Chaordic Path

It was Dee Hock, former leader of Visa International that coined this phrase, “chaordic.” It is the place where that natural state of chaos and the natural state of order intersect. Just as it is in the model of divergence and convergence, there is an emergent possibility between the two. A wildly creative place that must have enough chaos and must have enough structure or container for the new to emerge. Notice here, it must have both. Too much chaos tends to lead to apathy. Too much control also leads to a kind of apathy.

In social and engagement processes, 
methodologies, questions and overarching purpose 
create the container. 

It is the unpredictability of social interaction that creates the chaos. New ideas bumping in to one another. New perspectives mixed in a way that will challenge certainty.


There is one further piece that is worth noting here. It was theoretical biologist Start Kauffman that I remember writing, “order is for free.” The way that I interpret this is that order does not to be imposed. It is what living systems and living systems of humans do, whether we like it or not. The deeper and more useful question for me is about what kind of order we humans can encourage. What kind of order, without unintentionally stripping the life from what people care about, by imposing unhelpful controls.

For most of us, we have been schooled explicitly in leadership models centered on command and control. We can’t help but feel that loss of control is a bad thing. A weakness. A sign of failure. Personally. Professionally. It’s quite strenuous. What I like about this framing is that it reintroduces us to the ever present place of chaos. Life’s natural fidgeting, letting go, messiness. These are things we have been taught to protect against.