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Sometimes we need to view our chaotic situations from a different angle to find the calm space we desire. Finding the right view of chaos can change our experience from frantic noise to purposeful direction. Great managers know how to adapt their view of changing circumstances quickly and effectively.

Just as a carpenter has screwdrivers, hammers, drills, and saws in their toolbox, successful managers have a toolbox full of management models that help guide them through most (if not all) situations. It would not be logical to have only one tool to approach all situations.

Yet, it has been my observation that too many managers have a one-size-fits-all style. Management is all about flexibility—specifically, it is about finding the right management tool for each situation. When I define management, I am not limiting my scope to organizational management. We also manage our homes, our time and even the process of parenting.

I am a management model collector … an odd hobby, I admit. However, the more models I gather, the calmer my life experiences have become. Several of these models were created or located during very difficult times in my life; my collection grew the most when I didn’t have a model to guide my thinking. I made mistakes—some mistakes were painful and expensive. I have strong emotional connections to many of the models as I vividly (and perhaps fondly) relive each of my unique learning experiences.

Managing through models isn’t a new idea; scholars have been creating models for centuries. What is new today is the pace in which managers are exposed to unique, chaotic situations. Having the right tools in the management toolbox can make all the difference. Managers can go about filling up their toolbox in two ways: they can wait until life presents a situation and then create a tool, or they can gather and learn how to use tools before they are needed, just like an apprentice.

Chaos Answers is all about sharing my toolbox of management models. I will explain when and how to use the tools and I’ll share with you the ones I use all the time. My goal is to help you prevent painful and expensive management mistakes. Anything we can do to achieve a calm life experience in a chaotic environment is a victory. More importantly, anything we can do to prevent mistakes that often create chaotic situations is elegant mastery.