Solving “Impossible” Problems by…

…harnessing Chaos & Complexity…

…on the Path to Emergent Impact.

Can we do the "Impossible"?
“Impossible” was the response from the head of a global hi-tech supply chain  when I described how they could solve their need to triple their output in a tight timeframe. He literally said (and I quote) that what I proposed was “impossible”. My response – “Fine, I’ll do it for free. Pay me only if we succeed.” A month later, we were paid. Far too many leaders simply don’t know that it’s possible to solve complex strategic & operational problems while, at the same time, satisfying a range of  key stakeholders. Not only is it possible, it’s essential – we simply have to learn how to do it – especially in these interconnected, interdependent, globalizing times. This site is designed to explore that – to share stories that make clear not only that it’s possible, but how to do it.
What do you mean "Harness Chaos & Complexity"?

First, let’s define “chaos” as those situations that are, despite our best intentions, doing “harm” – economic, social &/or environmental. And even chaos has a structure to it – be it Hurricane Katrina, COVID19 or your own issue or opportunity. As chaotic or complex as it may seem, experience has shown that, just there is a structure of resources & relationships that, when left unattended, brings about chaos, there’s also a corresponding, reciprocal structure that can prevent, resolve or mitigate it. By applying these proven methods to such complex, chaotic issues & opportunities, you, too, can harness your own chaos & complexity.

Why be "Emergent"?

Traditional hierarchy isn’t workingnot in our increasingly complex, increasingly dynamic world. Solutions to problems in complex-adaptive systems are emergent – they arise from within the eco/system itself – from the key actors/stakeholders – themselves. This is new to most of us – having been raised in hierarchies, educated in hierarchies, worked in hierarchies…. Learning how to make the paradigm shift from working in traditional (vs. reality-based) hierarchies to coordinating in responsive networks is the only viable path forward for responding to the kinds of “impossibly” complex strategic problems emerging today – and, given our increasing rate of change – tomorrow. This site is designed to help you make that shift – continually pointing out how so much of working in this way is innate to being human – and innate to working in and with systems. We’ve simply been taught not to – literally. So, since these qualities are lying dormant within us, most of what I’m sharing here should make good, common sense. If not, let me know.

Can we do it "Effortlessly"?

I’m not being idealistic or impractical when I use the word “effortless”. Actually, it’s impractical to keep working harder and harder, doing more (and more) of the same expecting that we’ll get a different, better result. (BTW, that’s one definition of insanity.) If we’re struggling, something’s out of alignment. especially as the number of “impossibly” complex, strategic problems continues to increase – and increase at an increasing rate. We all know the experience of effortless performance – in sports, in music, in movement. This site is designed to go deep on that – with stories and lessons that make your leadership (and/or your consulting) “effortless” – for you, your team & your organization, your network or even your movement. I’ve been fortunate enough to aggregate and integrate a set of principles, practices & processes that brings “effortlessness” to bear on our most pressing problems.

Where did this come from?
This way of working – ultimately this way of being, is based on my deep experience as a business leader & consultant, a trauma & developmental psychotherapist, and a systems thinker/modeler. Throughout all of that, I’ve witnessed – and I’m convinced – that we’re capable of far more than we’re currently experiencing – individually and collectively. That we’ve yet to live into what it means to be fully Human, fully Alive – especially at Work. And that the time for us to do that – for you and me to do that – is now – intellectually, emotionally, physically and,if we’re up for it, even spiritually. For me, the sources for exploring and internalizing our potential are found in three primary domains. First, understanding what it means to be human – by continually exploring the fundamentals of human consciousness, psychology, communication, innovation and decision making – and their environmental, physiological, sociological and neurological origins. Second, through staying curious about systems – by diving deeply into complexity, chaos and systems thinking. Finally, by deliberately maintaining a state of ongoing wonder (and even awe) about Life itself – continuing to study ethology, biology and even physics, chemistry and mathematics.
What do I do?
Drawing on that deep experience in business, psychotherapy, and systems thinking, I work with leaders in Business and Society to solve “impossible” problems in ways that create deep, lasting impact. My work is inspired by my experience with business leaders – trying to do the right thing in complex, competitive situations; my work with Social leaders in NGO’s and government – seeking to satisfy diverse stakeholders in ways that benefit the whole; my career as a Rolfer and trauma/developmental psychotherapist – witnessing people recover from the injuries that life and humanity too often deal us; my time in nature as a cowboy, hunter and sailor; and my training as an internationally competitive athlete.
Where did I come from?

Born and raised in South Texas working on ranches and fishing boats, my experiences range from consulting with Arthur Andersen & Co. to launching the Texas office of The Nature Conservancy; serving as Managing Vice President of RPC, a small national consulting firm to leading the Rolf Institute as Executive Director; Vice President for ARC, International, a global consulting firm specializing in leadership development and cultural change to working for Stone Yamashita Partners, a leading global branding and strategy firm. And I continue to learn by working with Business and Social leaders through my consulting practice, Innate Strategies, and my training programs: Harnessing Chaos & Complexity,  “Effortless” Consulting and Emergent Impact.

Where am I now?

While this is my most recent thinking, for more about my consulting company – my philosophy, my approach, and my clients – you can visit my Innate Strategies website here. I live and work on our sailboat, Vivant, here in Sausalito, CA. When I’m not working, I deeply enjoy spending time with my family, playing internationally competitive 4-Wall Handball, and tinkering with my Flamenco guitar.


While this site (and my new book) represents is my most recent thinking, for more about my consulting company – my philosophy, my approach, and my clients – you can visit my Innate Strategies website here

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