In a Newtonian world, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hit a billiard ball and it will shoot off in a predictable trajectory. Basic physics.
Two of the greatest management thinkers of our times were physicists: W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, both of whom developed systemic approaches to management. At Intelligent Management, our work was developed by a physicist, Dr. Domenico Lepore, based on the philosophy and applications of Deming and Goldratt. Why does physics matter? Because our world has changed. We can’t keep managing organizations with basic physics, thinking that things are linear and that a hierarchical functional organization with silos has any chance of being adequate for today’s complexity.
Here’s the problem: almost all natural systems that it has been possible to model mathematically are nonlinear. For this reason, we can assume that the study of nonlinear dynamics is of fundamental importance, including for management.
In a nonlinear system, a small change to a parameter can lead to unexpected and violent variations in the qualitative and quantitative behaviour of the system. Some of these unexpected and dramatic variations in a nonlinear system can lead to complex behaviour that we call chaos.
The greatest difficulty lies in the fact that the known mathematical techniques allow for a complete and satisfactory solution only for linear systems. An exact solution using differential equations is often impossible, unless we use computer-generated numerical solutions.
Nonlinear Dynamics and managing in an intelligent way
The systemic methodology for management promoted by Intelligent Management approaches complexity from a nonlinear standpoint. This is because organizations are made up of networks, and they exist within other networks, and all of these networks are made up of multiple interconnections that increase their complexity. Considerations of network theory led us to develop an organizational model for complexity that we call the network of projects to completely shift away from a traditional hierarchical/functional model while protecting the legitimate needs for control and growth.
Networks, networks, networks
The relations within a network also evolve in a nonlinear way. Indeed, we may even consider the conflicts that inevitably arise as explosions of nonlinearity.
We may state that nonlinearity is the key to interpreting all complex phenomena that arise spontaneously when several entities interact, be they biological or human.
Digitization is accelerating the need to reshape organizations to function beyond silos. Leaders and managers urgently need to get a grasp of knowledge of nonlinearity and learn how to manage organizations in a completely new light.
The Intelligent Management Partners are trusted advisors to leaders of organizations. We blog about how to shift your thinking towards broader, systemic possibilities for yourself and your organization. Sign up to our blog here. Intelligent Management provides education and training on systemic management, W. Edwards Deming’s management philosophy and the Theory of Constraints (Decalogue methodology) in North America and Europe.
See our new books The Human Constraint – a business novel that has sold in 27 countries so far and ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York. by our Founder Dr. Domenico Lepore, Dr. .Angela Montgomery and Dr. Giovanni Siepe.