There is a path to take between Chaos and Order that leads us to the new, collective learning, real time innovation. Instead of relying on controlling every detail in our organizations or communities from the top down, many leaders today see the need to access the collective intelligence and collective wisdom of everyone, which can be, at times, a “messy” process until we reach new insight and clarity.
We are beginning to understand and treat organizations and communities more like living systems than static machines. After all, the chaordic path is the story of our natural world – form arises out of non-linear, complex, diverse systems. “At the edge of chaos” is where life innovates – where things are not hard wired, but are flexible enough for new connections and solutions to occur. New levels of order become possible out of chaos.
This “chaordic confidence” – the capacity we need to stay in the dance of order and chaos – supports a generative emergence that allows the new, collective intelligence and wise action to occur. In this space of emergence, we leave
our collective encounters with that which not one of us individually brought into the room. This requires us to stay
in a transformative shift, though we may want to veer toward either chaos or order.
And in fact, we will move between chaos and order – this is the generative dance, an oscillation often seen in the natural world. A balance between two seeming polarities, which are instead compliments of each other. As we move between chaos and order, individually and collectively, we move through confusion and conflict toward clarity. We are all called to walk this path without judgement – some will feel more comfortable with chaos, others with order. Both are needed as, together, we walk the edge that is between these two toward something wholly new.
On the far side of chaos is chamos – or destructive chaos. On the far side of order is stifling control. When we move toward either of these extremes, the result is apathy or or rebellion. The very opposite of chaordic confidence, where the new cannot be born.
There is a path toward common ground, co-creation, and wise and strategic action. There is a “sweet spot” of emergence with tangible results. If we are looking for innovative, new solutions we will find them in a place between chaos and order – the chaordic path.
Chaos/Order is the Place for Leadership The practice of leadership resides in the place between chaos and order. When facing new challenges that cannot be met with the same way we are currently working, we need to learn new ways of operating. It is during these times of uncertainty and increased complexity, where results cannot be predicted that leaders need to invite others to share diverse knowledge to discover new purpose and strategies and decide the way forward.
Order/Control is a Place for Management. The practice of management lies between order and control where activities need to be maintained and executed routinely so that a particular standard results. It is the place where “more of the same” is required.
Therefore, when predictability is called for and where procedures and standards are clearly defined and need to
be adhered to.