Seven Ways to Find Order in Chaos

Photo by William Warby

If duress, stress, and pressure represent the dark side of opportunity, today’s world offers great opportunity. Dr. Justin Menkes said of today’s business environment, “strategies are only contingencies.”

How can leaders bring out the best in themselves and others when the world’s in constant flux? Dr. Menkes’ book, Better Under Pressure, explains three capacities every leader needs to thrive in a world of contingencies.

Realistic Optimism: an awareness of actual circumstances coupled with a sense of urgency.

Subservience to Purpose: people with this trait see their professional goal as so profound in importance that their lives become measured in value by how much they contribute to furthering that goal. What is more, they must be pursuing a professional goal in order to feel a purpose for living.

During our conversation Dr. Menkes said, “If you have firewalls to control your people and time card to keep track of time, you’ve already lost the battle.”

You need higher purpose to control behaviors and energize efforts.

Finding order in chaos: people with this ability find taking on multidimensional problems invigorating. Their ability to bring clarity to quandaries makes their contribution invaluable.

How to find order in chaos:

  1. Maintain clarity of thought by handling fear. Anxiety chokes clear thinking. “Any smart person can be rendered stupid under the right circumstances.”
  2. Use stress to intensify your focus.
  3. Find mentors who have handled pressure.
  4. Believe in your ability to work through complexity even if you don’t see how in the moment.
  5. Stop pretending you have all the answers – admit you need help.
  6. Organize problems in order to create solutions.
  7. Be passionate to solve puzzles and intimidating challenges.

What strategies and/or capacities enable leaders to face the challenges of leading in a constantly changing world?


This is the last post based on my conversation with Justin Menkes and his book, Better Under Pressure. Read the post on realistic optimism: “Peter Drucker: Stop Focusing on What’s Wrong


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