Our society is becoming increasingly complex and super-integrated. The increasing number of connections could on one hand help solve all kinds of problems we now face together, but on the other hand, the sheer complexity could also lead to increased fear. Fear of not being able to cope with complexity anymore. So what do we need? Simplification seems to be the first answer that comes bubbling up. But simplify what? Make less connections? Seems uncontrollabe. Invent less technologies? This would hinder inventions and innovations, seems not a good idea. Less processes? We need processes and many already work ok, maybe we should accept this as a fact. Less methodologies? Would be nice but could lead hindering evolution by limiting diversity. Less organizations? Let it go. Orgs are already organizing themselves through open market principles. What about just simply Less control? Less control would help in letting things go and allow for some selforganization. This already is happening (experimentally) in certain areas. And there seems to be no hard evidences that limiting control increases problems. Nevertheless, good luck with your search for more or less complexity,whatever works fine for your situation.
Posts tagged ‘control’
In NLP there is a saying ‘change the map and you will change the world”. But changing maps is not that easy. It requires a lot of alignment between stakeholders and will probably not be hassle-free. But there is a more simple way of changing the world. You can do it with your thoughts. It’s really that simple. If you start thinking differently on a certain topic, you will also start acting differently. And the world around you will start changing in reaction to your action, no matter how small but it will change. So you see, your thoughts can be much more powerful than you think. You only need yourself, the power of one is enough to start a change. You don’t need to wait for others. You alone could even make a big change if you wanted to. And ofcourse there are barriers, like the tendency to adapt ourselves to our environment, and let the environment ‘control’ our thoughts. If we accept this as a fact, we will not achieve great beneficial changes for humanity. It’s the fear for changing the current systems that witholds us. So the only thing needed to conquer this fear is to convince yourself that you can make a change. Good luck changing the world towards a better place!
Let’s admit it: it’s a Jungle out there. So the natural tendency we humans have (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) is trying to control it. Get a grip on it. So the easy way out is to just follow our instinct. Our natural born way to collect things and categorize them can be seen on all kinds of societal levels.
The categorization process often starts in our youth with pinboards or stamp collections or something comparable. We collect all kinds of stuff and then try to structure it by using categorization techniques: great by great, small by small, country by country, size by size, color by color, technique by technique, language by language, origin by origin, species by species and so forth. It’s as if our yachting instinct tells us to do this: go collect something and if you collected more than one piece: categorize it. Or it might be that our instinct tells us to categorize things or we will loose grip. Not be able to control it.
Later on when we grow up, we keep repeating this collecting anger but then in another context. Some of us become managers or leaders. Their tendency is to collect people into their virtual system, categorize them so same kind of people are organized together and then can be put inside an organigram. Others will start a Zoo. They will collect all kinds of wild animals from the jungle, organize them together species by species and put fences around the species so they don’t mix. And even in today’s IT systems we see this technique coming back: we collect data and categorize it, hoping that this technique gives us control. But isn’t this all an illusion?
What would happen if we just left out the (illusionary) fences? Let incompatible collections come together? Let large and small come together? Black and White? Managers and Employees? Let species mix? Letting go of control, because that’s in fact only an illusion? This technique might even help creating a better world, so what are we waiting for? Happy uncategorization hunting!
