Organisations are often viewed as machines, but a more accurate perspective might be to see them as complex, evolving systems. This shift in thinking could lead to more effective management strategies. Machines are predictable and controllable, whereas complex systems, like organisations, are unpredictable and uncontrollable due to the multitude of factors at play.

Traditional management techniques, designed for machine-like systems, may not be effective in managing complex systems. This includes strategic planning, which often fails due to the unpredictable nature of organisations. Instead, managers should adopt a mindset of experimentation, accepting that not all attempts will succeed.

In a complex system, all parts are interconnected and influence each other. This means that small changes can have big impacts, known as the butterfly effect. Managers should therefore focus on understanding these connections and how to influence them.

Finally, complex systems can self-organise and adapt to changes. Managers should create an environment that encourages this, rather than trying to control every aspect. Recognising organisations as complex systems rather than machines could lead to more effective management and better outcomes.

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