership development methodologies. In a welcome contrast to the usual offerings, Flinn presents an approach rooted in people’s everyday lived experience of organizational life.
In relation to the framework, he says, “Chris Rodgers’ ‘Management in Five Acts’ framework [below] illustrates how removed and abstract the models that we find ourselves referring and deferring to on conventional leadership development programmes are from our day-to-day experience.”
As suggested in the diagram, a wide gap exists between what we are persistently told we should be doing (Act 4) and what we actually find ourselves doing in practice (Act 1). As we each “act forwards into a continuously emerging and unknowable future”, we draw on a range of cues as to how we might best make sense of what’s going on and perform skilfully in the moment. As part of this, we often feel under pressure to act in line with the ‘evidence’ claimed in Act 3, and to embrace the neatly-packaged prescriptions and promises offered in Act 4. This colours the ways in which our ‘acting forwards’ plays out in practice. Most significantly, it diverts attention away from the reality of what we – and those around us – are actually doing, as we continue to participate in this ongoing process. This inevitably limits the insights that we might otherwise have gained from paying closer attention to our actual experience. And so the illusion continues. However, despite this, we continue to do the only thing that we – and everyone else – can do (Act 5). That is, we act forwards, moment-by-moment…
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