Both Chaos Theory (CT) and Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) used by science to explain how complex systems operate as well as successfully surviving and thriving in a complex environment. In the last three months, I posted how to use those principles as a foundation to a management system that can deal better with complexity. This post brings it all together.

Each principle is reefrences (linked) to the relative post. I add in brackets from which science field I took the principle.

If you have any question or you want to get a better understanding before implementing part or all of those principles, feel free to contact me.

  1. Distributed Control (CAS): No central control. Decision making and authority is distributed to groups and individuals.
  2. Self Organization (CAS): Autonomy for a team to organize itself by the team members to reach a given purpose.
  3. No Silos (CT- fractal): Instead of departments of expertise, a hybrid group builds from all needed experience to reach a purpose and fulfill a given function.
  4. The environment is your steering body (CAS): Instead of steering committees and boards invest time into getting feedbacks from your business environment and immediate response to feedbacks.
  5. Focus on the whole, not the parts (CAS): Reductionism and seeing an organization as a machine should be replaced by system thinking and seeing the organization as one living organism.
  6. Always look for the butterfly effect (CT- strange Attractors): Look for simple low-cost changes that can cause a huge impact on your business. Understand that it is impossible to know how a system will react to a change.
  7. Always emerging (CAS): If a system is not changing it will move into equilibrium and then to death. Make sure someone is responsible for a continuous emerging of a system and that system emerge a behavior that is bigger than all individuals can achieve alone.
  8. Purpose & Feedbacks (CAS): Purpose is essential for each group and function in your business. Immediate feedbacks if and how purpose achieved is a key to success.
  9. Clear boundaries (Based on experience – loosely taken from CAS): Purpose, managed artifacts, and responsibilities must be defined for each group and function within an organization. Those definitions must be publically available and make no confusion about who is responsible for what.
  10. Co-evolution (CAS): The system is changing as a whole. One change in one group or even function will cause a change in other entities depending on the changed function. eventually, one change in one function causes a major change to the system as a whole.
  11. Flow achieved after two negative impacts (CT – Universality): It takes two negative impacts and two positive impacts before the system reach a flow after a change. Don’t break after the first or second negative impact. Raise a flag if reality isn’t following this pattern.
  12. Start with small steps (CT – Fractals): Don’t invest time to understand all the steps needed to reach a change. Start with small steps. After a while, the overall strategy will emerge from small tasks and relations between them.
  13. Random interactions (CT – Bifurcation): Invest time and effort to make sure you maximize random interaction between people in your organization. Random interaction gurentee significant change in the system.


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