Leadership in Complexity

A stellar blog post initially written by Dibyendu De on rgbwaves.com in 2012. We feel that it is still relevant now.

A sketch by @ddrrnt

“Leadership in Complexity” maintains a position and a viewpoint that each one of us is a leader of his/her own life not only to change oneself but also to act as agents of change for others through their actions and ideas. For this, one needs the courage to look at his/her own thought process to discover the underlying assumptions, beliefs, perceptions that create the apparent complexity and paradoxes one is engaged with in life.

That in short is the essence of social and cultural innovation and entrepreneurship. However, the important thing to be kept in mind is that we are not going to create any purely imagined ‘desired future’ in our minds rooted in idealism and run after that. For example, we are not going to say that ‘let us build a more resilient community’ or let us aim for more ‘structure and order’ realizing that resilience, structure, order are products of self organization.

Why is that? This is because ‘complex systems’ would not listen to what we ‘desire’. They produce their own emergence, which take on various forms. For instance ‘failures’, ‘insight’ ‘learning’, ‘wisdom’, ‘strange behavior’, ‘shortfall in attendance’ , ‘bad quality’, ‘low productivity’, ‘obesity’, ‘disease’, ‘epidemics’ and ‘love’ are all cases of ‘emergence’. And these are never fixed or static. They keep changing over time.

So, it is indeed stupid to have any fixed plan in the mind and exert our will to achieve the ‘desired mental model’ we have in mind. That of course does not tell us not to have any ‘intention’. Nor does it ask us to submit to ‘fatality’ of reality. Our path clearly lies in balancing between the two wheels of ‘reality’ and ‘desire’ forged by our will emanating from intention. Such balancing act is fueled by the heady mix of courage to pay attention to our thought process and the deeply felt intention to balance.

Our intention in most cases would be to adapt to the ongoing emergent phenomenon by exploring the rules that generate the emergence and then examine the underlying ‘paradoxes’ that shape and sustain such emergence enabling us to adapt through balancing (the Indian concept of Jugaard) to give shape to a better collective future. Our aim is not to achieve this or that. Our aim is to simply adapt based on the emergence. It is a delicate balancing act like walking on the sword’s edge and being in the fire at the same time.

I believe it makes life simpler, fun to live, helps us ‘survive’ better and also ‘collectively thrive’.

The philosophical base that we are going to use is ‘Complex Adaptive Systems’.

The process that we would use to do so would be #Nemetics

And the tools that we would use would be many but mostly Dialogs, Learning by Doing, Iterations, Improvisations and even employ mathematical tools, if needed, like Time Waveforms, Fourier Transform without losing sight of highly explosive techniques like Meditation and the use of Principles of #Nemetics

While knowledge lies in selecting the right technique for a given context or situation wisdom lies in balancing and adapting, where both knowledge and wisdom are contextual emergence.


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