The sixth principle of Advanced Change Theory (ACT) is take action to the edge of chaos. Chaos is a concept from complexity theory and I absolutely love it. All complex systems need new energy in order to be able to adapt and survive. If a system is closed and completely self-referent, it will experience entropy, continue to decay, and eventually perish.
The energy and information necessary for transformation is found at the edge of chaos. At the edge of chaos, systems have access to new and more complex patterns of organization that they can use to guide their own purposeful transformation. The purpose does not change, but the individuals and organization become different and better as they pursue the shared purpose.
For leaders to take action to the edge of chaos means that we must have the courage to act on faith as we pursue the common good. We have to be willing to step out and do the right thing in pursuit of the shared purpose instead of what is familiar, comfortable, and seemingly safe.
ACT practitioners do not have a safety net but rather operate at the edge of chaos. They must build the bridge even as it is walked on (Quinn, 1996, p. 83). They know that in withdrawing from the present social sanctions and in acting unconventionally, the old self disintegrates and is immediately replace by a new self that is more aligned with the current emerging reality. Virtually the same thing happens to the social system itself, in that the old arrangements disintegrate and new, more aligned arrangements emerge. (p. 153)
Shake things up – purposefully. Give yourself permission to take a risk and try something new and bold. I know this is abstract, but chew on it because it is a fantastic concept.