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Being and Doing

doing beingYou can read the graphic many ways. The vertical axis represents the ‘given wisdom’ about business performance encapsulated in the phrase, “what gets measured gets done”. The horizontal axis represents a view of management based on emergence, arising from systems thinking.

While in your business either style may predominate, they are not mutually exclusive. I would like to suggest that the successful entrepreneur is able to blend the two, with a slight leaning towards the horizontal axis.

If you know anything about the new science of chaos theory, you will know about the tendency of systems to organize themselves. Management practice for most of my life, on the other hand, has been based on the idea that we can manage outcomes.

Long Range Planning was high fashion in major corporations about 25 years ago. So was Operational Research, an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics and formal science that uses methods such as mathematical modeling, statistics, and algorithms for solutions to complex problems.

Both are less sexy these days, as we appreciate our weakness in forecasting over long periods or where complex problems are concerned. These days we know more and appreciate the ways that the interdependent development of people and organizations are far more likely to produce useful and meaningful results than reliance on abstract numbers in models of reality.

Pathfinders in the field are Peter Senge and the now large numbers of people clustered around the Society for Organizational Learning. There are others, as well as many, perhaps like you who operate that way quite naturally, acting out of high self-awareness and sensitivity to others.

PLEASE NOTE: There is tons of useful stuff on Startup Owl, a site that’s been going for a dozen years. So keep browsing, but know that the founder, Will, now devotes most of his time and energy to his new website that you should definitely visit:

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