Still thriving on chaos?

order - chaos

Tom Peters by penning ‘Thriving on Chaos’ re-shaped management theory for a generation. It’s not a bad book at all – though many people I’ve worked with (and for) didn’t quite put the theory correctly into practice.

However – outside of management operations, I often ponder why humanity goes to such extreme, complex lengths to do things that come so naturally to other forms of life on this earth? We will go to any lengths sometimes to create something ‘valuable’ to solve a problem – even if it means disruption, cost, sacrifice and vast plundering of resources.

Some systems in the world are exceptionally complex. With every layer of complexity though, comes a risk that it will only be understood and controlled by a few. This creates division and (on occasions) profiteering (the infamous “where there is mystery – there is margin” quote). Away from urban hustle, solutions to problems in the wild are born of simple symbiotic necessities (the fungus at the base of the forest tree feeds the growing tree and the dying tree feeds the fungus).

Now we are proving that plants can efficiently clean & purify our air in urban spaces for a tiny fraction of the cost of many more sophisticated, complex systems requiring specialised component and control system management.
Nature created order for us – and it has been qualified in that job a lot longer than Mr Peters (or any of the rest of us). Nature is order – and disrupting / structurally re-engineering that order has created the chaos some now ‘enjoy the challenge of managing’ – and that others often take the consequences of.

Maybe it is time to look a little harder at what solutions nature has already deployed – before we go re-engineer solutions to problems that simply are not necessary. Whilst some chaos and some stress will always stimulate our brain cells – prolonged exposure to such a modus operandii also gives us nervous disorders, depression and illness.

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