Inspirational Chaos: Executive Coaching and Tolerance of Complexity
EVIDENCE-BASED COACHING VOL.1: THEORY, RESEARCH AND PRACTICE FROM THE BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES, pp. 83-95, Michael Cavanagh, Anthony M. Grant, and Travis Kemp, eds., Australian Academic Press, 2005
14 Pages Posted: 30 May 2010
Date Written: June 28, 2005
The historical events of 9/11, the subsequent wars, and the coincidental collapse of corporations and economies have heightened the perception of complexity and uncertainty in the business environment. Executive managers face unprecedented challenges, solutions for which are often beyond the reach of current practice. That we live in turbulent times is an understatement. “There is no more normal,” declares business commentator Seth Godin (2002). “We need a different way of organising work.” Adapting to such an environment requires a high degree of tolerance of complexity, according to Garvey and Alred (2001). They refer to the root meaning of the word tolerate (from the Latin tolerare tolerat - “endure”) meaning to “allow the existence or occurrence of without authoritative interference.” Tolerance as “enduring” or “sustaining” is by no means passive. It requires a perception of the constantly changing organisational landscape as a field of bounded instability through which optimal performance is an emergent property.
Keywords: Coaching, Complexity, Chaos, Leadership, Wisdom
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