Are you trying to manage with assumptions that are 100 years out of date? In recent weeks I have been exploring with increasing excitement the new science of Complexity and its applications to managing organizations. This is really the cutting edge of innovation, and what I’m about to share with you only a small but growing number of people in the world are even aware of. But I and others believe this new approach to organizations and leadership will become the dominant force of the 21st Century, making management practices of the past 40 years seem archaic.
“Modern management” is based on a mechanical view of the universe, specifically Frederick Taylor’s 1911 treatise, “The Principles of Scientific Management.” His “scientific” time and motion studies sought the “one best method” to do each job. Ever since then, organizations have been driven by the search for greater efficiency, as if people were machines who could work faster and smarter. Anyone who has been “driven” by a demanding boss knows how awful this can be.
The science of complexity is the offspring of a field of study known as chaos theory. James Gleick’s “Chaos: Making A New Science” became a national bestseller after its publication in 1987. The New York Times reporter popularized the Butterfly Effect, whereby a butterfly flapping its wings in India causes a series of air movements that eventually result in a thunderstorm over Chicago. In the late Read More