The Paradox of Control →

Stephen Duns, writing for Leadership Victoria:

So the more we try to control, the more people will self-organise against our control and the less control we have. A paradox for leadership. The more a solution is imposed onto a system the more that system will self-organise against that solution.

What is the way through this paradox? The answer lies in another feature of complex adaptive systems – “a system will only accept a solution it is part of creating”. The solution is to use some sort of participatory process that allows the collective intelligence of the system to create its own solution.

This is bang on. It’s one of the most succinct, yet practical explanations of working with complexity I’ve read.

In simpler terms, imposing change on people increases anxiety and resistance. People own what they help create, so invite them to participate in creating solutions.