Let chaos reign, then rein in chaos

I’ve never met or interacted with Ben Horowitz but I have deep respect for his thoughts and work. His book “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” was fantastic. In his book, he frequently spoke about the influence Andy Grove’s “High Output Management” had on his management style. A few weeks back, he shared the foreword he’d written for the latest edition of Andy’s book on his blog. As is the case with Ben, there’s a lot of value in reading that foreword alone and I shared with a group of friends while also buying the book.

Half way through it, there have been a lot of interesting nuggets. My favorite one so far has been – “Let chaos reign, then rein in chaos.” As leaders, chaos is a given and being anything other than accepting of it is foolish. However, it is our prerogative to build systems that help us rein in chaos.

I thought of this as I was learning to ski today. A big part of learning to ski is being comfortable with losing a bit of control (especially as a beginner) as you pick up the speed required to make frequent turns. But, it is vital you then do what it takes to get back in control. As time passes, I’ve come to observe that deep lessons tend to be basic principles that, in turn, tend to transcend context.

This is definitely one of those. Thank you, Andy. And, thank you, Ben.

chaos, andy grove