My corporate clients are in a panic. Their business reality, as they knew it before mid September 2008, has shifted. Companies with strong cash reserves are holding back on spending. Companies without strong cash reserves are shedding employees and cutting capital expenditures. The rules of the game have changed. Yet, we all know that some firms will not only survive, but thrive during these shifting times. What will make the difference?
I recently conducted a rigorous research study on how key stakeholders in an organization make sense of a seemingly intractable complex challenge exacerbated by human dynamics issues. The current economic mess is a wicked tangle because it involves multiple stakeholders, each with a different view of the situation. Each stakeholder not only has their own interests, but also a different idea of how the situation should be solved. The photo above gives a snapshot of the myriad of stakeholders enmeshed in this wicked tangle. When faced with wicked corporate tangles, it is helpful to draw a picture of all of the stakeholders, and identify their positions and underlying interests.