I promised to pick up from my philosophical musings of yesterday with a more practical working out of the use of virtue as a means to create a sense of purpose or direction within a complex system. It is worth remembering that the need here is to deal with the present; with the decisions that we make which close off options for the future. Picking up on the point that we are dealing with dispositional systems not causal ones we need to be careful not to see these pathways as linear in nature. There will always be a degree of fluidity about choice under conditions of complexity.
In a complex system decisions are made in the moment as much as they are made strategically. Decisions by an agent or cluster within a network can have greater impact than a decision from the top. Just as in small group command a corporal can make a decision in the field that impacts on world politics, so a member of your staff can trigger a catastrophic failure in customer relationships. Any system of purpose must be fractal if decision making is near real time, strategic intent needs common understanding and direction.
So anything here must be capable of being used and understood at all levels within the organisation; anything we do will need sufficient ambiguity to handle changing circumstances, while having enough purpose to provide direction. I'll try and indicate how this is achieved, but it should be clear form the description. I will in the main contrast them with their systems thinking equivalents. To be clear, this is not an either/or, but a both/and but the three main changes are:
Now those three are the main elements, but I've just touched the surface of their potential and have not yet talked about a process to make the shift. I'll start to pick up on those tomorrow.
The picture that opens this post is by Dave Wommack “The Virtuous Man is not Alone” – Zen Calligraphy
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