There are times in my business when things get hectic, when we're literally doing 50 things at once. It's clearly more than we can handle, and there will be things that slip through the cracks. Sometimes that's okay.
The reason is, because out of that chaos, you'll figure out what's important and what's not. It's a good way to set priorities.
Of course, if you've read my blog posts you know that I recently wrote about ruthless prioritization and the need for your business to focus on three main things. While embracing chaos may seem to be the direct opposite of ruthless prioritization, they certain can work in tandem -- the chaos enables you to ruthlessly prioritize.
Everything finds its place.
Admittedly, embracing chaos may, at first, keep you up at night. Whenever things are especially frantic at work, part of me says to slow things down, while another part says to keep things going. That interplay can be a bit disconcerting.
In the long run, however, things start to work themselves out.
But wait, you say. You mentioned that things can slip through the cracks. How can that possibly be good? And what if one of those things that slips turns out to be important?
Fear not. Prioritization will occur naturally. You're not going to forget about the most vital things to do: the things that really make you money (if you do, you may be in the wrong profession). The stuff that doesn't get done really isn't all that important in the first place.
Use chaos selectively.
So, when should you embrace chaos? Obviously, you don't want to be in a perpetual state of turmoil.
A period of chaos is sometimes in order during times of uncertainty or stagnation. The chaos can remove feelings of safety and predictability and allow innovation to flow.
It should be noted that a lack of structure -- even for a brief period -- is a concept millennials are more likely to understand than baby boomers, who are starting to retire and those in Generation X, who are often inheriting the C-level suites at this point. More often than not, your company's younger voices will be the more forward-thinking ones.
Another idea worth considering, especially if your company is larger (or if the idea of chaos remains too unsettling) is to isolate the chaos to pockets of the organization. That way, the overall company runs as normal, but specific areas get a chance for a tune-up.
Remember that stagnation, whether of ideas, sales or a million other things, is the enemy of progress for your business. Chaos wipes away that stagnation and forces you to adapt, similar to the way evolution has shaped Earth. Aside from the fresh perspective chaos can bring to your company, it will also bring a resilience that will be useful the next time you hit a bump in the road.