“The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary source of creativity.” — Margaret J. Wheatley
From her quote, Margaret Wheatley understood abstract thinking. Abstract thinking is often the cause of uncertainty, disturbances and imbalances. For an organization, this may be seen as chaotic. At the same time, it can be a powerful source to induce ingenuity.
In our current social structures, chaos and uncertainty arebelieved to imply that something is wrong. When we find something wrong, we want to get rid of it, fix it quickly or blame someone for the mishap.
According to Wheatley, creativity will come from the very challenges that people are taught to avoid. We long for security and stability. Yet, history shows the greatest contributors, from social movements to technological innovators, were the ones able to focus on the goal in the face of chaos.
Apple has proven that if a business desires to remain an industry leader, it has to be prepared to creatively destroy or cannibalize existing products or services. The iTouch replaced the iPod while the iPhone supplanted the iTouch. As the company innovates, it supercedes expectations as well as competitive boundaries.
For the past decade, Apple has taken the leading position in markets that used to be counterintuitive for a computer company. Who would have thought a computer company could compete in the cell phone or music industry? Entering those markets required resourcefulness to manage the disarray changes in manufacturing, marketing, operational, and so forth.
Perhaps it is time to embrace “chaos with a purpose”. If we put greater value on the ability to manage ourselves in the face of chaos, we will be better able to make the quantum leaps that are waiting to be discovered. First though, we have to be willing to navigate through the fluctuations and uncertainty.
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.