I used to be a control-freak. Seeing things that others did “wrong” in my judgment. Seeing opportunities for preventing others make mistakes. Adding structure where I thought others created chaos. Adding principles where I thought others must be missing them. Adding policies where I thought others needed them for damage control. Promoting standards to limit innovation where others in fact needed room for innovation. Adding governance where I thought others must be governed. Ignoring the idea that others must have a chance for the necessary learning experiences. Until I read the statement “Relax. Nothing is under Control” from Adi Da Samray. Since then I am more and more convinced that too much control isn’t desired. And if any, control should not be aimed at controlling others but rather on helping others. So I am learning now how to let go of things I used to want to have “under control”. Learning to transform my controller “role” into a helper role. And I discovered some useful instruments that support me with this transformation. They’re very easy to use and they’re free. They are virtues. The most important virtue that can help letting “control” go is trust. If you trust another person, you’re allready halfway there. Think of it this way: the cost of structural lack of trust will probably be many times higher than the benefits of structural trust. Another virtue is forgiveness. If another person makes a learning mistake and you forgive them, you’re at 75%. People make mistakes, you too! Accept it as a fact! Allow ample room to learn. If you practice patience when things aren’t quite going the way you would like (for example not fast enough) you’re at 85%. I like to compare this to the “angels” patience I must practice when training my dog for agility: it works!. And then there is respect. If you respect that not everyone has the same learning skills as you would maybe like, you’re at 90%. Not everyone is equally talented so the real “talent management” is to accept talent diversity and integrate the available talents. Acceptance brings you to 95%. And finally, add a little love on top to help take away (suppressed) fears. Now you’re at 100%. To wrap things up: 50% trust, 25% forgiveness, 10% patience, 5% respect, 5% acceptance and 5% love are useful ingredients that help me transform my role from controller to helper. The percentages are just an example, they can be adapted to any situation. Good luck with practicing these virtues and please let me know if they also worked for you. Picture source here.
- Tip 1: respectfully say bye to traditional (red ocean, greed-centered) strategy schools, say hi to (blue ocean) society oriented strategies.
- Tip 2: respectfully say bye to traditional power- or status oriented (Taylor-“made”) management schools, say hi to “tailor-made” schools that focus more on organizing people rather than on managing people.
- Tip 3: respectfully say bye to efficiency as a primary goal, say hi to effectiveness as a primary goal
- Tip 4: respectfully say bye to common fears that block true renewal (fear of isolation, fear of incompetence, fear of inconsistence, fear for imperfection, fear of separation, fear of ignorance, fear of complexity, fear for loss of control, fear for learning, fear for letting go the past etc. and say hi to their powerful counterparts such as love, respect, learning culture etc.
- Tip 5: respectfully say bye to traditional sharing strategies (greed, egoism, selfishness) and say hi to joyful sharing strategies
- Tip 6: respectfully say bye to innovation strategies aiming at free markets and say hi to strategies aiming at societal goals markets
- Tip 7: respectfully say bye to old style thinking and doing and say hi to new style thinking and doing
- Tip 8: respectfully say bye to fakeness and dishonesty and say hi to authenticness and honesty
- Tip 9: respectfully say bye to traditional scarcity thinking and say hi to abundance thinking
- Tip 10: respectfully say bye to rational (or scientifically proven) decision making and say hi to (spiritual) decision making based on your intuition and your heart
Ofcourse you don’t need to say goodbye to all the above, but a better balance wouldn’t hurt our society. So Good Luck and please let me know what worked for you.
We are all living inside boxes we have designed ourselves. They exist purely because it’s the way we can hide (abstract) complexity we cannot or do not want to oversee. Or to hide our fear of not being able to cope with the complexity. But how do boxes help us in managing relationships? Look at the top left figure. We placed a box around a number of people we think have to work or be together for some reason. And then we call this box a department (or a company, or enterprise or whatever scale you want to give it). And this box is then supposed to manage relationships with it’s direct environment, but that is not that easy, since we locked ourselves inside the box. We also tend to do this with technology: integrating parts until they fit inside some box. We then call this box a PC or server or application or active component or suite or ecosystem or whatever. And we managed to hide all the complexity inside these boxes, we abstracted it all out. So we don’t have to worry about handling relationships from this box to it’s environment, that is something others must do. So we don’t have to take responsibility for the relationship management: we choose the easy way out. But there are also other ways! We could try to find openings in the box. Maybe taking away one of the pillars would already help enourmously while still providing enough structure. We could also try to take away the glass ceiling and provide facilities to get out of the box via the ceiling (look at the center figure). And then there is even a more extreme way: we could take away the complete box and try to manage our relationships without any predefined structure or control. Look at the figure to the right where the bird sitting in the hand seems to have a good or at least trustful relationship with the hand, and yet seems to have total freedom to fly away whenever it wants. It represents my way of looking at an “ideal” degree of freedom in ICT architectures. Maybe one day, it will become your way too?