Hierarchy Is Not Natural – Part 2

Part 1 we finished with a quote, and we want to start Part 2 with it. Because what would that shift in perspective mean for an organization or even a society?

What would happen, if we forsake the notion of hierarchy and stick to complexity?

“trust is the only – known to me – tool to handle complexity”

Hartung Wilstermann, 2016, Daimler AG

Our way of thinking defines our expectations. If we expect a simple world that fits to my standardized beliefs, I need this world. If I get a different world, I am scared. Something is broken and it’s not me.

If we believe in hierarchy, we expect “the leaders” to give us the direction, structure, and order. And remove all elements that not fit into my expectations. I transfer responsibility and minimize resilience.

This may sound oversimplified, but if you look at our world today, I am sure you will see the pattern. It’s hard to see it not everywhere.

But what is the alternative?

Complexity as Mindset

Yes, you guessed right, complexity. When I expect complexity, which means that behavior of the system in detail is unpredictable, I can live far better with unpredictability. I can trust the system to be stable overall, if it has a clear purpose and direction. But I don’t need to have control in every moment. I chose safety of the system over control of all elements.

And complexity gives me a great tool to check, who is working for the system, or against it. The basic purpose of the human system is simple, it should be survival (for all). This might come with different interpretations, but complexity forces me to be clear about my purpose and direction. And I check what you say against what you do. This needs to be congruent.

And congruent behavior is one part of trust. A complex world requires us to refocus on trust. I can’t understand the whole system and I don’t need to.

We all live in our small worlds anyhow. And all these small worlds superimpose to a certain degree. This creates my personal reality. And it’s clear that we all have our own reality. Complexity helps us to start with diversity in mind. While hierarchy forces us to start with standardization, “what is normal?”, in mind.

Perception Instead Assumption

This small change has a big impact. If I expect you to be different and perceive everything different I will be curious. I will learn and adapt, which makes me intelligent. The acceptance of complexity will lead to a more intelligent system. On all levels – cognitive and emotional. And starting with curiosity makes us prone to build relationships and trust.

“Curiosity is the opposite of judgment.”

Dan, OrgIQ

While starting with assumptions will lead to disappointment and separation, always based on “you are not as I expected”.

This is best to see with “falling in love”. When I fall in love, I become a version of me I assume that the other person will like and not reject. Therefore, I loose myself to be found (saved) by someone else. And because both sides are doing this, nobody connects to anyone. It’s a sad story of faking and illusion.

But if both start with the knowledge of complexity, and embracing complexity, it is fun to discover and explore each other. That is the journey of all relationships. The goal is not maximizing compatibility, but maximizing growth.

Trust to Be Safe

And the same holds true for all relationships in a complex world. I need to build trust – a concrete, personal trust – to navigate the uncertainty of complexity. It’s not about being right, but have trustworthy information that keeps us safe.

We exchange the illusion of an overall safety through control, by the concrete safety in my reality through trust.

Just try it. Check the model. And you will discover that it fits our daily reality way better. It explains most of human behavior and fulfills our human (emotional/psychological) needs. Embracing a complex mind is the escape from the problems we created. It brings u back to productivity and happiness.

Just imagine doing great work and really loving it.


One response to “Hierarchy Is Not Natural – Part 2”

  1. […] Part 2 and Part 1, we take a deeper look at our fears … the reason for our obsession with […]

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