3.3 Decision Making by Laws of Nature
Decision making by
1. Laws of Natures first1
2. Laws of Nature and human-made constructs complementing each other
Certain Laws of Nature are applicable across areas. Some of them are of the highest impact when organizational, societal, or planetary problems must be solved.
It does not matter whether something is seen or accepted as a Law of Nature. What matters is that, in principle, the Laws of Nature cannot be overruled by human beings, methods, theories, paradigms, and the like.
In complex situations, the implications of the Tipping Point Law of Nature below have to be considered as well.
With the deadlines set by nature and social unrest, missing relevant Laws of Nature of high(est) impact is no longer sustainable.
Since we can no longer afford endless discussions on matters such as definitions and procedural requirements, we need actions:
- Could a law of nature occur or apply?
- What is the impact (negative and positive)?
- What solution possibilities may it provide before and beyond tipping points?
- What is the practical and executable solution framework?
- Who is responsible for executing the solution framework?
A relatively small number of Laws of Nature appears to be highly relevant. When missed, the damage can be huge. When applied, their positive impact is bound to be huge.
Highly relevant Laws of Nature may hide behind phenomena, idioms, and the like.
What qualifies as a Law of Nature for us
When, in principle, something cannot be overruled by human-made constructs, it qualifies as a Law of Nature
Laws of Nature with the High(est)-Impact
The following examples have been collected based on
- Solving the tough problems organizations, society, and the planet face and creating a flourishing future with the highest impact at the lowest costs
- Executability in organizations
Laws of Nature
Examples or experiences
Applicable with organizational, societal, and planetary matters because
“The effective solution to a complex problem may be amazingly simple”
“The whole of a system cannot be divided into its parts“
A living thing cannot be divided into its parts, put together again, and expected to function.
Something is complex when patterns like the following occur:
- The whole cannot be divided into its parts.
- The implications of a change cannot be foreseen.
- The external dependencies of a part cannot be fully understood.
- The ‘unexpected unexpected’ keeps popping up despite extensive efforts to prevent it (project management).
All the tough problems we face are complex and must be treated as such.
Examples: climate and biodiversity, hate, poverty, social inequality, and the like.
2. Capacity Bottlenecks:
“When the demand for a resource exceeds its capacity, a tipping point is crossed. Queues build up”
3. Tipping Points | Phase Shifts:
“When a tipping point is crossed, something fundamental changes”
Practices working well before becoming counterproductive or the cause of failure.
Decisions, communications, practices, actions, etc., communicate “something is not right.”
Switching to practices working well used to be part of common business sense and intuition.
See also the video “An Astonishing Discovery.”
“Over time and even with disturbances like meteors and viruses, nature develops towards healthy and balanced systems
The organizations and systems we live and work in are part of nature.
At organizational, societal, and planetary levels, serious health issues and out-of-balance situations threaten the wellbeing of ourselves, our children, society, the planet, and humanity.
Phenomena are things that occur. There are predictable and unpredictable phenomena.
Learning to recognize known phenomena, their practices, and how to go about unknown phenomena is missing in today’s education.
- Developing the capability to recognize phenomena and apply the practices they provide.
- Developing the capacity to go about unknown phenomena.
“In nature, there is an indefinite number of possibilities as to how life can develop”
- Allows only possibilities and associated solutions that fit into human-made boundaries and standard ways of thinking
- Builds on the same thinking that created the problem situations
Effective solutions are needed. Therefore, groups with different or conflicting views need to work together from a shared reference point.
Creating new possibilities begins by training your mind to
- Let go of fixed ways of thinking
- Be open to an indefinite number of possibilities waiting to be unleashed and used
New possibilities allow starting from a shared reference point and finding mutually acceptable solutions via e.g., co-creation.
7. Navigating to the ‘Simple’ Solutions in Complex Systems:
“While the effective solutions to complex matters may be amazingly simple, it may require all of the following:
An integral solution of high(est)-impact elements
The elements to come from different areas
The solution to address the wider environment
In addition, the solution must be practical and brought beyond the tipping point where it becomes executable in the impacted environment.”
(1 + 1 become 3, 4, or even a lot more)
When the damage created by insufficient project results and failure exceeded tipping points, this triggered movements to self-organization and agility.
The dominant approach to ‘solve’ complex matters remains to break them into supposedly manageable parts and apply exact and linear practices.
The illustration below identifies a pattern observed with self-organization and agile movements addressing problems of high complexity:
A firmly held belief is this: When the problem is complex, root causes cannot be found or solved.
We disagree with such views. A poll on LinkedIn identified many patterns as to ‘why many work on solving symptoms, but nobody on solving their root causes.’
What is missing in today’s attempts to solve complex matters:
- The Tipping Point Law of Nature and its implication of multiple states within the same system (see the water example in the tipping point video above)
- The need for traditional, agile, and self-organization practices to complement each other
- Identifying and resolving structural gaps and conflicts with today’s methods and frameworks
- Accepting that after two decades of using traditional practices, people with the creativity required to identify and resolve the structural gaps and conflicts may have left the organization
To go about matters such as observed in the previous points and in addition to this Manifesto, the following is an approach that has shown its value in the field:
Root causes of the highest impact at the wider level tell where to intervene. Focusing on the highest impact consistently appears to reduce the number of root causes to a small number.
