Nine Principles



Nine emerging and connected organizational and leadership principles

For a printer friendly version of this page click here Nine emerging and connected organizational and leadership principles

From the study of complex adaptive systems



Full Statement of principle: Further explanation or contrast to the traditional approach
  1. Complexity lens
View your system through the lens of complexity… in addition to the metaphor of a machine or a military organization.
  1. Good-enough vision
Build a good enough vision and provide minimum specifications… rather than trying to plan out every little detail.
  1. Clockware/swarmware
When life is far from certain, lead from the edge, with clockware and swarmware in tandem… that is, balance data and intuition, planning and acting, safety and risk, giving due honour to each.
  1. Tune to the edge
Tune your place to the edge by fostering the “right” degree of: information flow, diversity and instead of controlling information, difference, connections inside and outside the organization, power differential, and anxiety… instead of controlling information, forcing agreement, dealing separately with contentious groups, working systematically down all the layers of the hierarchy in sequence, and seeking comfort.
  1. Paradox
Uncover and work paradox and tension… rather than shying away from them as if they were unnatural.
  1. Multiple Actions
Go for multiple actions at the fringes, let direction arise… rather than believing that you must be “sure” before you proceed with anything.
  1. Shadow system
Listen to the shadow system… realizing that informal relationships, gossip, rumor, and hallway conversations contribute significantly to agents’ mental models and subsequent actions.
  1. Chunking
Grow complex systems by chunking… by allowing complex systems to emerge out of the links among simple systems that work well and are capable of operating independently.
  1. Competition/ cooperation
Mix cooperation and competition… …it’s not one or the other.