Excellent lessons and a wealth of references are included in this paper, Changing Homeland Security: Shape Patterns, Not Programs which is applicable to a wide and sundry audience.
Advice from Socrates to a man who over-planned his son’s birthday party – “ask the women”, with the following results:
We held the party at Panathinaikon Stadium. We set up places to eat, a site for crafts, a tent for shelter and rest, a station for music, and a space for art. Singers wandered and told stories. There was a field for wrestling and running and flying kites. We encouraged the children to try what they pleased. We helped if they asked, then we stepped back and watched. When there was hitting or crying or harsh words – and there was – we immediately spoke sternly or separated the offenders. Then we redirected them toward an established activity.
In sum, our strategy was to control only that which could be ordered. For those activities in the realm of that which is, and must be, unordered, we watched and we shaped – gently, but with insistence. Because I have learned to know the difference between the states of order and unorder, I am now seen by all Athens as the wisest of men. Second to you of course.
On planning for the future
We need to learn how to become a partner with an uncontrollable future.
Consider how one rears children. They are not little machines waiting to be directed by higher headquarters. They are people learning how to be free and responsible citizens. Their future emerges; it is not designed. So too with homeland security – it is only five years old.
There is much good advice here for all organizations dealing with complex issues.