Have you ever made a seemingly innocuous statement, or executed a “normal” business action and, in return, experienced surprisingly angry or retaliatory reactions? …Reactions that were far out of proportion to your original intentions…Intentions that were likely benign and, definitely, “inconsequential” acts. If so, you were experiencing, first hand, the results of Chaos Theory at work.
Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. One of the most synonymous principles is the butterfly effect,
“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world” (Chaos theory)
And, why is this bit of philosophy and science important to the conduct of business and to those who manage these organizations? It is because when one realizes that the smallest of actions in an organization can have prodigious ramifications, one begins to fully become aware of the magnitude and importance of human interactions and their impact on the organization.
Our own feedback and interactions even the smallest thoughts can influence major outcomes, for example systems often become chaotic when there is feedback present. A good example is the behavior of the stock market. As the value of a stock rises or falls, people are inclined to buy or sell that stock. This in turn further affects the price of the stock, causing it to rise or fall chaotically.
As you observe your work as a manager and leader, observe with fresh application the incidents that have preceded truly chaotic events and begin to chronicle for yourself what these events consisted of — I think you’ll be amazed to find that all chaotic events have their roots in a very small “triggering” incident. And, as you look at your future practice of management, “Remember the Butterfly!”
The underlying message of this article is believing that every single thought we have means something, one way or another it will find a way to contribute and shape the future.
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