Organize with Chaos - Robin M. Rowley & Joseph J. Roevens

Organize with ChaosThis book will be uncomfortable for many who claim to understand how to implement change. Some early passages from the book best illuminate its ideas.

‘Management today must be considered as a continuous experiment.’ ‘Nature experiments by throwing a whole lot of diversity into a changing environments. Most of the experiments fail. Adaptive success and long-term stability in business today is likewise built on how you handle failure.’
‘When things are changing fast out there, only a creative strategy of widespread institutional chaos will prevent total system collapse!

Once you understand this paradox, you can begin to love change as much as you used to hate it.’

The book explores this shift in thinking, one which they suggest has its roots 40,000 years in the past with the emergence of farming and a shift in thinking from working with nature to controlling nature; a shift from stewardship to ownership.

The book explores the impact of this shift in thinking, the legacy it has created and how we might create environments in which we release people from control so that they can strive to find their own way in their own way.

As the authors describe it, ‘anxiety and fear will lead to a stressed out empty shell of a firm that everybody hates, including your customers and shareholders and even you eventually. A House at war with itself cannot stand.’

Rather than our quest for stability, control and perfection, they assert that efficient control in production and services although a necessary part of the business-cycle to generate and accumulate profit, is always a temporary condition. This stability can not be a goal, for if achieved it is the death of the business.

For those immersed in the endless cycle of implementing management tools, this book will be little more than an unwelcome distraction, but for those who’ve recognised the futility of current thinking and approaches, ideas in this book may be the key to unlock new opportunities.


Steve Unwin
September 2011