Distribute not Delegate

The world is complex. I think the Greater China Region is even more complex. To have at least 56 tribes coming together to form a country is complicated. Cultures, languages, customs, attitudes, history and personality all add to the complication. What surprises me about living here is not the complication but the attempts by organizations, institutions and people to try and resolve the complex environment by seeking to control it. I do not think it is a good idea because history has shown that it is ineffective.

Over the years, changes in the region have always come from the grassroots. Diverse people from diverse areas mysteriously committed to a common mindset and shared philosophy. Popping up from different places, these people influenced those around them and eventually came together to a singularity resulting in drastic metamorphism of the entire region.

I believe change comes from the distribution of authority instead of centralizing it. Centralized power has only been shown to stifle creativity and prevent growth. Furthermore, concentrating authority creates an unnecessary bottleneck for decisions to be made. Longer decision-making processes and time means an increased risk of missing critical time-sensitive decision points. In our current society, many things can happen in a moment, and if you miss that beat, the opportunity will pass you by.

By distributing authority, you also allow a complex problem to be broken down into manageable pieces. I have learned over the years, like a car engine, be it a complicated car engine or a problem to be resolved, they are always made up of simpler, more basic components. Therefore, to better you are at breaking down the problem, the easier it is to resolve it. By tackling each basic block one at a time, the combined result will be the resolution of the bigger, more complex issue.

Some may say, “too man cooks, spoil the soup,” but I would beg to differ. I think the problem with the cooks spoiling the soup is that they are not working as a team but as individuals trying to gather honor for themselves. They are not focused on the common goal of creating a great-tasting bowl of soup but on how many accolades they can receive from being the cook of a delicious-tasting bowl of soup. They do not care about the problem. They only care about personal glory.

Distributed authority demands humility in those participating in it. Without it, the collective will fall apart. For distributed authority to work also requires commitment. Everyone has to own the problem and its resolution. Trust is another essential ingredient for the distributed authority to function properly. Distributed authority requires handing over control to someone who may not have a proven track record in resolving the problem at hand. Still, it is vital to remind ourselves that many of the issues we are trying to resolve have never been resolved previously. Finally, for such trust to exist, there must be a way for relationships to be formed. Only when the collective exists in deeply bonded relationships will distributed authority fully fulfill its potential.

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