Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Leadership in Chaotic Environments

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Leadership in Chaotic Environments"— Presentation transcript:

1 Leadership in Chaotic Environments
John and Jo Lee Loveland Link VOLVOX Inc. Systems Dynamics Specialists

2 Outline Chaos and Complexity Paradigm CHAOS Inc. ™
Road to Complex Adaptive Systems Feedback Chaos: Stages of Equilibrium Leadership Case Example: Chaordic System -- VISA Chaotic Times: What is a Leader to do?

3 Chaos and Complexity Paradigm
Appeal of chaos and complexity science: Brings together disciplines as never before since “philosophy” meant “all learning” Risk of applying chaos and complexity science for organizational applications: Human systems have a special set of dynamics distinct and unlike physical systems

4 CHAOS Inc.™ A table-top game originally developed as research tool to examine chaos and complexity dynamics in organizations. No pre-determined outcome. Production organization is subjected to chaotic events. Participants redesign organization and examine what works or not. Continues as leadership tool to discover “fitness landscapes” in turbulent environments

5 CHAOS Inc.™ - Results Outcomes: As various as the groups who have experienced the exercise Many participants decree: “The only realistic workshop I’ve ever encountered”! Challenges are real and stimulate a myriad of creative solutions

6 The Road to Complex Adaptive Systems
Linear systems: Rules governing behavior do not change and low number of variables Complicated Linear Systems: Rules don’t change but may exhibit very complicated behaviors; however, these systems are (at least somewhat) predictable) Complex Adaptive Systems: Governing rules and behavior are emergent and dynamic. Complex Adaptive System “learn” by selection of new rules among a “Random Repertoire of Possibilities.”

7 Feedback Propelling feedback loops (self reinforcing) amplify and move the organization toward Chaos. -Think the squelch of microphone in front of speaker. Restraining feedback loops (limit system parameters) keep the system from moving into Chaos. -Think thermostat. ________ Most change management strategies build on propelling feedback loops Most traditional management strategies build on restraining feedback loops Either can lead to “feedback traps”

Equilibrium/(Dynamic Equilibrium) Near-Equilibrium Far from Equilibrium / Edge of CHAOS CHAOS New Dissipative Structure(s) /(Self-Organizing/ Emergent) Randomness

The closer an organization is to chaos, the easier it is to change the system. The closer an organization is to equilibrium- more energy is required to change the organization.

10 Case Example of Leadership: Dee Hock’s “Chaordic System” (VISA)
Now: 20,000 financial institutions 4 million merchants 600 million consumers 220 countries

11 Dee Hock’s “Chaordic System” (VISA) -2
Then: Hock asked: What would be the nature (NOT the structure) of an ideal organization to create the world’s premiere device for exchange of value?

12 Principles of “Chaordic Systems” -1
Response -- Simple few principles: Equitably owned: All advantage from individual ability & initiative Distributed power & function: No function except at max periphery, no power not driven down Distributed governance: No one person/institution able to dominate

13 Principles of “Chaordic Systems” -2
Infinitely malleable (adaptive) yet durable: Capable of constant self-organizing without sacrifice of core nature/ principles Embrace diversity and change: Attract people/institutions comfortable with principles & provide environment to allow to flourish

14 Principles of “Chaordic Systems” -3
Core Tools for Leaders to Create Create Effective Chaordic Systems: Compelling, shared vision Set of few simple guiding rules or principles That’s it!

15 So – How Can Today’s Leaders Convert These Principles to Successful Action?
What are new, effective leadership approaches in these chaotic times????

16 Chaotic Times: What Is a Leader To Do?
Leadership starts with shared vision (often jettisoned in turbulence if too complicated – keep it simple!). Determine equilibrium stage (organization and environment) -- then act to align with appropriate equilibrium strategy. Focus on quality, relevance, and criticality of the organization’s rules…and periodically re-examine (no sacred cows!).

17 Chaotic Times: What Is a Leader To Do? -2
Don’t be fooled by “linear org charts”- your organization is a Complex Adaptive System -- and what is really happening will elude you. Rather than “linear org charts” – think early communications techniques – smoke signals, listening posts, runners from tribe to tribe, etc. – to find out what’s really going on

18 Chaotic Times: What Is a Leader To Do? -3
Beware of “best practices” - they tend to limit the solution set (current & emergent). Instead of “best” practices – think about a “hip pocket full of mighty good practices” – if one does not work, you’ll have Plan B … Plan C … etc.

19 Chaotic Times: What Is a Leader To Do? -4
Heavy handed management-by-metrics gives rise to negative feedback, suppresses emergence and adaptiveness. Metrics only partially useful – can delude and mislead –Instead, use cross-organizational teams to validate, sniff out erroneous implications, uncover innovations, etc.

20 Chaotic Times: What Is a Leader To Do? -5
Remember: Great management today is BOTH global AND local.

21 John W. Link & Jo Lee Loveland Link
Contact Information John W. Link & Jo Lee Loveland Link VOLVOX Inc. PO Box 610, Middletown VA 22645 Ph:

Download ppt "Leadership in Chaotic Environments"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google