I am grateful to Tim Merry for this most recent version of the The Chaordic Stepping Stones. This refinement upon the Chris Corrigan’s version was the result of work that Tim did with Public Health workers in Nova Scotia. Chris’ work was based upon earlier models developed within the Art of Hosting community which support the chaordic path.
The chaordic path recognizes the essential place of both chaos and order in a living system’s change process. I have deep roots in linear planning processes, having been taught all my life that things are rational and with a good plan one can accomplish nearly anything. After all, we did put a man on the moon with good science and engineering, didn’t we. Yet, I have always sensed something missing when applying those logical and linear processes to living systems. In my own rebellious way, I would always introduce a little chaos into the project, whether in the form of humor or a wicked question or in challenging the certainty of shared assumptions and beliefs. I wish that I could say that I did this from a place of wisdom or a pure commitment to a better product; all too often, I suspect that I was motivated by my own ego and need to challenge and show off. Yet, often the chaos was an essential ingredient in what eventually evolved.
So, when I was introduced to the chaordic path, it really made sense and helped me to understand planning within a living system takes a different form from the linear process of establishing goals and objectives and action plans. One of the things that I really value in using this process is that it is more organic than linear. I find that reflection on one of the later steps will often reveal something to add to an earlier step and so there is a lot of productive looping back and making new connections. I also have deep appreciation for the “Limiting Beliefs” step. This often seems to be an area of important missing information that can make the difference between success and failure of a plan and it is not something generally addressed in planning.
The Chaordic Stepping Stones were initially developed to guide the process of planning an event like an Art of Hosting training and some of the guiding questions reflect this. But, I am finding that the stepping stones have relevance for a much wider range of planning processes from projects to potentially community health improvement planning. I look forward to playing more with this process and learning more about how to apply it in various settings.
Thanks Tim and Chris for your efforts to harvest the wisdom that has emerged from many extensive and diverse conversations and for creating such a clear and useful tool.