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Chapter 12. Chaos Manners > Breaking Through

Breaking Through

For real breakthroughs that push technology beyond the edge into unexplored regions, project teams are more likely to succeed by turning to the flexibility of independent action and the full force of individual creativity, unhampered by command-and-control. The trick is to bring out and capitalize on the inventive energy of independent thinkers, encouraging free exploration and individual initiative, to foster a kind of creative chaos that hovers on the supercharged edge of running completely amok, a sort of controlled insanity that breaks out of accepted modes of thinking and challenges assumptions about limits and possibilities. All these things run absolutely counter to the closed patterns of corporate pyramid power because they undermine authority and throw tradition to the winds—profoundly threatening to the traditional management mentality, but precisely what is needed to break new ground.

The key ingredients for a breakthrough initiative are, in fact, the exact antithesis of the tradition-bound hierarchical model. Instead of putting stability ahead of change, instability is promoted, becoming the driving force to overcome blindly accepted practices and unquestioned notions. Instead of putting corporate and collective interests above individual ones, individual freedom of expression and action come first. Where the traditional pyramid tries to rein in cantankerous coding “cowboys” and “cowgirls,” breakthrough teams love them and let them run free. This free-wheeling atmosphere stimulates creativity and tends to promote the “personal best” performances that can generate breakthroughs.


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