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Meet the Author with Michael Cheveldave and Gary Wong

By Tamara Parris
Published: August 27, 2021
Key Takeaways

Are you good at “using a hammer” and seeing all safety issues as “nails”? What if the issue isn’t a nail but a screw?

Join us for another session of Meet the Author with Author Michael Cheveldave who will be discussing a “Cynefin Approach” to Leading Safety in Organizations with member Gary Wong and Tamara Parris.

In this episode Michael Cheveldave and Gary Wong discuss their contribution to the book "CYNEFIN: Weaving Sense-making into the Fabric of our World" Chapter: A Cynefin Approach to Leading Safety in Organizations.


Are you good at “using a hammer” and seeing all safety issues as “nails”? What if the issue isn’t a nail but a screw? Do you continue to pound away? How can one stop hammering the screw and inadvertently inflicting serious damage? Michael Cheveldave will be discussing a “Cynefin Approach” to Leading Safety in Organizations.

We will be looking at questions such as; Do you struggle setting safety targets in an unpredictable future? How can one manage the Present to create a new direction of travel more important than creating false expectations about how things could be in the Future?


00:48:17David de Jong:Rosa I just read your article Complexity and Safety, also about sensemaking, absolutely loved it.
00:49:47Rosa Carrillo:Thank you David de Jong—Geller wrote several pieces panning it. : )
00:53:06Rosa Carrillo:Would Covid at least initially be a chaos example?
00:55:20David de Jong:I believe there is a difference in how we perceive which domain we are in and the actual reality.
01:07:09Jeremy George:Its interesting to map COVID response onto the CYNEFIN model for our company was that the removal of workers from the traditional environment (remote work) actually translated to a more stable environment for the workers who had to come in (operations). Because of the physical removal of function management from tip of the spear workers, they were able to focus on their jobs and safety
01:07:19David Day:Does Cynefin convert signals from a chaotic situation into a recognizable, emerging problem that will likely come at us in the near future?
01:09:00Tamara Parris:Great question David Day
01:09:42Rosa Carrillo:@Jeremy That is something I heard many times. Management can create lack of clarity when they are on site.
01:16:43David de Jong:Dave Snowden wrote a lot about that topic on his blog
01:21:44Rosa Carrillo:David de Jong. can you send a link?
01:22:28David de Jong:I forgot which one it precisely was but here is the link
01:23:21David de Jong:
01:23:36David de Jong:Also MassSense which is interesting
01:27:18David de Jong:the actions/perceived domain really depend on the level of acceptance of uncertainty in the group I believe
01:29:41Rosa Carrillo:Level of acceptance of uncertainty?
01:30:22David de Jong:or maybe embracing uncertainty
01:30:57Rosa Carrillo:Does that affect the level of complexity David de Jong?
01:31:44David de Jong:Not at all, I believe that even in complex situations rules and regulations can also work
01:31:48Jeremy George:Gary, why does the thought of trial and error or experimentation get perceived as weakness of leadership? How do we change that perception? Humble approach
01:32:12David de Jong:But it doesn’t say the situation is not complex
01:33:02David de Jong:It’s thinking based on Hofstede cultural dimension of uncertainty avoidance
01:38:25Jeremy George:You all are so wise, thank you for answering my question
01:43:47malcolm.jacobs:I have not formly used Cynefin as a tool in our business management, and you have set me on a path of research and looking apply this as tool
01:44:03Jeremy George:you guys are great, thank you Tamara

Our Guest

Michael Cheveldave, Owner of the Sensemaking Partner


Michael is co-author of the chapter in the book we are discussed. Michael was VP at Cognitive Edge and has now launched Sensemaking Partners.

He is also a master trainer and facilitator in Cognitive Edge methods and in the application of narrative and sense-making to complexity and uncertainty.


Contact: [email protected]


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Written by Tamara Parris

Profile Picture of Tamara Parris

Tamara Parris is the VP of Community and Business Development at Safeopedia, and owner of EHS Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Her passion is working with other EHS Professionals to collaborate in thought leadership, networking and connecting our industry peers to resources that will increase profitability and safety practices within their workplaces. Tamara has been in the Health and Safety field for over 20 years, her industry experiences include the Construction sector, CCTV and Security, and Commercial Retail industries.

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