lots of things seem to be happening to me and I do mean it that way round.
No matter how much I try and shape my future the things I actually get
involved with are largely unpredictable. Complexity in action I suppose
and I like it that way.
To Plan or not to Plan?
A few years ago I attended a Strategic Planning course run mainly for the oil industry and one incident sticks out very firmly in my mind. All those on the course who worked in the oil industry (which for some reason was most of them) were asked to write down on a card what they thought the price of oil would be in five years time. They all revealed their cards at the same time and they all had near enough the same price. They were then asked to put in a pile in front of them their wallets, cash, jewellery and any other valuables. The tutor asked: "how many of you are prepared to bet that pile of precious possessions in front of you on the price you wrote on the card actually coming true?" No one would, so the tutor asked them to write down on a new card what price they would be prepared to bet on and they all came out with prices which were very close to each other but totally different to the first one they gave.
"So why did you do that?" asked the tutor and the answer was very revealing. The first answer was the one that could be justified to the board of the company. Its rationale could be explained in terms of trends, economic forecasts and political analyses. The second answer they could give no rationale for, but taking into account all the myriad things, and their interconnectivities, which could affect the price it just 'felt right'.
Since that day I have been a convert to intuitive planning, and going with what feels right. Also on occasions I have asked people to bet on their forecasts and, although this approach to planning is far from perfect, we get much nearer the mark than we did before.
So how do you do your
plans? Could that explain why they never work out!
The Plexus Institute
has a new web site http://www.plexusinstitute.org/
The Sante Fe Institute
is generally considered to be the birthplace of complexity theory. Their
site is http://www.santafe.edu/
The Institute for
the Study of Coherence and Emergence is a non-profit research institution
located in Boston and the Netherlands. Its mission is to promote pragmatic
dialogue concerning the areas of networking, emergence, and complexity
studies with the aim of assisting practicing managers in the complex task
of managing. It is assisted by a consortium of professionals drawn from
industry, academia, management consulting, and the non-profit sector.
The Robert Fritz web site contains a wide range of interesting writings on complexity. http://www.robertfritz.com/writings.htm
Personal Web Sites
This is Jennifer Crossland's
web site, it has nothing to do with complexity but it is highly creative
The MHA Institute
have stared a new series of newsletters entitled Corporate Culture and
Worth thinking about
"Change may be triggered by numerous external influences such as ever deceasing technology cycles, demographics and globalisation but change ultimately begins in the mind. It starts with new ways of thinking about the future that are later translated into and shaped by new ways of behaving."
I can't remember where I came across this quote but it reminds me of the fact that most of the things we use in business - plans, budgets, job descriptions etc are not "real" they are only mental constructs. It is only what we think about those words and figures on a piece of paper that makes them real, and that we can chose to think about them very differently if we wish.
Interactive CD Rom
I have at long last compiled my interactive CD on "Organisations as Complex Adaptive Systems" which is aimed at those who wish to understand better how complexity theory relates to the world of work. Normally I will be charging £5 for them to cover costs but they are free to readers of this newsletter. Just let me know if you want one, and any feedback will be most welcome.
A Real Point To Ponder
The real essence of who we are is more than just the functioning of the brain as is demonstrated by the question "who is charge of you - you or your brain?" Also Anthony de Mello in his book Awareness separates out the "me" from "I" with "I" being our identity, which is not determined by our relationship with other people or things.
So who am I, what is I, where does my identity come from? Maybe it is an emergent property. All my brain impulses, which are based on my experiences, which give rise to all my thoughts and feelings are the agents in a system and their unpredictable interactions give rise to a pattern which is my identity.
Just a thought - what
do you think?