Sunday, April 18, 2010

CONTROL - information chastity belts

The Creative Energy of the Universe: IN-FORMATION

Highlighted by O'Steven from Leadership and the New Science by M.J. Wheatley

Self-organizing system = can be thought of as a process of energy that manifest itself in physical formation.

Life uses information to organize matter into forms, resulting in physical structures that we can see. The role of information is revealed in the word itself: IN-FORMATION. When new structures materialize, we know a system has in-formed itself differently.

Closed system = will wind down and eventually decay, another victim of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

GENESIS - is the opposite of management and control as the source of life is new information, novelty, ordered into new structures. We need information coursing through our systems, disturbing the peace, imbuing everything it touches with the possibility of new life.

FREEDOM - is required for new birth, and information is a unique resource because it can generate itself, like an inexhaustible solar energy for organizations - with new progeny possible with every interpretation. When communication occurs in a shared and open context, fertility abounds.

Management function - is often accompanied with dark cloaks of control and usually comes with an information chastity belt. When rumors proliferate and gossip get out of hand, it is a sign that people lack the genuine article - honest meaningful information.

Given that we all need to be continually nourished by information, it is no small wonder that employees cite "poor communication" as one of their greatest problems.

ORGANIZATIONS - information can serve an organizational function because they are open systems and can be responsive to the same self-organizing dynamics as all other life systems. To foster these self-organizing capacities in our organizations we have to work with information the same way life does. We need to create much free access to it, and become more astute at noticing new information as it emerges.

INTELLIGENCE - if a system has the capacity to process information, to notice and respond, then that system possesses the quality of intelligence. The greater the ability to process information, the greater the level of intelligence.

NOURISHMENT - we need to begin thinking of information as nourishment rather than merely power. We all have to learn how to support the workings of each other, to realize that intelligence is distributed and that it is our role to nourish others with truthful, meaningful information.

INNOVATION - It is no longer the leader's task to move information carefully along restricted pathways, shepherding it cautiously through channels, passing it on guardedly to someone else. Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries.

RELATIONSHIPS - Knowledge grows inside relationship, from ongoing circles of exchange where information is not just accumulated by individuals, but is willingly shared. Information-rich , ambiguous environments are the source of surprising new births.

RESPONSIBILITY - An individual without information, can't take responsibility, but an individual who is given information can't help but take responsibility. One of an organizations most critical competencies is to create the conditions that both generate new knowledge and help it to be freely shared.

QUANTUM PHYSICS - Here we see relational holism, where whole systems are created by the interactions among subatomic particles. In this process, the parts don't remain as parts; they are drawn together by a process of internal connectedness.

COMING TOGETHER - We sometimes experience a great team effort, one that far exceeds what could have been done alone, and these always feel slightly miraculous. As we begin to understand our participation in a universe that thrives on open information and that works with us to self-organize into systems of increased capacity, we might challenge ourselves to drop our information chastity belts and tap into that great creative energy of the universe: IN-FORMATION.

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