The Game Has Changed…

“The most stubborn habits which resist change with the greatest tenacity are those which worked well for a space of time and led to the practitioner being rewarded for those behaviors. If you suddenly tell such persons that their recipe for success is no longer viable, their personal experience belies your diagnosis. The road to convincing them is hard.”  -via Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity

The problem is…

In many ways, we are stilling playing Pong in an Xbox world.

The game has changed…

So the question becomes, are we willing to admit and face it?

Or are we so busy looking straight ahead that we’ve lost the ability to see around the corner…

In Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity Gharajedaghi shares of this tipping point, this “shift of paradigm” we have to reach as individuals and organizations, that is summed up in Stafford Beer’s observation, “Acceptable ideas are competent no more and competent ideas are not yet acceptable.” It is in this realization, this “shift of paradigm” that Gharajedaghi notes where “Eventually, the exceptional courage of a few leads to questioning the conventional wisdom and pointing to the the first crack in it.”  

For which, whether we are willing to admit it or not, may be the chasm that we currently exist within, both as individuals and as organizations.

We see the cracks, we notice the erosion, we even see the futility and irrelevance in many of the processes and strategies we continue to implement, but we find it much easier to patch up these cracks, even when we know the dam is ready to burst. Even when the red flag is lifted and the caution bells are ringing. For it is much easier to patch that which exists, than to create anew. It is the difference between reforming and transforming.

Especially when we consider the heavy lift and mental mindshift this ringing bell is threatening to extoll in regards to the extensiveness of this “shift in paradigm.”

In many ways, this is an easy bell to ignore or even turn away from. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that this bell is summoning is overwhelming in its scope. The sheer audacity and disruption required in attempting to redesign and reimagine our systems and the leadership required to heave this lift is tremendous even in its consideration.

However, it did not stop those facing many of these same obstacles and challenges as our organizations and leaders rolled into the first industrial revolution. 

The first industrial revolution required a disruptive overhaul of many of our systems, organizations and leadership, the same disruptive shifts will eventually be required of our current systems, organizations and leadership as we move into the fourth industrial revolution.

What was designed for the linear and predictable won’t automatically shift to becoming creative and innovative.

I will leave you with these words from Gharajedaghi in his work Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity, as we begin to truly consider whether business as usual will work in a world that has shifted gears from incremental to exponential…

“A shift paradigm can happen purposefully, by an active process of learning and unlearning. More commonly, however, it is a reaction to frustration produced by a march of events that nullify conventional wisdom. Faced with a series of contradictions that cn no longer be ignored or denied, and/or an increasing number of dilemmas for which prevailing mental models can no longer provide convincing explanations, most people accept that the prevailing paradigm has ceased to be valid and that it has exhausted its potential capacity.”


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