The Invisible Gorilla psychology experiment (http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/gorilla_experiment.html) is interesting because it demonstrates the many ways our brains and our intuitions can deceive us… especially in complex situations.
Even more interesting is the fact that approximately half the people watching this video don’t notice the gorilla. In business, this kind of complexity brings an illusion of knowledge that can actually lead to a mistaken belief that we see and understand more than we do.
What about your high potential leaders? How do they handle complexity? Would they notice the gorilla within the complexity of the frenetic passing drill? Dr. Saj-nicole Joni, CEO of Cambridge International would classify the ones who NOTICE the gorilla as leaders with high Complexity Quotients (CQ). She calls these leaders “one of your most precious resources–and the best candidates for becoming your leaders of the future.”
In her article about complexity in Forbes Magazine (http://www.forbes.com/2006/03/16/pwc-bt-reuters-cx_sj_0316thirdopinion.html) Joni argues that a high CQ is a little recognized but core leadership competency and provides three case studies describing organizations that are successfully managing complexity. Her advice for developing your leaders’ CQ is to expose them to “a wide range of challenges and experiences–not all of them successful–that teach you to see things from all sides. New, uncomfortable challenges force you to learn to read people, cultures and nuances, which are critical leadership skills when faced with complexity.”