Chaos. Not knowing. Confusion. Uncertainty. These are not words that we typically include in describing the environment we want to create to solve problems. More likely these are often the descriptors we are actively seeking to eliminate. And yet, it’s at the edge of chaos and order that innovation lives. It is also the exact place where the practice of leadership lives.
This Chaordic Path, the place between chaos and order, is where things are not fixed but rather flexible enough for new connections and solutions to occur. New levels of order become possible out of chaos if we’re able to stay on the path long enough to see what emerges. How do we do this?
As Margaret Wheatley states, “Conversations are how we humans think together.” Conversations leverage change. During times of growing uncertainty and increased complexity and where results cannot be predicted, leaders need to invite others to share diverse knowledge to discover new purpose and strategies. The way forward emerges from there.
Hosting conversations as an act of leadership means taking responsibility for creating and holding the “container” in which a group of people can do their best work together. Tim Merry, co-founder of the Art of Hosting positions it in the form of a question. “What’s the minimum order we can put together to have meaningful conversations to solve the complex problems we face?”
Chaordic confidence is the capacity to stay in the dance of order and chaos supporting a generative emergence that allows new, collective intelligence and wise action to occur. Our ability to hold chaotic confidence creates a path toward common ground, co-creation and strategic action.
When facing new challenges that cannot be met in the same way we are currently working, we need to learn new ways of operating. I’m excited about this global evolution of participative leadership where we travel the chaordic path together discovering innovative solutions and initiating change through conversations that matter.
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