Chaos design: Robert Altman a chaos manager and leader


The late Robert Altman was a film director that was beloved by a great number of actors. Altman knew something about business management that most business managers are still learning – Altman knew how to use work at the edge of chaos. He knew how to use it when it presented itself.

Watch the film Gossford Park by Altman. Notice how dialogues, while seemingly fractured compliment each other and are weaved in a web of complexity that as we step backwards to see the entire film, it is actually an orderly enssemble.

Finally watch the “extra” material where Altman talks about his thought model, his philosophy behind the architecture of the film.

Obviously Altman’s films are a group effort, the film editor among many others contribute to the overall work. But it is Altman’s direction, his management his leadership, his philosophy that is sub-divided within the operational model of each of the other film’s contributors.

Throughout my career I believe I had had the pleasure of working under a couple of chaos-aware managers. They were mostly egalitarian, open, and lead by example, by suggestion, by inspiration, they were open to suggestions and ideas, they didn’t see negative results as failure but as a learning opportunity, they saw these as an opportunity to adapt and adjust I never saw them leading by intimidation or by a show of status or force.

-Daniel Montano

Related: Adaptive creativity, flux dynamic systems,


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