Who is William Donaldson?

Entrepreneur. Beloved Professor. Systems Thinker.

Dr. William (Willy) Donaldson is a Professor of Management at the Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business at Christopher Newport University. Willy has over 30 years of experience as a Board member and President and has been CEO of 8 companies including a publicly traded company and an international joint venture. Willy is the Founder and President of Strategic Venture Planning, a management-consulting firm that assists boards, investors, and senior management teams maximize results. His experience runs from start-up to International 50 companies, private and public companies, from services to manufacturing, from low to high tech and from for profit to not for profit. He is a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering, where he chairs the Enterprise Systems working group worldwide.

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About Simple_Complexity


A Management Book for the Rest of Us 

Every manager knows a business is a system, yet very few have studied systems thinking or system dynamics. This is a critical oversight, one which Simple_Complexity remedies. Simple_Complexity reveals the fundamental system archetype at work in your enterprise and prescribes new and exciting ways to re-invigorate your management thinking. Picking up where the greats in management thought leave off, Simple_Complexity provides a systems context that powerfully enriches traditional management thought and practice.



38 real business lessons shared from William’s experience clarify ideas throughout the book


Graphics and charts help you visualize each concept as efficiently as possible


William calls out times to beware hidden threats and behold unchartered opportunities in the system

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Releases March 7, 2017

What do others think about Simple_Complexity?

Eric Dean | CEO, Whereoware

“This simple and compelling book is a gift to those of us who have wrestled with the relationship between simple ideas and the complexity inherent in a modern enterprise. Managing and growing a business is a hard thing, with progress often hindered by unseen forces.  Finally, we have a guide that introduces system thinking, thereby demystifying the management process and helping you see your entire situation and a clear path forward.”

Michael Fraser | President & CEO, National Technologies Associates, Inc

“Simple_Complexity will push your thinking about organizations and the people who manage and populate them to a new level. You will never view organizations in the same way again.”

Taylor Grant | Founder and Managing Partner, Fox Three Partners

“As a private equity professional and serial board member, I work with management teams to help grow their companies. To succeed as a leader and manager, you need an holistic view of how the enterprise works. For that, there is simply no better guide than Simple_Complexity. We enjoyed this book so much that we integrated it into the training, planning and execution processes we use when working with our portfolio companies."

Steve Franzese | Professional Director and Former Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Marketing Executive at Apple, Phillips, GE, Sonic Wall

“Do not read this book if you don't have the time or inclination to think seriously about your organization. If you want recipes and platitudes, go elsewhere. But, if you do invest the time and energy, be prepared for transformational results.”

Nathan Harter | Leadership Scholar and Author of Foucault on Leadership, Leadership and Coherence, and Clearings in the Forest

“The delight one experiences upon getting to know Willy Donaldson, as I have, carries over into this practical little book on leadership. Here is someone with (a) real-world experience, (b) advanced academic credentials, and (c) a humble spirit, and he is willing to do one thing: he translates fresh ideas from systems thinking into language that anyone with a lick of ambition can understand and use. Where it takes you is up to you, of course, but with these tools in Donaldson's book, the sky's the limit...”

“All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting”

-Tom Northup

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