Monday, March 25, 2019

The Power of the Small (CHAOS)!

Part Two of the previous post: This one features CHAOS THEORY and the power of the small but strategically placed bits of WISDOM that God gives! (And some amazing DNA stuff at the end!) These two messages have been so refreshing for me personally and I think they will for anyone who has followed this thought-journey! Enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Quantum True (Shift Your System)

For those of you have followed my "dance" with quantum physics over the years, this is an updated re-packaging of the understanding in the service of our church's theme for the year, "Living Unstuck"! Truly, it refreshed me as well with passion for the unseen realities! Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Principle of the Last Responsible Moment

It comes from the highly technical world of software developers and supply chain experts, and it has been used in analyses of military operations, even though it sounds more like pop culture “creative-speak”. The Principle of the Last Responsible Moment speaks to both hemispheres of the brain—and to some degree eases the tug of war between them. If we just let ourselves dance with it a little, The Principle of the LRM will ultimately tell us what creatives have suspected all along: efficiency is not just about checking tasks off a list without regard for rhythm and flow. (LRM is also referred to as the Principle of Postponement, but I have chosen the more accessible name—the one with word “responsible” in it—so as to not to instantly frighten the “tidy” among us.)

The PLRM advocates delaying--rather than rushing to--critical decision-making moments. When the decision is postponed, you get to live with the system a little bit longer, unearthing more real-time data, more interactive wisdom, or in the military case, more intelligence, all of which will enhance the decision ultimately made. In efficiency terms, nothing is lost from the delay and everything is gained. In the supply chain case, it’s a matter of keeping inventory lean and avoiding a stocked warehouse with goods collecting dust. It is an “on-demand” mentality that maximizes shelf space.

The only real challenge in following the principle is in having it observed by others who don’t understand it (sometimes including yourself)! Failing to decide seems counterintuitive to the Western values and can be misperceived as indecision, rather than, as someone called it, “inspired procrastination”! A leader postponing critical decisions can appear passive. Furthermore, the “last responsible moment” does not come labeled: individual comfort levels play a role here, somewhat like the game of “chicken”! But, if it is effectiveness you are after, you may want to consider some shift away from overly detailed pre-planning towards this more emergent and life-nurturing approach. You do your comfort level, but at least consider that the universe might have another timing available beyond the cherished, “way in advance”!

The PLRM does seem like a no-brainer to creatives. Experts at keeping our inner shelf space clear, we seldom pin down the plan too early. Perhaps because we see our job as pulling from somewhere in the great beyond the things you didn’t really know how to ask us for when you commissioned us, we take some time to process our assignments, looking for inspiration that meets your need in our own zone. When nothing seems to be happening toward the goal (even to our own minds), we are still doing deep data gathering, logging observations, studying the climate, testing the winds, and generally experimenting with imagined possibilities in our inner research and development department. We do feel and respect the pressure (especially your deadline) to hurry up and turn dreams into deeds, but the muse that we carefully dance with constantly reminds us not to crush the butterfly while it is pushing awkwardly out of its cocoon.

There’s a great scene in the 2000 biopic, Pollock, featuring Ed Harris as the artist commissioned to paint a very oversized canvas for a patron (prior to the full evolution of his canvas-on-floor technique). We see Pollock sitting before the giant blank canvas over a period of what seems like days doing nothing but staring--no paint has yet brushed, splattered or in any way applied. Then suddenly, as if a quantum shift had occurred inside, he bursts into a flurry of motion and the painting lands on the screen like a zip file unzipped--at the Last Responsible Moment! The soundtrack by Jeff Beal makes the sudden speed painting so powerful that anyone who has ever incubated for what onlookers thought might be a period “too long” was treated to some brief vindication!

Far from the world of modern art, there was an incident in Jesus’ life that resonates with that onlooker problem. Jesus, who counted the sibling trio of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany as his friends, received the news while away on Kingdom business, that Lazarus was sick and near death. Did the Ultimate Healer rush to his friend’s side to save him? No, the narrative tells us he stayed where he was for two more days and only then decided to go. When he arrived, it was “too late” by men’s terms: Lazarus had died already—an eventuality Jesus clearly knew in advance.

In Lazarus’ case, the Last Responsible Moment for healing had passed, but Jesus knew that when you have resources from another realm, earthly deadlines are not the final story: The last responsible moment for RESURRECTION was still at hand! In raising Lazarus, Jesus was demonstrating a Kingdom that had power beyond earth’s boundaries and beginning to stretch the expectations of that Kingdom’s first recipients! He was (always) willing to be misunderstood by onlookers who judged that he should not delay his conquests! He knew how to carry his heavenly responsibilities faithfully, giving them a wise and EFFECTIVE rollout in time! He knew how to pass up the rescues and go for the resurrections! He knew the TRUE last responsible moment!

It turns out that “cat-herding”—learning to manage the unique ways of creative individuals—is not just a kindness extended to some motley tribe that God “also” loves, but actually a key to productivity for even the tidiest of leaders! Nervous, early “covering of bases” (or the covering of something else more connected to us) can actually be the enemy of the glorious results we really seek when we say we want to reach the world! Command and control and early lock-down on prescriptive procedures limit the organizations we lead, partly because they fail to fully reflect the full-spectrum glory of the King they point to! (Cat-herding is worth the scratches sustained along the way.)

In my leadership life, I have observed a sad irony: those who seek to control everyone under them do so out of their own UNCONTROLLED fear! We all—leaders, followers, creatives and no-frills pragmatists—have fears, but surely there is a God in heaven that can make good on his promise to deliver us from ALL our fears, not just for the sake of our own peace, but also for the sake of real progress! The Principle of the Last Responsible Moment may not one you constantly cite, but it does need to be one we at least respect. Heaven often comes to earth in messy incubations followed by bursts! It requires all the styles and rhythms of people to manifest this Kingdom and this great Creator-King!