Managing the unexpected

November 8th, 2012

In a time of uncertainty we need management tools to help us navigate in a world with constant change and unpredictability. This requires mindfulness. But not mindfulness as most of us probably associates with mindfulness. What I am talking about here is the kind of mindfulness that makes you agile, vigiliant, aware, ready to act in an instant, on the outlook for small signs of weaknesses or failures in your systems and curious to constantly learn from failures and successes in the organization.

In the book I am in the process of writing with Clarissa Hoff Corneliussen, we define a mindful organization as an organization which:


  • Have a clear & inspirational vision and a sustainable & humane intention
  • Constantly look for changes and tracks small failures in their workprocesses
  • Work in a focused and disciplined manner around a common goal
  • Build up resiliance to keep high-performance and ability to act in an instant when circumstances change or a crisis occur
  • Keep a ‘beginners mind’ towards workprocesses and relations – both inside and outside the company
  • Regularly self-evaluate and learn from failures and successes
  • Challenge basic assumptions within the organization in order to find the most lean, agile and sustainable way to proceed

The above definition is inspired by especially three books:


  • Managing the unexpected by Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M.Sutcliffe
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and
  • Repeatability by Chris Zook and James Allen


Read them Рor our new book, which will be out on the streets in March 2013 Рif you want to learn more about how to manage in uncertain times Р with a sustainable and innovative vision. And/or look at this speech by Eric Ries on the Lean Startup Principles: