Wow, another piece of the puzzle – Chaordic organizations and systems. This is how our bodies work, how evolution happens, and it so resonates with my current thinking on what’s possible and so very needed in corporations!
Here’s a small bit of this article:
“Dee Hock is the founder and former CEO of Visa International, the most successful business venture on Earth. Could this former bank manager with a conscience be evolution’s unlikely hero? Visa owes its success, according to Hock, to its structure, which is nothing less than an evocation of nature’s “cha-ordic” laws. Hock coined the term chaordic to describe that perfect balance of chaos and order where evolution is most at home. Yes, that’s right. A business venture that takes its cues from Mother Evolution, whose “trademark” dynamism, changing change, and explosive originality are forever groping to innovate, prosper, and extend creation’s euphoric reach further and further into manifestation…..
And from the article – in Dee’s words…”Your organization needs to be absolutely clear about purpose and principles and must be very careful to know what a purpose and a principle is—you know, a purpose is not an objective, it’s not a mission statement—a purpose is an unambiguous expression of that which people jointly wish to become. And a principle is not a platitude—it is a fundamental belief about how you intend to conduct yourself in pursuit of that purpose. You have to get very precise about these things. If the purpose and principles are constructive and healthy, then your organization will take a very different form than anything that you ever imagined. It will release the human spirit and will be constructive of the biosphere. Natural capital and human capital will be released in abundance and monetary capital will become relatively unimportant. To put it another way, I believe that purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command and control. People will know how to behave in accordance with them, and they’ll do it in thousands of unimaginable, creative ways. The organization will become a vital, living set of beliefs.
I’ve found that it’s very difficult to lead people through enough metaphors and enough thinking about this—you can only think about it so much and your circuit breakers just go out. You have to rest, reset them, and come back to it. And you go over and over it. But what I find is that once you get a group of people who really begin to understand this, then energy, excitement, and enthusiasm literally explode out of them—they know what to do. You know, it’s just in their nature. You can’t stop it.
So to go back to the question of change—you can see that because of these four hundred years of intense conditioning, we’ve been taught to fear change. If you’re in a rigid, mechanistic, cause-and-effect society and/or organization, then any change becomes a crisis in self-esteem. It destroys our identity, our sense of being, our sense of time and place. And we’re never sure we’re going to be of any value in the new order of things. We falsely see this as terrifying. But my God, this might be the greatest, most exciting adventure for the species that ever occurred.”
Dee Hock in Fast Company in 1996, although an older article, is also quite insightful.
For more information on Chaordic Organizations – check out The Chaordic Commons which facilitates connection and collaboration among members. From this website “Also we facilitate access to a considerable and continuously evolving body of knowledge about chaordic organizations and organizing. From leveraging how others have discovered and expressed deep common purposes and essential principles of right relationship your intentions and projects can be realized more quickly and easily.”
Now, it’s not likely that most major corporations are going to abandon the “command and control” paradigm entirely in the near term, but I suspect there is much to learn here – very much…