Creating Social Symmetry

by Jay Deragon on 02/15/2013

symmetryWhere one sees chaos another sees symmetry. The difference is in understanding the value created by chaos.

Many organizations view the social web as chaotic, risky and difficult to understand. At the same time there are others whom view the chaos as a “patterned self-similarity” to the natural forces of life. It is in the patterned self-similarity that we find true understanding and symmetry.

As individuals and organizations we learn to adapt, survive, grow, and develop or we become captive of circumstances. Social symmetry is the result of re-invention and creative adaptation due to the introduction of, or being adapt to a constant state of change.

Many individuals, and organizations, have difficulty dealing with chaotic changes.  Yet chaos eventually gives way to self-organization and adjustment.   Individually and collectively we learn to maintain a sense of security during chaos by adjusting our mental models to a state of existence which lies “on the edge of chaos”.

By existing on the edge of chaos, organizations are forced to find new, creative ways to adapt to the chaos and stay ahead. Good examples of such organizations are found throughout the field of technology as well as the airline industry, namely organizations such as Southwest Airlines, which used re-invention not just for survival, but also to prosper in an otherwise dismal market. In contrast, there are organizations which, due to extended periods of equilibrium, find themselves struggling for survival. Telephone companies, for instance, were once solid and static entities that dominated the communication market. While the rest of the world was developing new communication technology, telephone companies did not creatively grow at the same rate. The result is an organization that is battling to stay alive unless they embrace the element of chaos due to crisis, and allow creative adaptability to function freely so that self-organization and re-invention can occur.

To Reach Symmetry Create Chaos

Organizations existing on the edge of chaos are known to be the most creative and adaptive of organizations.  Change is not their enemy it is a force of progressive creativity and discovery that these organizations embrace.  As long as the organization does not change its core value; shared purpose, its members will still experience the organization as a developing system that changes shape but retains the same familiar face.

By embracing change as a norm and seeing it as opportunity, an organization and individually we can create social symmetry from change.  After all change is a permanent force of nature so rather than resist it create social symmetry by embracing it.


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