The Butterfly Effect in business
What you decide and choose to do has ripple effects that are sometimes hard to see.
11 June 2021
A leader’s small, seemingly insignificant decision or behavior affects much more than the immediate.
The Butterfly Effect – where small changes can result in large outcomes – is from a part of Chaos Theory in math. Roughly put, the idea is that when a butterfly flapping its wings, it disturbs the air, and that small disturbance changes weather patterns greatly over time.
The same is true for leaders’ behaviors and choices: what we say and do can change how people act in the business and how they choose and the effect is much greater than the initial consequences. Multiply our choices effect by the number of people who become aware of it, times the number of decisions they make, times the number of days, and the butterfly effect in business is massive.
Plus it’s not only what we do, but how we do it. There’s a big difference between enforcing a policy with discussion, respect and explanation and enforcing the policy with malice. We are all very attuned to tone.
So when we decide to come in late or early, hand out guidance, punishment or reward, or almost any manner of behavior as a leader, we will affect the group as well as the individuals.
The lesson? We have to accept the responsibility that as we flap our wings, because the air we move can cause a tsunami.
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