When we work with change we work with possibility and polarity. Creatively moving from one position to another depends on an ability to manage chaos and order as polarities. From any position any other that can be conceived can be reached and it’s the introduction of and tolerance for chaotic elements into an ordered position that makes change between them possible.
So what is the role of the consultant in this? Most individuals in systems find order easier to tolerate than chaos. It underpins the structure of the system itself and defines the boundaries of their organisation. It is then the role of the consultant to bring the chaos, the disruption and to do this in a way that at once allows all to benefit from it but in no way steers the change that it is delivering.
Imposed change is a setting of direction and is something that in almost all cases provokes an equal and opposite reaction from a part of the system it is imposed on. Something within each of us will resist a direction set by another. Instead the consultant needs to work to raise awareness of the current position of a system or client and bring non-directional disruption to that. And it’s hard to do that from within a system.
Bearing in mind that directed change will be resisted then the chaos that is introduced by the consultant into the change process is best done through highlighting difference between their state and that of the system they are working with. In this way those working to change (everyone involved in this process needs their own motivation to participate) get flashes of a different reality in a controlled way that highlights the outlines of their structure, promoting awareness and giving them a fixed position from which to grow.
It is in this process of shining the light on their difference where the consultant needs to be most careful to not impose but use themselves as a tool to build chaos and disruption steadily to a point where it promotes change without overloading the system. They need to indifferently disruptive.