Making sense of chaos

During my most recent academic experience, an instructor posed the question: is our world complex or complicated? Many people don’t know the difference between the two, so here goes:

Wiring an airplane’s electronic system is complicated. There’s a lot to know to do it safely and correctly, but essentially, the information required to do the job is finite.

Complex has a different meaning because it involves the element of chaos. Complexity refers to situations that are constantly evolving. Human relationships are complex, for example, and any crisis situation is fraught with human conflict and emotion. Without some advance planning, the impact of a crisis on your organization can be devastating. At stake are people, reputation, profits and even the ability to continue doing business.

So what can people and organizations do about it?
What you do before a crisis happens is as important as what you do when it does. So plan for what you do know in advance to emerge intact. Some organizations emerge from a crisis situation even stronger, and it all starts with thinking about the risks involved in your line of business.

Next, ask yourself what your stakeholders would expect from leaders and the organization in the event that the worst happened.

Make a list of the worst things that could happen. Think in broad categories like natural disaster, health scares, employee problems, senior management death, mismanagement or inaction, workplace accident, environmental damage, equipment failure, legislative change or financial crisis etc. Then rank them as follows:

1)  The potential impact on your business and its assets;
2) The likelihood they will occur

Pick your top 3-5 and build a crisis plan for that scenario. Make sure everyone in the organization has a job to do, conduct drills on a regular basis and update the plans at least annually.

Ever heard of idea chain management? Today’s interesting link is about how to market ideas.


About signinblack

PR specialist good at what I do, but with a regular-sized ego. Inspired by the human condition, politics, philosophy, good books, craft, technology and people with integrity.
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