# What I learnt: Algorithms for Life - Part 1 - Look and Leap

37%. That is the optimal amount of time/options to spend getting a feel for the quality of potential options before making the leap and choosing one of them.

It is an area of maths called 'Optimal Stopping Theory'. A well-known illustration of this problem is the secretary problem (probably not the illustration we would use if making this up today), where an employer has a list of candidates to choose from, whom they interview one at a time in random order.

The rules of the illustration are that as soon as you say no to a candidate, you cannot go back and interview them. The question becomes, how can I give myself the best chance of choosing the best candidate?

To give yourself the best chance, interview 37% of the candidates and say no to all of them. This is the looking phase and is about understanding the quality of candidates. Then once you are through this stage you are into the leap stage, and you select the first candidate that is better than any of the candidates you interviewed during the look stage.

If you follow this strategy, the good news is that in 37% of cases you will select the best candidate. The bad news is that in 37% of cases the best candidate will have been interviewed during the look phase. When this happens you will have to interview all the candidates and be forced to select the final candidate regardless of their ability.

In the other 26% of cases, you will not find the best candidate, but you will uncover a candidate that is better than anyone in the looking pool.

There are derivatives of this theory that take into account different elements, like if there is a 50% chance that a once rejected candidate will say yes. Or if you have an idea of the upper and lower bounds or some idea of the quality of a candidate.

I have been thinking about how this applies to my everyday life. Finding a partner. Finding a house. Finding a car park. Deciding upon a new work opportunity.

My general rule is going to be to set aside a period of time where I am purely looking. During this phase I do not say a definitive yes to anything. This is about me understand what is likely to work well for me, or not work well for me. I will come up with a criteria based on what is available.

Once this time is up, then I will pick the next candidate that matches this criteria.

The time period I will use will be determined by the maximum time I am prepared to wait for the next opportunity. For example, I want to be living in my perfect house in 5 years time. I want to be work on the next big work opportunity in 2019.

Not sure how this will go in reality, but I'm going to give it a go. In the short time I have been thinking this way, it has already allowed me to remain detached from the first few opportunities that come my way. Rather than thinking that I am going to miss the best opportunity, I see it as a way to grow in my understanding before using this understanding down the track to make a good decision.

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# What I learnt: Reinventing Organisations

There is a theory of organisational development. This is not a theory about how a particular organisation develops, but rather a theory of how organisations have evolved through history. Starting with the family, through to the tribe, the city, the state, the church, through to the organisations we see today.

Each stage of evolution is marked by my certain characteristics and has an epitomising metaphor. In the book, each type of organisation is assigned a colour.

Amber (army): Roles and ranks within a hierarchy
Orange (machine): Competition, innovation and performance
Green (family): Values-driven and inclusive
Teal (a living system): Evolutionary purpose, self-management, bring the whole self

In the book about this, Reinventing Organisationsthe author, Frederick Laloux, posits that the current dominant modes of organising ourselves, Orange and Green, have limitations that are impacting our planet, restricting good work being done, and harming the individuals who work there.

A new type of organisation is required, and there are signs it is emerging. From business to hospitals and schools, the author has studied about 12 different organisations that seem to be something quite different to what has come previously and may point to a new paradigm.

There are three main characteristics of these organisations:

1) They have self-managment
The management layers of the organisations have been removed. Teams are self-organising, taking care of many of 'admin' type tasks with only a small amount of these being centralised.

Teams work out how they want to work, and because they have bought into the purpose of the organisation (and help define it), they can sense and respond to make necessary changes.

2) They have an evolutionary purpose.
There is a detachment between those that work in the organisation and the organisation itself. The organisation is seen as a living thing in its own right, one that has a purpose and energy of its own that wants to be expressed in the universe. The role of those who are part of the organisation is to be more like stewards than owners or controllers. They need to constantly ask themselves what is trying to emerge here, and how can they be in service of that?

3) They bring their own self to work.
These organisations see all the aspects that make up a person, and they encourage and want people to bring all of this to work with them. This means that the being together, and the wellbeing of everyone, is at the forefront of all they do.

I am excited and encourage by this way of thinking. I can see that a new way of being in the world is emerging. Some call this a new consciousness. There are a number of different ways people are partnering with this to help it come into being. Some are doing coaching and facilitation work. Some are doing mindfulness and movement work. Some are creating permaculture farms. Some are writing books.

I see my contribution to this as being to help bring new organisations into being. To work within organisations and with individuals to help them sense what is emerging, and then partner with them to move the organisation closer to a 'Teal' organisation.

I have had attempts at doing this, and have seen some of this in action. My task is to get better at leading with my heart, and putting myself in situations where I can help this to happen.

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