“Managing Chaos at Work” Part 1: The Organised Chaos

Commonly at work, there’s always a tonne of things going on at once. It seems like every little detail is screaming for your attention. And in the midst of all buzz and activity, there is: The Organised Chaos.

What exactly is organised chaos? Well, its far more intricate than just being able to easily locate any document you need from your messy work desk.

When applied to the context of work, it goes a few layers deeper. The nature of an organised chaos is manifested by an underlying order amongst an environment of disorganisation. This often happens in organisations with a relatively loose structure, employees are given freedom to find their way to success, whether that means building their own project team or making a quick decision without running it by a designated leader. But in order to make it work, it ultimately boils down to two things: accountability and a single source of clarity of the goal at hand.

When executed right, a situation that seems like havoc can somehow foster a better environment for your best employees to thrive. Here’s how:

1. It drives Employee Empowerment

With more freedom and autonomy, employees are given the free hand to drive their own organizational impact. This is where fostering a sense of accountability helps to deter them from going astray. With the understanding that an organisation works cross-functionally, the culture will ultimately be built around peer-to-peer accountability to ensure that things don’t go out of control.

2. It fosters Critical Thinking through multiple learning opportunities

In companies with a top-down leadership structure, employees tend to only carry out orders as they’re being told. This tends to kill proactiveness and creativity as they aren’t free to question anything or consider how they could improve upon management’s plan.

But when employees don’t always have someone telling them exactly what to do and how to do it, they must think for themselves.

That’s when employees are forced to leave their comfort zones and critical thinking comes to play. The result, the formation of a culture that embraces continuous refinement, are not afraid of failure and allows employees to take risks and pivot quickly.

3. It fuels Engagement and Collaboration

In a culture where employees can take part in the decision-making process, that creates an exciting environment that harnesses everyone’s brainpower and skill. Employees are encouraged to question decisions for better understanding and experiment new ways to do things better. Such a collaborative environment is especially important for companies that need to move with agility to outperform their competition. With strong collaboration comes cohesiveness and synergy within teams, that’s when projects can move forward nimbly, and organisations can stand to ride on opportunities as they arise.

That said, it is true that the “Organised Chaos” may not be for everyone. One thing’s for sure, the underlying order is where the “organized” side of “organized chaos” comes in. Teams must set aspirational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) from the onset to ensure clear measuring points along the way. By having a shared end goal in mind, employees will learn to set the right level of expectations, support one another, give and receive regular feedbacks, and watch over each other’s backs. With a common goal as the guiding force, the atmosphere builds a sense of trust for each team where everyone feels accountable, and they all show up with good intentions.

Interested to read more? Part 2 of the “Managing Chaos at Work series is up on our sister blog, CloudD. Click here to find out how you can navigate the chaos at work by setting up your remote workspace for success. Happy reading!