I know, it sounds like kind of a nonsensical topic…I’m back to reading Wheatley’s “Leadership and the New Science” and just finished Chapter 5, “Change, Stability and Renewal: The Paradoxes of Self-Organizing Systems.” Here’s an interesting excerpt from p. 83:
If an organization seeks to develop these life-saving qualities of adaptability, it needs to open itself in many ways. Especially important is the organization’s relationship to information, particularly to that which is new and even disturbing.
An open organization doesn’t look for information that makes it feel good, that verifies its past and validates its present. It is deliberatively looking for information that might threaten its stability, knock it off balance, and open it to growth. This is so different from the way information is handled in well-defended organizations. In these, only information that confirms existing plans or leadership is let in. Closed off from disturbances, kept at equilibrium, such organizations run down, atrophy, and die.
Wheatley applies this to organizations. I think it also applies to spiritual and personal growth. It’s not always enjoyable to deal with new insights about myself, but I can say with complete honesty that I have no regrets about any of the things I’ve had to deal with in my life. I have a strong sense that God has guided me through a number of difficult times and has helped to come out with a stronger and truer sense of myself – the paradox of disequilibrium resulting in greater stability.
I also think it is good to reflect on this in the organizations I’m part of. I have often heard that one of the roles of religious in the RC Church is a prophetic one. Does that mean that whenever I question authority, I am fulfilling my prophetic call? I think not… But whenever I speak from my center, from what is deepest and truest in me, I believe that this is so, whether if confirms or disturbs the powers that be. Can I count on speaking from this place of deep integrity without ongoing discernment and prayer? Absolutely not!