Vlada Lakcevic started his career in strategy consulting under the leadership of Tim Hough, former Managing Partner of Bain & Company’s Johannesburg office. Through his career experience, he has effectively engaged with stakeholders throughout the life cycle of consulting projects, from the sales process to implementation where necessary. He has presented to Board-level Executives and has worked collaboratively with culturally and functionally diverse teams across 14 different countries.
Since joining NIBC he has worked closely with ExCo members to lead strategy and organisational design projects that have reshaped the organisation and continue to work in identifying and implementing organisational bottlenecks that may impede their strategic intent.
In his recent podcast discussion with Exponentially Me, Vlada discusses his insights into leadership and relationships and why he defines organisations as complex adaptive systems.
Vlada believes that businesses or organisations should be defined as complex adaptive systems that have certain characteristics that shape the behaviour of an overarching system. And he says that this should resonate with the view of how to deal with leadership in complex adaptive systems.
Vlada highlights a few key points to build understanding of what a complex adaptive system is. The first, he says, is characterised by a large number of individual components or agents, and these agents act independently by following a simple system of rules. But by and large, each one makes their own choices.
He also explains that when we think about an organisation, we need to consider that organisations have people, they’re all there and they all follow some rules or laws in how they perform their day to day jobs. We also need to consider that these people in teams have some independence where they’ll be required to make judgement calls on a day to day basis.
According to Vlada, another feature of a complex adaptive system is that no leader or individual is able to actually fully coordinate the actions of others. He says you can influence it, but you cannot fully coordinate this. And that this is where the importance of relationship starts becoming clear – there is a need for a leader.
Based on this understanding, Vlada firmly believes that the best you can hope for is to influence the behaviours of the individuals in your organisation, and to get the system to move the way you want it to move, or the way you envision it moving.
He uses the analogy of the carrot and the stick and says that it is the relationship part that matters because sometimes you have to use the carrot and other times you have to use the stick, and that you can be using one or the other consistently.
Vlada says that this is where the idea of leadership and relationships comes into place. Vlada passionately believes that to be leader of a complex adaptive system in today’s world, you have to be humble enough to know that you alone cannot drive the system, you need the collective.