Greater Approximations

This morning, I read about convergence in my favorite book of 2019 so far. I found the following paragraph to be extremely useful in structuring a reflection about organizational change over time, namely a few projects that have worked and a few projects that have not worked:

Natural or human-made systems that best approximate optimal strategies afforded by the environment tend to be successful, while systems exhibiting lesser approximations tend to become extinct. This process results in the convergence of form and function over time. The degree of convergence in an environment indicates its stability and receptivity to different kinds of innovation.

Universal Principles of Design, 2nd edition

For leaders, situational or otherwise, I recommend a simple exercise, based on the above:

Take out a sheet of paper and make three columns. In the far left column, make a list of organization-wide change initiatives you have overseen or lived through over the past 5 – 10 years. In the middle column, quickly assess which initiatives are still alive and well, which ones are on life support, and which ones have passed on to your organization’s afterlife. In the right column, slowly assess which ones comply to the terms set forth in the paragraph above, re. convergence. Which ones, over time, have best approximated optimal strategies afforded by your organization’s environment?

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