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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chaos Theory and Construction Marketing

This is a still from a recently released movie, Chaos Theory, a comedy based on the seemingly imponderable series of problems an efficiency expert encounters when things shift in his life, ever so subtly. I haven't seen it yet, but the reviews look quite positive.

My primary business consultant, Bill Caswell of Caswell Corporate Coaching Company (CCCC), advocates that business owners take serious consideration of Chaos Theory in adapting their business operations and plans. The concept of Chaos Theory -- I hope I am getting this is right -- is that little differences can have dramatic and seemingly unintended impact -- that, for example, the flapping of a butterfly wings in certain circumstances can ultimately create a tornado. It is all quite arcane to me; I am not a scientist and while I am reasonably intelligent, I doubt I would qualify for Mensa membership. (In any case, sometimes it is helpful not to be 'too' smart to be successful in business.) But the thinking here is that you should adapt things so that the unpredictable is acknowledged, and you build your solutions and answers through respect and recognition of natural phenomena which correlate sometimes with very small deviations. (phew, what a mouthful).

In his latest newsletter, Caswell writes:

In the brevity of an article, this science called Chaos Theory cannot be appropriately justified, other than to tell you it leads to the best way of getting things done and includes among its credits: human evolution, the formation of trees, embryos, shorelines and hurricanes. Application of this same method has led to CCCC solving over 700 ‘impossible’ business problems successfully for clients. Let’s pass on some of today’s conclusions to you:

• Make more decisions rest with people at the bottom;

• Try something, see where it leads, add to it, and then move onward from there;

• Simple local decisions lead to elegant global solutions;

• Global solutions may be the same, but the details will be different;

• Don’t fear chaos; out of chaos, comes order.

Caswell offers a specific CCCC paper: Elements of Chaos Theory which you can request by emailing his associate Upkar Bikhu at

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