Have we confused control with order?

Our organizations are strong complicated structures that are resistant to change, fearful of the future and we have built them that way deliberately. We built them that way to hold back the forces that seem to threaten their very existence. We are afraid of what would happen if we lose our grip. If we let the elements of our organizations recombine or reconfigure or even to speak truthfully to one another, we are afraid that things will fall apart. We do not trust that this is a world of growth, rejuvenation and process. We believe we must provide the energy to hold it together. By sheer force of will, we have resisted destruction. And if we let go, the world will dis- integrate.

awesome nature


Yet, throughout the universe, things work very well without us. Wherever we look, we see a landscape of movement and complexity, of forms that come and go, of structures that are not from organizational charts or job descriptions, but from impulses arriving out of deep natural processes of growth and of self-renewal. In our desire to control our organizations, we have detached ourselves from the forces that create order in the universe. All these years we have confused control with order. So what if we reframed the search? What if we stop looking for control and begin the search for order, which we can see everywhere around us in living dynamic systems?

It is time, I believe, to become a community of inquirers, serious explorers seeking to discover the essence of order-order we will find even in the heart of chaos. It is time to relinquish the limits we have placed on our organizations, time to release our defenses and fear. Time to take up new lenses and explore beyond our known boundaries. It is time to become full participants in this universe of emergent order.

– Margaret Wheatley



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