Tuesday, September 06, 2005

King of Chaos

A few quick thoughts on Change, Chaos and managing them both in the here-and-now seems to be an appropriate topic. Today, change is not the issue...and chaos is, well CHAOS!

Businesses, industries, and markets are experiencing massive restructurings, re-engineerings, and redirection. Skills and tools are needed for the appropriate response to various impacts, to help us create rather than react. We are spinning faster, and the same old change tools do not always seem to work. We need to incorporate an actual chaos management strategy!

Whether it's your workplace or your personal relationships; whether you run a large organization, a small business, a tiny team, or simply your own life - the tools you need now are for managing chaos.

1. Be the "eye" of the storm
Lets consider a hurricane, or a cyclone...utter chaos, causing great devastation. Think of the center. Calm, peaceful, quiet. The eye. Think of it as yourself. Be the eye. You may not be able to stop or even control the wind and the noise around you. But you can retain your own center. Find your strength, your capabilities, your power and your value, and stand quietly in your own ability to respond to each situation with courage and wisdom. We all have it. We just forget it sometimes when the winds of change are howling around us.

2. Know what matters
The first rule of success, is to have positive energy. It is important to know how to concentrate it and focus it on the important things, instead of frittering it away on the minutiae. The most powerful thing you can do at any moment is re-focus. What do you want to achieve? Why is this important? Then, make it happen.

3. Nurture your network
No one person is an island. We operate best when interdependent. Not leaning, but supported. It may be time to re-value family, to re-assess social contacts, to re-energize team consciousness in the workplace. One of the keys to managing chaos is the ability to tap into support facilities. Productivity almost invariably increases when we delegate, leverage and pull together. Find those Idea Practioners as well (the Trojan Mice).

4. Have courage to tell the truth
This may not be so for you, but for many people an enormous amount of time and energy is wasted in developing and maintaining the mask. There's no time any more to do that - have you noticed? It's time for empowerment, accountability, and ownership. Take it, and make it happen!

5. Learn to live with less
This is a strange concept for many of us in business who have spent much of our working lives running after 'more'. When life moves fast, the less baggage we have to carry the better. Traveling light - in many ways - becomes more effective. We're discovering that a simpler life can be a lot less stressful. I am not down on wealth and its pleasures - just to eliminate the desperate struggle for it!

6. Rejoice regularly - don't be afraid to express yourself, or an emotion
A behavioral researcher visited a kindergarten. "How many of you can sing," he asked? All hands went up. "How many of you can paint?" Again all hands were proudly thrust in the air. "And, how many can dance?" "Me, me,me," was the answer. The researcher asked the same questions in a university lecture hall. "How many of you can sing?" Two hands. "How many of you can paint?" Not one. "And how many can dance?" Fingers were pointed at others, with comments and laughter, but not one claimed the ability. What happened? Why did we forget, or decide our own self-expression was not good enough? It's just about a joyful release of stress hormones - good for the mind, the soul and the body.

7. Choose care over fear
There are only two fundamental emotions - love and fear. Anything that isn't one is the other. Until recently, we didn't talk about this in the corporate arena. Now we know, tough love builds good teams, and chaos is exacerbated by fear. This is not about being soft and gooey - you know that. It's about finding a way to address issues head on with an intelligent mix of courage, commitment, and compassion.

8. Do the right thing!
Always do the right thing and with strong beliefs and conviction. So I'll use two quotes:

Harry S. Truman - "To do what is right, is the right thing to do...and let the rest of them go to hell!"

Vaclav Havel - "Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, and is right, regardless of how it turns out"

Chaos is inevitable. In the sense that perturbation is evolutionary, it's also desirable. But managing it is essential. It is no use for any of us to hope that someone else will do it. Take Charge! Do you have your own personal strategies in place? What are they? Can you lead other people to the task? Will you do the right thing?


Post a Comment

<< Home