Living Systems (Blog #250)

Why is it that we would expect that solutions developed in one context would work the same in the other?  Plausible and prescriptive solutions that perpetuate excellence are learned from and improved as they are applied.  Knowledge, experience, relationships, and adaptations within the application of the originating theory are what propels progress.  Solutions are more often discovered through actions taken over time.  Very few success stories start and end with an originating theory.  A theory must relate and adapt with an environment of some kind to be realized or proven.

There is a defined process, plan, or playbook to organize for most things referred to as work, but that doesn’t mean any of them would be successful in ever-fluctuating universes.  Even if this guidance/theory worked in the past or worked for someone else.  Most organizations have strategic plans and identified systems that need to be operationalized with financial targets that are to be met.  Those elements alone guarantee nothing.  You must learn by doing.  Action and the continuous cycle of applied learning with the connection of a multitude of relationships (internal and external) determine your fate.  You collectively experience your first decisions, to then determine the next and so forth.

From Margaret Wheatley in her 2006 book (Leadership and the New Science):

Life demands that I participate with things as they unfold, to expect to be surprised, to honor the mystery of it, and to see what emerges.  These were difficult processes to learn.  I was well-trained to create things — plans, events, measures, programs.  I invested more than half of my life to make the world conform to what I thought was best for it.  It’s not easy to give up the role of master creator and move into the dances of life.”

“All science is metaphor, a hypothetical description of how to think of a reality we can never fully know.  Organizations are living systems, possessing the same capacity to adapt and grow that is common to all life.”

Great food for applied learning thought.


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