Almost everything in business is more complex than 50 years ago: taxes, regulations, international competition, financial systems, software… An all-mechanical car became a rolling network of computers. Anyone using all the burgeoning social networking channels available has no time to do anything else. Add the earth’s problems to this mix, and complexity overwhelms us.
What we have done is concoct a great deal of human system complexity in addition to that which nature serves up to us. Uncertainty about the future is probably the most confounding aspect of this complexity. Executives keep looking for the “new normal,” meaning a different stable state from which they can resume conduct of business in a predictable way. But suppose that never happens? Worse, suppose that, given our mindsets today, the business world will never again be simpler than it is right now. Then the only way to find a “new normal” is to create it ourselves by looking at our situation differently.