Wheatley notes that 20th-century science teaches us that the world is not as orderly and bound by physical laws as we once thought. If you think that Newton got it right and the universe unfolds logically, think again. Citing chaos theory, fractals, and the like, Wheatley observes that while a larger system finds an order, things are quite unpredictable at the local level. Suddenly we begin to understand why our best-laid plans often go awry. A key board member is sick for a particular meeting. It rains on the day of your fund-raising golf event. A parking lot meeting reverses the direction you thought the group had decided.
Systems will find an order, and according to Wheatley, systems find their best order when two factors are present: good information and good relationships. Once we have good information, we need good relationships, internally and externally, to decide what to do with it. It is another argument for increased transparency and inclusiveness. In the old model of leadership, information is power. In the newer model Wheatley describes, information is energy to a system that is finding the right order.