Management Paper: Video Response

Leadership and the New Science discussed four key areas. First, Dr. Wheatley entreated us to get comfortable with chaos. Second, she stated, “Information informs us and forms us.” Third, she stressed the importance of relationships. Finally, Dr. Wheatley discussed vision—an invisible field. While watching the video and discussing it in class, I tried to make connections to what we’ve been learning. I saw many connections to several different topics we’ve discussed in class; what’s more, I saw many clear connections to articles that dealt with managing conflict effectively.

As the video discussed chaos, I saw a distinct analogy to conflict. Functional outcomes can emerge from conflict. Rather than traditional views of conflict suggesting dysfunctional outcomes, with the new science and more recent theories on conflict, better solutions can emerge from chaos/conflict. Not all interactions must be zero-sum; many situations can be negotiated as win-win. As managers and organizations come to accept chaos/conflict, individuals and organizations can use more organic and creative problem-solving processes.

Once people are comfortable with chaos, they must ground their beliefs and actions on information that is in touch with reality. Companies that are data-driven outperform companies that don’t rely so heavily on facts. Additionally, information must be shared across functions and departments for better results. Some management experts call this concept avoiding silo mentality. If an individual with a hammer sees all problems as nails, he or she is going to miss many alternate options. Getting as much information as possible and relating that information to experience can help managers and organizations make better decisions.

In an effort to share information and increase efficiency, leaders are advised to develop a diversity of relationships. Dr. Wheatley states, “Relationships are all there is.” In order to do business and work as a cohesive team, relationships are fundamental. Without relationships, there is no team. Getting along with coworkers not only leads to increased productivity, but also it can lead to increased job satisfaction and better stress management.

Vision was a topic that was a little unclear to me. The video had the aurora borealis analogy, but I don’t think they went into enough detail about it. If we’re talking of vision in terms of an underlying goal and culture that influences behavior, I can see how it can be called an invisible field. Some parts of nature are invisible to the naked eye but they are still necessary for models on how the world works. I believe a big part of leadership is effectively communicating a vision and empowering others to work towards common goals.

In this paper, I wrote about chaos, information, relationships, and vision and how these four topics relate to conflict and other ideas discussed in class. Coming from a technical background, these ideas make a lot of sense. Fundamental science concepts apply to management. Understanding and applying this information can help us become better leaders. The challenge will be in taking these ideas and translating them from how we do science to how we lead and manage.



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