“Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined.” -Leo Rosten
We have a tendency to think of our organizations systems as being an infinite proposition. We have this hidden assumption that they will grow and expand as needed and necessary. But most organizations and systems were not created to engender limitless possibilities; rather they are often restricted, predictable, and even finite. At some point, our organizations and systems reach an edge or limit. Which is usually where we come face to face with the unknown, the unexplored, or even the unexpected.
Where we determine the true change capacity of our organization or system.
And while any organization or system has the possibility for unlimited potential, they are also held to the level of their current capacity. Which is why ongoing learning will have to become a cornerstone of our modern organizations and systems. But not just ongoing learning alone, but proactive and preparatory learning that feeds and expands the internal and external capacity of the organization and system on an ongoing and continual basis.
In today’s world it is not enough to just build sustainability into our organizations and systems, we must create the learning and capacity that allows those same organizations and systems to adapt and transform as they come to that edge of the unknown, the unexplored and the unexpected.
Too often, it is this edge that defines and controls our organizations or systems, limiting both capacity and possibility.
Organizations and systems that are unwilling or unable to continually engage proactive learning are not only becoming less able to deal with the plethora of unanticipated unknowns that the turbulence of change continue to stir up, it shrinks ability of the organization and system to move into the future in a relevant and thriving manner. Often leading into irrelevance and eventual insignificance.
A point at which some level of disruption occurs within the organization or system on both an internal and external level, often leaving the organization or system a shell or carcass of its former self.
The organizations that thrive and flourish during these times of rapid and even chaotic change, face the limits of their capacity in a proactive manner, not only in their learning, but in their doing. They are prepared to face their unknowns with a creative and innovative stance. They find ways to evolve and transform the organization and system forward. They find new and novel ways to remain relevant.
Which can cause difficult and stressful, but necessary shifts to the current and often ingrained ways of thinking and doing.
It is not just about how we handle disruption, it is how we evolve, advance and transform in the face of disruption that will extend the capacity, capability and ongoing growth of our organizations and systems. And it will be that capacity building that will lead to the eventual and ongoing sustainability of our organizations and systems.
“Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.” -Leo Rosten