As Marshall McLuhan so aptly observes in his book, Laws of Media,
As the information that constitutes the environment is perpetually in flux, so the need is not for fixed concepts but rather for the ancient skill of reading that book, for navigating through an ever uncharted and unchartable milieu. Else we will have no more control of this technology and environment than we have of the wind and the tides."Uncharted and unchartable" sort of sums it up, doesn't it? In my work with organizational leaders, the complexity challenge appears to be threefold:
- To be able to perceive the complexity of the environments with which we have to deal;
- To be able to focus appropriately on the critical factors that influence complex relationships;
- To be able to resolve the tension between intention (i.e., planning and execution), and emergence.
If you are, or know of, a leader who would like to gain a better understanding of some of the issues, I invite you to join me and other leaders and organization development practitioners for a couple of hours of fish stories, Emergence Brainstorming, and Tactility. For more information, you can download the brochure, or just sign up and come out!
Update: (11 April 2011): Thanks to everyone who came out and played with us - it was a wonderful crowd and a more-than-full room. For those who are interested here are my notes from the presentation.