To cope with change, organizations need to do one thing — change.

There is just one step that needs to be taken. It’s not even a big one. Welcome change. Don’t resist it, welcome it. Everywhere.

Peter Brownell
Sep 1, 2020 · 4 min read

From static to dynamic

To thrive in a fast paced, constantly changing, environment, we need to shift one, fundamental assumption: Change is not a phase, it is continuous and will never stop. The only way to manage continuous change is to be better at changing, and to keep at it.

This is the paradigm shift: from static to dynamic. Stability does not arise from keep things the same, it now arises from being dynamic, from the ability to constantly evolve and adapt to meet the environment.

This need to see that stability is a state of dynamic balance, rather than a fixed point, applies at every level: to our inner world, to our relationships with those around us and to whole systems or organizations.

Change is not chaos

Many of us fear change. Perhaps most of us. There is a comfort that comes from knowing what we are doing. We fear the disruption that arises when we are suddenly unable to perform the tasks that used to be so easy. The disruption gets in the way. We see change as chaos.

In an a rapidly changing environment, a static perspective might feel safe, but that comfort is a lie. It’s simply a mask. It hides the reality. The chaos behind the mask is growing, we’re not aware of it and definitely not dealing with it. In a dynamic context, like one where an organization is suddenly dealing with a remote workforce in a recession, trying to limit change will inevitably result in chaos. Too many unmanaged variables, too much dissonance, and an inability to handle the edge cases will eventually add up.

Adopting a dynamic perspective, by accepting that change is continuous and that evolving should be part of our day-to-day, does not create chaos. The continuous integration of refinements provides a much more stable environment than the manufactured consistency of a static mindset.

From “command and control” to feedback

Creating an organization at home with continuous change requires one fundamental operational change: Switching from command and control to feedback.

In a static environment organizations operate primarily on command and control. Power resides in a few people at the centre and the majority of the work is achieved by managing (controlling) the energy of the workforce.

In a fully dynamic organization, the primary operating process is feedback. Power is distributed throughout the system, and individuals coordinate their efforts through feedback.

There are very few, if any, organizations that operate purely outside of command and control. It may not be a desirable objective anyway, but it’s not the destination that counts — it’s the journey.

The path to creating an organization capable of continuous change, involves learning how to use feedback to identify what changes need to take place, making a small change and then getting more feedback.

That’s it. That is the thing that you need to aspire to achieving. Simply being able to constantly take another step, and then seeing if it took you in the right direction.

Establishing a self-managing, dynamic organization, in practice

The feedback loop

Start anywhere and follow it everywhere. Just keep going. The changes you make, should you keep at it, will eventually take you to a place you cannot imagine before you start. The form and function of the organizations that will emerge on the other side are going to be very different to those that we have seen in the past.

But they will be faster. They will be able to cope with massively complex problems. They will innovate at a pace that a static organization cannot comprehend.

Organizations as we know them will be replaced.

Some help

This is not easy. But it’s also not as hard as it might seem. You just need to accept that it’s a continuous process and that there is no way you can predict what you will become. There will be some challenges along the way, some aspects will be easier than others. The benefits in productivity, engagement, innovation, wellbeing and all those other buzzwords will come fairly quickly if you do the work.

We can help. The-Organization.com works to support those on this journey. We’re exploring the path. We can share what we’ve learned on the way. We provide tools, training and consulting to develop dynamic businesses.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the…

Sign up for Changing the Nature of Work

By The-organization

We’re exploring new ways of doing, being and working. It’s a long journey. We’d like to share the path. Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

Peter Brownell

Written by

It’s time to change the world. It’s time to create the future that we need. I seek the inflection points that can make tomorrow a better place.

The-organization

Developing the capacity for organizations to embrace the future

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store