Balanced Chaos and Order -> Creativity and Flow
Chaordic has been used to describe organisations that seek to balance chaos and order to produce an environment where flow and creativity can thrive. The term was coined by Dee Hock
who founded VISA; a highly decentralized and highly collaborative organisation that worked with partner banks on a standards that enables the global credit card system to work.
Attributes of Chaordic Leadership
Dee describes the attributes of leaders in an organisation that is seeking to be chaordic:
- Power: True power is never used. If you use power, you never really had it.
- Human Relations: First, last, and only principle -- when dealing with subordinates, repeat silently to yourself, "You are as great to you as I am to me, therefore, we are equal." When dealing with superiors, repeat silently to yourself, "I am as great to me as you are to you, therefore we are equal."
- Criticism: Active critics are a great asset. Without the slightest expenditure of time or effort, we have our weakness and error made apparent and alternatives proposed. We need only listen carefully, dismiss that which arises from ignorance, ignore that which arises from envy or malice, and embrace that which has merit.
- Compensation: Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can rent the body and influence the mind but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and ethics.
- Ego, Envy, Avarice, and Ambition: Four beasts that inevitably devour their keeper. Harbor them at your peril, for although you expect to ride on their back, you will end up in their belly.
- Position: Subordinates may owe a measure of obedience by virtue of your position, but they owe no respect save that which you earn by your daily conduct. Without their respect, your authority is destructive.
- Mistakes: Toothless little things, providing you can recognize them, admit them, correct them, learn from them, and rise above them. If not, they grow fangs and strike. Accomplishment: Never confuse activity with productivity. It is not what goes in your end of the pipe that matters, but what comes out the other end. Everything but intense thought, judgment, and action is infected to some degree with meaningless activity. Think! Judge! Act! Free others to do the same!
- Hiring: Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is stupid to replicate your weakness. Employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability and judgment are radically different from your own and recognize that it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.
- Creativity: The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.
- Listening: While you can learn much by listening carefully to what people say, a great deal more is revealed by what they do not say. Listen as carefully to silence as to sound.
- Judgment: Judgment is a muscle of the mind developed by use. You lose nothing by trusting it. If you trust it and it is bad, you will know quickly and can improve it. If you trust it and it is consistently good, you will succeed, and the sooner the better. If it is consistently good and you don't trust it, you will become the saddest of all creatures; one who could have succeeded but followed the poor judgment of others to failure.
- Leadership: Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers and free your people to do the same. All else is trivia.
Personally think the Dee's words resonate strongly in an Agile or Lean environment which seeks to achieve the same aims of Balancing Chaos and Order to help produce Creativity and Flow in a safe environment.