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Mastering Chaos - Team Leadership through Improvisation.


If, in the face of the present world economic difficulties, you feel somewhat disturbed and uncertain about the future and what it holds, then be comforted by the fact that you are, at the very least, not alone.  It feels as if all the certainties of the last decade have just evaporated - as if, by magic, we have suddenly been 'fast-forwarded' into an 'Age of Chaos'.   Having had it so good the world appears unstable and unreliable.  If you think I'm not serious even Hollywood seems to have latched on to instability and unreliability as themes (Chaos Theory: The Movie) Ambiguity, instability & chaos seem now to be the new reality.   The belief that our world could carry on indefinitely as it had been has shown itself to be an illusion.  Instead of having the semblance of control and reliability, world systems now seem be inherently uncertain.   Economic leadership based upon the systems theory model which said that if you could know the principles upon which your universe worked you could predict its outcome and control it, has proved to be false and out of date.   It seems impossible to build systems of government and leadership that aren't inherently unstable.

So if all the old rules seem not to apply where to go to from here, you ask?    How do we get control back into our hands?   Where are the new certainties?   How do we as individuals find a way for ourselves out of this mess?

One answer that is currently emerging is based upon Music Improvisation Theory.    Over the last few years it has become more and more obvious that the behaviours and processes that underpin the improvisation model go way beyond musical boundaries.  They even point at an explanation for the roots of the current world economic instabilities.   Further to this, Improvisation Theory has huge synergies with current mathematical developments in Chaos Theory which puts to rest any notions that the world is ultimately knowable and hence capable of human systems of control.    Improvisation Theory recognises the principle in Chaos Theory that the roots of system instability are embedded in the pre-conditions surrounding the system.   Catastrophic instability is not ultimately caused by localised recent events but often in minute variations at the initiation of the system.  With the application of the system pre-conditions of Improvisation Theory it is possible to create applications that increase the likelihood of building long-term stability into systems of government, organisations and their management whilst maintaining the promotion of creative potential within the system. 

It is an effective replacement for old-style socialist ‘Command and Control’ economies, mechanistic Newtonian approaches to industrial organisation & and the artificiality of ‘Free Market’ Games Theory rules (yes, surprisingly another Hollywood blockbuster) applied inappropriately to non-competitive structures (e.g. the NHS and public transport).  For more background about Improvisation Theory and its relationship to organisations, teams and leadership use this link to find articles by Andrew Hodges on the Improvising Organisation.

The Mastering ChaosTM Leadership Training Programme is now available to help you find the new sign-posts in The Chaos.   Its purpose is to provide you with the new skills to help you and your team effectively succeed in this age of uncertainty.


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