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Chapter 1. Leadership: the CEO as DJ > To think in wholes and see it coming

To think in wholes and see it coming

Chaos is the concept of an unpredictable future – you don't know what will happen next. It's like the weather. Complexity, on the other hand, is the expression of a pattern with many variables where it can be difficult to understand how the parts are interrelated. Think about a computer or a large organization. In the same way that you can explain complexity if you learn how to understand the pattern, you can also predict the future by understanding the way chaos works. The secret lies in thinking in wholes.

I was a management consultant with SMG (Sifo Management Group), an international consultancy, in the middle of the 1990s. One of our customers, a telecom giant that had made a lot of money on telephone lines in a monopolistic market, was forced to redraw its map when the market was deregulated and a swarm of new competitors entered the market, while, at the same time, their customers were starting to use the internet to make long-distance calls for the cost of local calls. Seen from the telecom's traditional perspective, there was chaos. First reaction: panic. Next reaction: let's try to find new answers.


  

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