When we seek to understand something, there is great value in frameworks or tools that can let us observe, categorise, quantify, and assess. Our quest for knowledge leads us to take things apart as we learn how they operate: anything from an engine to the functioning of a market, or the behaviours of leadership.
But during this process, we can slip into mechanistic understanding: our emerging knowledge can gently slide us into a space where we believe we can intervene, where we can effect change, by pressing things and pulling levers.
There is a chasm between learning how something works, and building that capability elsewhere. It’s not a behaviour driven by hubris, but rather by desire: the desire to drive change.
Often it is the journey that is most important, a realisation that may inform how we intervene. Instead of trying to ‘do’ something to a system, we can create the space and support for a system to evolve.
A lighter tough, and carefully nurturing of emergent behaviour, may be more effective than any number of gears and any amount of power.