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@Chaplain Brinker

Complexity Thinking – Brown

This article was stimulating because it introduced new concepts and terms to me. I had to read and reread it in pieces. As I struggled to understand what the author was addressing, I first thought of the popular notion of a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon setting in motion a resulting storm at sea. I recently saw a video of an astronaut giving a detailed tour of the International Space Station. That is a complicated space vehicle-“each component can be described.” Global climate change in complex-dynamic, interactive, responsive, changing, adaptive, emerging. Yes there is a difference. I also think some things have characteristics of both elements.

I recognize that as a clergy person who has served almost 40 years in highly structured denominational congregations (United Methodist Church) I have lots of experience, most of it unfruitful in bureaucratic leadership. The Myth’s on page 5 were presented over and over again as the gospel of leadership. Then my church began to use one consultant after another to bring about denominational change. Most of it still used the old myths, even though it was dressed up as solution for all our problems. I think for two decades we had an annual transformational guru who was presented as the one who had the answer. Perhaps at one time this model of leadership and change worked. It is evident to me it seldom works now.

I believe there have been many attempts to describe the mega shifts we are going through now at multiple levels in our society. The term “Knowledge Era” is a new one which is helpful in describing part of these changes.

I understand that this article is only a summary of complexity theory and provides an overview. As I was reading page 4 I wondered about some of the assumptions behind this article or perhaps underlying Complexity Leadership. It seems to me that it assumes, participants have access to the self align in dynamic creative, adaptive units….
Yes good leadership in complexity will foster the “flourishing of dynamic interactions…” But what happens when a person is not in a recognized position of organizational leadership? If an organization is bureaucratic in nature trying to cast vision, control, bring compliance, then influence others for conformity, then those who want to dynamically interact and creatively align new effective solutions are likely to see their position as one of disenfranchisement.

My application of this article to my situation is what does one do when “healthy conditions to self-organize around relevant issues” are not present. How does one move into complexity leadership as a chaplain in a single provider department working in a culture of bureaucratic, linear leadership?

Your comments and insights are most welcome.