The resources provided in this assessment cover both change renewal and chaos. Even though we fear change and long for the comfort of equilibrium, this closed and insulated stance means choosing to wear down and decay. When allowed to grow and evolve, living systems integrate diverse information through open feedback loops. Through self-referencing of values, traditions, aspirations, competency, and culture, systems recreate themselves in similar shapes, or what Wheatley (1999), calls fractals. A leader’s role is to invite disturbance, to create dangerously, because disturbance leads to dis-equilibrium and, therefore, growth and resilience.
By choosing to openly engage with change and remembering identity, leaders can increase speed to market and shape consumer preference. Although counterintuitive, the more freedom allowed in a self-organizing system, the more creative and adaptive it can be. Most innovation to the marketplace occurs through the adaptation to a customer’s request by one or two individuals. Information, rather than needing to be managed, needs to be shared and processed to increase awareness and consciousness of complexity and ambiguity. In the absence of information, people make it up. They will make their own meaning.
It seems the leader’s role is to openly invite new and disturbing information and to allow the organization to learn, make sense of, and respond or adapt to a changing environment, trusting self-referencing and stressing long-term identity.
The resources in this assessment also explore the paradox of order and chaos—how, over time and with a perspective toward wholeness, what might appear as chaos begins to build up a repeatable pattern of the strange attractor. In human systems, meaning, purpose, and mission are the organizing principles. Even a small change may result in a big impact on the whole system, and it is sometimes the slow but constant factor that is the unseen danger. So it is a combination of a leader holding tightly to vision and values while allowing individuals the freedom to act.
Wheatley, M. J. (2006). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
- Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, and the Epilogue are particularly applicable.
Imagine it is your job to write a leader guidebook for new supervisors in your current organization or an organization with which you are familiar, based on the new science realities. Your guide should include the following:
- Descriptions of effective best practices and day-to-day behaviors that leaders should follow for planning, measuring, motivating people, managing change and information, designing jobs, and encouraging relationships.
- Descriptions of ineffective practices that leaders should avoid in order to be successful.
- Explanation of the importance and implications of these new science guidelines to the success of the enterprise.
- Examples and explanations for the positions you take.
- Length: Your leader guidebook should be double-spaced and long enough to meet the expectations of the assessment and scoring guide criteria.
- Font and size: Use a standard font—either Times New Roman or Arial. The font size must be 12 point.
- Margins: The paper margins should be 1 inch on each side.
- Components: Include a title page, table of contents, and reference page.
- Formatting: APA format is required for all aspects of your guidebook, including citations and references. Your writing should be well organized and clear. Writing structure, spelling, and grammar should be correct as well.