Organizations must become more adaptive and creative. It’s hard to argue with that statement as we look at the forces impacting organizations today. But becoming more adaptive and innovative requires fundamentally new ways of seeing and engaging the world, not merely applying the latest improvement model.

Perhaps the most critical and difficult part of any effort to improve adaptability is the need for the organization to have the simultaneous presence of balancing and growth systems, of stable and chaotic conditions all at once. It is important to keep in mind that in using the word chaos (or chaotic) we are not talking about the everyday definition, which conjures images of things falling apart and being in total disarray-usually a fairly bad thing. We are using chaos more in the scientific vein, which describes unstable conditions but with an underlying, integrating order.
A number of authors have spoken about the need to be at the “edge of chaos,” where things are just about to fall apart but don’t. This really is the zone of highest adaptability and creativity. But helping leaders understand what it looks like and how to bring it about is sadly neglected. Leaders are told how important it is to find this edge of chaos, but little is provided in the way of useful information about the methods or approaches. A deep inhibitor of creative and adaptive responses is a serious misunderstanding of the nature of paradox, particularly dealing with chaotic conditions.

For the complete article: Center for Simplified Strategic Planning – here.

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