The change projects: leadership, processes and people. Most

The future
of work is Chaos by Claire Burge

 

I chose
this video since the concept of chaos drew my attention. In a world where we
are always looking for order and organization, how can you say the future of
work is Chaos?

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Ms. Burge
talks about how chaos is a complex system whose behavior is so unpredictable as
to appear random. We view chaos as disorder, disarray, disruption, mostly in a
negative connation. But chaos is sensitive to micro changes. She describes how
we all want collaboration, creativity, freedom, play etc., as an end result,
but we don’t explain how we are going to get there. No one talks about the process.
She compares the workplace with a playground. It is a system, with boundaries,
specific, but complex. The equipment determines behavior. She goes on to say
there are 3 components in the future of work: humans, technology and space. She
talks about major change projects: leadership, processes and people. Most
mistakes are made by focusing only on the processes. Unless the leadership and
people are involved then you’re never going to reach more than 30% of the
impact that’s possible. This means don’t jump straight into processes. You need
to make sure that the leadership deeply understands the what, why and how
regarding the changes.

What is
chaos? “Chaos (n): the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex
natural system. Chaos is the science of surprises, of the unpredictable. It
teaches us to expect the unexpected.” This is something we should get used to
in the workplace.  Thinking of chaos made
me think of the Chaos Theory. “Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that
are effectively impossible to predict or control.” Many of the systems in which
we live show complex, chaotic behavior. Recognizing this can help us gain an
understanding, influence, and knowledge.

Chaos may
seem random, but it’s actually a complex system, there are repetitive forms or
patterns, and loops. We react well to systems. It can have somewhat of a “butterfly
effect” where one slight change can result in larger changes in another area.
In the workplace, initial conditions may determine future behavior.  In other words, the present can determine the
future. Everything you do and say matters! This awareness can be powerful tool.
If you don’t give the small stuff any importance, it can lead into chaotic
events because one’s belief structure has been formed to consider small matters
as inconsequential, insignificant and beneath one’s notice. Most organizations
have become so accustomed to chaos that they don’t even recognize it. For
example: unmotivated employees, unclear direction and processes, and unhappy clients
and stakeholders. Rather than accepting a chaotic situation and having to develop
a skill set around it, or finding a solution, you could try to reduce the chaos.
Chaos could sabotage the value you provide to your customers and shareholders.
But there’s other ways of looking at chaos.

As technology continues to change the way business is
conducted on a daily basis, evidence of chaos is clearly visible. We’re told machines are going to
take over more positions in the workplace, what would that mean to humans? What
make us different than machines? How do we matter? We matter because we are
good at critical thinking and possess creativity. We ask the difficult
questions, we actively listen, we feel empathy. It is how we survive in the
work world, adjusting to change and embracing the chaos that comes along with
it, just being human.  

Thinking
about the video, I always thought of playgrounds as a place for kids to go
crazy, somewhere where they can be out of control, somewhere to release all
that energy. Now I can clearly see that they are extremely controlled
environments. They generally have fences to stop the kids from going too far.
They have multiple and very different specific areas. Swings, slides. seesaws,
climbing frames, etc. It makes you think how are we setting up the same
environments in our workplaces?

When a
child is at a playground they don’t need to be told to go and play, the space tells
them that. But the controls all exist in the design of the space.  Work should be no different than a playground,
with defined structures and systems driving development where employees can be
playful and chaotic. And sometimes to discover the potential in employees we
need to invent new playgrounds for them to run around in.  

 

 

References:

T. (2016,
April 21). The future of work is chaos | Claire Burge | TEDxAthens. Retrieved from

Chaos. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chaos

What is
Chaos Theory? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/