Faith & Leadership Magazine / Duke University
Months before U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey became the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he approached business consultant Ori Brafman. The General wanted to know how the army could anticipate what the country’s next enemy might look like. To Dempsey’s surprise Brafman told him that, in order to figure that out, the General had to create more chaos in the army! Brafman’s point was that the army, like most organizations, has no system that allows unusual ideas to flow in order to encourage innovation. He said the army was like the medieval Church, “a massive bureaucracy with a powerful, entrenched, values-driven culture and a clear sense of purpose.” The danger is that these kinds of organizations become too structured, and no new ideas can grow.