100 Ways to Succeed #95:

NON-LINEARITY RULES.
NON-LINEARITY = LIFE.
IF SUCCESS [OR FAILURE] IS DETERMINED ALMOST ENTIRELY BY THE UNPREDICTABLE [LITERALLY], THEN WHAT?

“Most of our predictions are based on very linear thinking. That’s why they will most likely be wrong.”—Vinod Khosla

“The difficulties … arise from the inherent conflict between the need to control existing operations and the need to create the kind of environment that will permit new ideas to flourish—and old ones to die a timely death. … We believe that most corporations will find it impossible to match or outperform the market without abandoning the assumption of continuity. … The current apocalypse—the transition from a state of continuity to state of discontinuity—has the same suddenness [as the trauma that beset civilization in 1000 A.D.]”—Richard Foster & Sarah Kaplan, “Creative Destruction” (The McKinsey Quarterly)

I have no tidy “tip” here, but rather an extraordinary plea that you implicitly put “non-linear” thinking atop your and your leadership team’s agenda—permanently. This may mean hiring poets and astrologers and putting homeless folks on your advisory board. It may mean sabbaticals or yoga, sabbaticals and yoga. Or dropping out for a year or three. Or joining a rock band. Or putting 3-inch heels on one foot only. Though Rudy “dealt with a crisis” well—it’s more than such a bland prescription. It’s not “dealing well with crisis,” though that may be part of it, but more along the lines of dealing constantly and comfortably and quite happily with “very strange stuff,” or some such.

REMEMBER. REMEMBER. REMEMBER. YOUR LIFE’S TRAJECTORY WILL BE DETERMINED ALMOST ENTIRELY BY EVENTS WHICH BY DEFINITION CANNOT BE PLANNED FOR. ACT ACCORDINGLY. WHATEVER THAT MEANS.

Tom Peters posted this on August 2, 2007, in Success Tips.
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