The persistence of failed ideas continues to surprise me, and especially in the case of those who claim to embrace complexity approaches to organisational development. A lot of people like the shinny new wine of complexity, but they want to put it in the familiar wineskins of conventional thinking, net effect the wineskins burst.
One of the most persistent handovers from systems dynamics is the belief in full alignment of organisational values, mission statements, strategy etc. Now in practice (and thank God) this has never happened despite a lot of money being spent on it. Pragmatically full alignment means that you have lost all variety in the system and with that adaptive capacity.
Now the opposite is not just to let things go, that is to shift from order to chaos. What we need instead is what I describe as messy coherence, a sense of direction with with requisite diversity. Some of changes we need are:
Now I admit that there are some potential platitudes or ambiguities there, but I’ll expand on the practice and the theory in future posts. For the moment I will try not to rip my remaining hair out in despair at the constantly rolling out of failed and failing ideas by people who should know better.
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