Winning (over) Asymmetry

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Sometimes we over-simplify when communicating. That creates asymmetry, potential confusion, and imbalance in our communication channels.

The symmetry of the n*(n-1)/2 Formula

The following picture has popped up in my LinkedIn feed multiple times during the last month:

Brooke’s Law

The underlying assumption in this formula is that communications are perfect. And this results in the beautiful symmetry displayed in the picture above.

This is a great picture for demonstrating how things get complicated very quickly. However, it oversimplifies the chaos and complexity we are facing when trying to influence the direction of the organization.

Not everyone is willing to give/receive communication and make a new decision (that is, “change their minds”) based on new information. That’s one additional facet that needs to be added to the formula.

There is no asymmetry factored into the communication channels (that’s the real world). This picture for Brooke’s Law assumes that there is no “noise” between the nodes and that the communication capabilities are equal. They are not.

The connections are asymmetrical due to imbalances in power, communication, politics, and capabilities.

Communications and relationships become noisy, complex, and chaotic very quickly
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Everyone believes their individual “triangle” is perfectly balanced (it’s not). But for illustration purposes, we’ll begin with everyone as a perfect triangle.

For the team part of this picture, it’s clear that everyone’s “triangle” is shaped differently (and thus everyone is asymmetric). And it is the areas of overlap in the triangles where both communication and friction occur in our teams and products.

Layer multiple teams (and all the asymmetry included in each of those) into the organization and that becomes noisy, complex, and chaotic very quickly.

For a high-level walk through, check out my video (it’s 12.5 minutes long) that shows you how to not only mitigate or eliminate asymmetry, but how to leverage it to win:

Copyright © 1972 – 2022 Kallman AB all rights reserved

It’s time to take it out of our books, blogs, training, and videos and start using the eighteen mindsets, included in Guerilla Leadership, today! 

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