The age of Command and Control has come to an end on this planet. It wasn't even a good run - a mere couple of hundred of years. - if we're being generous.
Command and Control is the strategy that banks on lack of connectivity between people. It involves an authoritative body controlling a limited communicating set of people by conditioning responses to commands. It primarily banks on destroying connectivity and communication between people and replaces socialization through standardized approaches – often called missions or crusades or objectives. That is, the authority destroys and eliminates all other stimulus that doesn't reinforce the mission.
It works when people are disconnected. It works when people can be normalized and undifferentiated.
This is the dominant strategy in industry and military… ironically it's the most used organizing strategy in modern America – in corporations, education, government, social organizations and non-profits. The West is full of Mission Statements and social engineering towards complete compliance. Deviants be damned.
The problem is… and it's a Huge Problem… nature, outside of humans, has almost zero examples of Command and Control as a strategy. More damning is that most of human (and our ancestors') history has zero examples of Central Authority as the organizing principal.
What's happening is that as the industrial world connects more people and more machines centralized control becomes more fragile and short sighted. The reality of complexity and ecology is the network cannot be controlled, it is shaped. There are no absolute missions. There are temporary ideas and temporary organizations – always changing – localized, short term goals. There are traces of next moves, but there are no crusades in a connected world. There are no slogans worth dying for in a connected world.
And so, here we are. At the crux. The epoch of those that will literally die for the mission and those that will carry on by being in response through awareness and empathy and sensitivity. The Command and Control no longer can tell who's a man or a woman, who is what race, who bleeds what flag colors, who believes what tax form W2 mission statement. In an ironic corporate slogan appropriation, “what have you done for me lately?”
Tomorrows winners are the makers, the free agents, the distributed computation, the micro finance, the micro school, the flash mob, the flash sale, the accidental brand, the oral history, the traces of ideas, the partial credit, the question answered with a question, the hacker hacker, the crafty craftsperson.
The ledger of exchange and the winning ideas will be distributed and trusted only through a loosely connected network. The handshake is back. The seal is dead.