Making sense of crazy times #3
Many of us are making sense of the world post-pandemic in order to get back to business-as-usual as soon as possible. But is that realistic, or even possible?
We are fast moving into a post-industrial civilisation, where exponential technologies are challenging all our assumptions about work, structures, governance and values. Conventional economic and management thinking — create conditions for stable growth, strategise, (re)organise to maximise efficiency, align the culture to deliver — are not going to bring the desired results in complex, uncertain conditions. The interactions across our global systems have led to a global pandemic. Even if it was predicted by some, most ignored the warning signs and focused on competing for dwindling resources. COVID-19 is likely to be only one of the “breakdowns” of our global systems. Suddenly all kinds of trends which were already existing have been highlighted and accelerated, with devastating consequences at all scales. The collapse of ways of thinking and doing creates chaos for many of us, but also the opportunity to reframe and operate more usefully too.
In June 2020, the stakeholders of the World Economic Forum met and published their approach for improving the state of the world.
While many of us might agree with many of the ideas proposed here, centralisation is not an effective approach for managing complexity. Sovereignty, local decision and action are paramount. We need to radically refresh our mindsets, so that we create conditions for living, naturally resilient systems which can flow in response to disruption, not “robust” chains of supply and command. Authoritarian control, high surveillance, extensive regulation offer the pretexts for extensive power grabs behind the scenes as the world is distracted by the risk of death, economic failure, social unrest and climate catastrophe.
How are you and your leadership team making sense of what is going on so that you can respond usefully to it? Are you trying to go back to something stable or are you ready to challenge your thinking and governance models?