When Chaos is Good

When Chaos is Good

A CEO that I do strategy and culture work with, let’s call her Mia, has an exceptionally healthy relationship with chaos.

I don’t mean that they like a chaotic environment. They don’t.

Nor do I mean that they are chaos makers, like some leaders that might come to mind. They aren’t.

By chaos, I don’t mean complete disarray, but rather a level allowing that encourages things to blossom on their own.

Rather, this CEO understands the necessities of the right kinds of chaos in both culture and strategy. I’ll talk about culture in this post.  

Good chaos in a culture.

The leader of this particular company has a great culture. It’s their not-so-secret sauce. They have a robust line of people who are eager to work for and with them, in an industry that’s pretty well-known for people leaving to find a healthier line of work. 

This CEO and their leadership and management teams understand the delicate nature of how great teams and organizations operate. Because they understand this delicate nature they’re willing to nurture it, but not over tend it. They’re willing to let it thrive under its own conditions, and sometimes this feels like chaos.

This particular CEO realizes that if your culture is garden-like, you can’t stand over the plants and insist they grow. You can’t over-tend them if they’re expected to flourish. 

They know that if a single plant and the entire garden are to thrive, and they’ll do so under the right conditions. And, on occasions, they’ll need direction, guidance, and nurturing. 

From the outside, looking in, all of this seems so organic that it appears to be chaotic. It’s simply part of a larger, long-term strategy to invest in people—employees, customers, partners, and the community. 

And, it’s worth saying that there’s love (philia) at the core of this business. Love shows up in the form of care for their purpose, their people, and their vision. 

We all know, you can’t force love or care. It comes from belonging and trust. It’s born from allowing people to be the best version of themselves, and thriving as human contributors to the greater good of all the people who belong to the organizations.

You might be wondering: why don’t more companies pursue the ‘great culture’ strategy?

The answer is because it’s hard, it’s messy, it feels chaotic. It requires leaders who are comfortable with a little bit of chaos and a whole lot of trust in people. If you want a culture like this, I can show you the way — it’s part of the work I do.  

Relevant questions for you might be:

  • What is your organizations’ comfort with chaos? How is this managed?
  • How willing are you to allow people to thrive in their own sunlight?
  • How much trust does your leadership team place on the people who make day-to-day decisions?

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