Changeable root causes of the highest impact, which may hide behind the identified root causes, tell whether a root cause can be solved.
Changeable root causes, phenomena, and Laws of Nature provide the guidance to navigate to the highest-impact solution.
An old but enhanced workshop method provides a quick path to an executable solution framework: enhanced Goal-Oriented Project Planning (eGOPP).
“An attractor is a unifying trend, which a dynamic system evolves towards over time and then stays there, regardless of any outside disturbance”
From the perspective of the problems to solve and with countless disturbance attempts1 seen, we observe:
- The systems stayed where they were or collapsed
- Disturbance attempts toward different and even opposite directions fueled confusion, disbelief, shame and blame, opposition, and downward spirals
- What appears to be missing with the attractor theory is recognizing the tipping points when a switch to different practices is needed (see the homepage and the main videos)
- What appears to be missing as well is that today’s environments are structurally different from those of the past. Yet, ‘practices of the past,’ such as splitting complex challenges into parts and getting x% of a group joining for a movement to become a success, continue to be applied.
- With patterns like those of the above bullets, people intuitively recognize the gaps and conflicts and withdraw their support.
To transform today’s system(s), structural attractors of the highest impact are needed.
Disturbance attempts addressing a system-level from inside a part (a box, silo, area, best practice, theory, etc.) are at high risk of failure, likely to drag urgently needed resources away from high(est)-impact solutions and worsen downward spirals.
We intend to make the Law of Nature Manifesto an attractor of the highest impact across systems
1 Marginal improvements, in-the-box solutions, movements, ‘follow the science’ while science-based solutions are too many years away or others may have effective solutions, and so forth
9. Newton’s Third Law:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”
In a rocket, burning fuel creates a push on the front of the rocket, pushing it forward. This creates an equal and opposite push on the exhaust gas backwards1
When tipping points of damage are exceeded in the virtual world of organizations, computers, processes, regulations, and psychology, this triggers opposite reactions. Though, the extent of the reaction may differ from the damage-creating action and the reaction may take time to develop.
Example: When traditional best practices failed to deliver on their value expectations, this triggered movements towards agility and self-organization.
People are forward thinkers. We need to unlock the ability to switch to practices working well beyond tipping points.
“Integrity: Without it, nothing works1“
1 From the publication explaining this new integrity
Today, environments can change quicker than promises can be delivered.
New insights can emerge that make promises obsolete.
A new integrity is required that must reflect the complications at the left. Such an integrity is part of the Manifesto’s Behavioural Essentials.
Human beings, objects, and systems are in or out of integrity.
“Energy levels are high when people listen to each other and low or negative when they don’t.”
(See also Newton’s third law above)
“Why should I listen to you when you don’t listen to me?”
Try it yourself:
When someone wants you to do something, you respond with a relevant question, and then this person’s response is along the line of, “I have not received a proper answer”:
- What is the reaction of your unconscious mind?
- Does it require more or less energy to listen to this person further?
Listening is an essential element of communication and for (re-)establishing lost trust. Together with authentic listening, this Law of Nature may provide a benchmark for effective communication.
Authentic listening involves
- The person listened to has the feeling of being fully understood.
- The ability to build my worldview in your worldview.
This does not mean everybody has to be heard; on the contrary! The number of people heard needs to be such that it is practical and it unlocks the highest-impact information.
A few representatives from all affected groups can be sufficient. However, they need to be truly understood, and their contributions should have impact. What matters is that larger groups feel understood, and root causes, not symptoms of problems, are solved.
“Information in a system is infinite. The abilities to access information and make sense of it are limited.”
A popular practice is sharing information via articles, books, and the internet. It is assumed this is sufficient for target audiences to find information, use it, and act accordingly.
This conflicts with the experiences of target audiences.
When people need information to make decisions or solve problems, it is too often
- Too difficult to find
- In conflicting with other information
- And so forth
Particular nasty problems are
- Finding the high-impact information in webpages, articles, and books
- Readers being expected to read thousands of pages while their agendas are overly filled
The Tipping Point Law of Nature applies here as well: Practices that worked well before a tipping point become counterproductive beyond the tipping point.
People need high-speed access to concise and reliable information of high and highest impact.
Example 1: For businesses to be competitive in today’s world, they must be truly agile. A benchmark for being truly agile is bound to be the following:
At all levels, people have high-speed access to the high(est)-impact information they need to make agile yet reliable decisions. This includes structures for situations where the environment changes quicker than documents can be updated.
For the company to act as a single entity, simple structures provide the boundaries in which decisions can be made.
High-impact information that people can expect to be readily available is always reasonably up to date. This includes structures for situations where the environment changes quicker than documents can be updated.
To reflect the complexities involved, the main process may need to be based on natural process flows.
Example 2: Scientific publications are bound to need similar structures.
13. Indefinite Growth:
“In nature, there is no indefinite growth”
(See also Tipping Point Law of Nature)
Each year, the planetary resources human beings consume exceed those the planet can re-create
Our belief system is out of sync with the Laws of Nature; for example, companies, cities, economies, and the like cannot grow forever.
Human beings are part of nature and cannot escape the limits set by nature.