Crisis invites us to move beyond command and control

Recently, a group of ecologists – working with large-scale terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine ecosystem – identified how crisis can add resilience to a system.

Ecological change is not uninterrupted and steady –  rather, it is erratic.

The slow increases of natural capital, such as biomass or nutrients, are interspersed by sudden releases and reorganizations of that capital – through natural processes or human imposed devastation. However, it is the very introduction of these interruptions which produces environmental diversity and variation.

And it is often through attempting to control and lessen such impacts that a system loses resilience.

 “That is, a system in which natural levels of variation have been reduced through command-and-control activities will be less resilient than an unaltered system when subsequently faced with external perturbations, either of a natural (storms, fires, floods) or human-induced (social or institutional) origin. We believe this principle applies beyond ecosystems and is particularly relevant at the intersection of ecological, social, and economic systems” Holling 1995.

Becoming more resilient

Like natural systems, we are constantly faced with small and big seeming disasters in our personal and professional lives. Yet, when we are made aware of our inability to control life – with its ups and downs – we not only become more accepting of life’s meandering path we also learn to be less judgmental and, thus, we no longer exclude others or unwanted parts of ourselves and others.

We grow more resilient.

We start realizing that periods of instability are often followed by deeper insights and new levels of trust. Our acceptance of the world as it is, with all its flaws and all its possibilities for change, brings us deeper into life and into humanness. This trust and acceptance breathe many new forms of life into all our systems.



This blog post looks at the dimension of COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE, HUMANITY and WHOLENESS in the Collective Leadership Compass. In  the dimension of COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE It zooms into its aspect of  DIVERSITY, in the dimension of, HUMANITY in the dimension of it zooms into the aspect of MINDFULNESS, and in the dimension of WHOLENESS it zooms into the aspect of CONTEXTUALITY. For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and  reviews on amazon.

Categories: Accessing our humanity, Harnessing collective intelligence, Living the six capacities of Collective Leadership, and Sensing the whole.

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