The Chaordic Path and Chaordic Stepping Stones
There is a path to take between Chaos and Order that leads us to the new, collective learning, real time innovation. Instead of relying on controlling every detail in our organizations or communities from the top down, many leaders today see the need to access the collective intelligence and collective wisdom of everyone, which can be, at times, a “messy” process until we reach new insight and clarity.
We are beginning to understand and treat organizations and communities more like living systems than static machines. After all, the chaordic path is the story of our natural world – form arises out of non-linear, complex, diverse systems. “At the edge of chaos” is where life innovates – where things are not hard wired, but are flexible enough for new connections and solutions to occur. New levels of order become possible out of chaos.
This “chaordic confidence” – the capacity we need to stay in the dance of order and chaos – supports a generative emergence that allows the new, collective intelligence and wise action to occur.
In this space of emergence, we leave our collective encounters with that which not one of us individually brought into the room. This requires us to stay in a transformative shift, though we may want to veer toward either chaos or order.
And in fact, we will move between chaos and order – this is the generative dance, an oscillation often seen in the natural world. A balance between two seeming polarities, which are instead compliments of each other.
As we move between chaos and order, individually and collectively, we move through confusion and conflict toward clarity. We are all called to walk this path without judgement – some will feel more comfortable with chaos, others with order. Both are needed as, together, we walk the edge that is between these two toward something wholly new.On the far side of chaos is chamos – or destructive chaos. On the far side of order is stifling control. When we move toward either of these extremes, the result is apathy or rebellion.. The very opposite of chaordic confidence, where the new cannot be born.
There is a path toward common ground, co-creation, and wise and strategic action. There is a “sweet spot” of emergence with tangible results. If we are looking for innovative, new solutions we will find them in a place between chaos and order – the chaordic path.
The practice of chaordic leadership resides in the place between chaos and order. When facing new challenges that cannot be met with the same way we are currently working, we need to learn new ways of operating. It is during these times of uncertainty and increased complexity, where results cannot be predicted that leaders need to invite others to share diverse knowledge to discover new purpose and strategies and decide the way forward.
Designing For Chaordic Clarity
The chaordic path is the path that walks between chaos and
order. When we don't know where we are going, or what the
future needs for us, we can bring a little bit of form to our work by
working with clear steps. These steps are intended to create
generative structures, structures that allow us to create together,
without stifling creativity and the emergence of new ideas and
new ways of doing things.
There are clear strategic steps we take when walking the
Chaordic path. These steps allow us to create steps rooted in real
need that are sustainable for the community they serve and the
people working within them. These steps can be used both as a planning tool and to help understand what you are discovering about an organization, community or initiative.