The theory states that our action must meet the situation at the level of inner dynamics in order to produce a desired effect.
Every situation consists of people, objects and events. Each of these follow their own inner logic. The logic consists of objectives, an option range and preferred modes of achieving them.
Similarly our action has an inner logic. We the actors have our needs, our thinking horizon and our preferences.
We have to find those options of action that fit in with the inner dynamics of the situation. This is the way of philosophy and science. We take materials from nature, use them according to their properties and laws of nature and design their configuration to build houses, machines and vehicles that serve our purpose.
In management, philosophy teaches us to be aware of the forces within us and without us. A person who is aware of the dynamics of his/her self and is set on a clear direction is in flow. Research shows that the only characteristic that has a one-to-one correlation with success is the person's realism in self-appraisal. And it is also the Zen way to effective management.
Awareness of the self and of the world is a continuing process and flow. That is the way to growth. Competence that gathers knowledge in pursuit of performance seeks permanency and elimination of uncertainty. It is a wishful pursuit.
Take the example of IIT's. Except the one in Mumbai, the rest were set up in places that had no significant industrial activity. Even after 5 decades, the IIT's have not contributed to any significant industrial growth in their immediate environments. They are doing work which by international standards is excellent, but irrelevant by local standards. In contrast, there are numerous industrial centres that have come up in Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat without the aid of IIT's.
The industrial centres in these places owe their success to technical education which was in tune with local requirements. They needed good polytechnics and engineering colleges, not institutes of technology. The polytechnics and the colleges were set up by local administrators and policy makers who were aware of the needs, constraints and aspirations of the local environment. The policy makers behind IIT's were chasing a dream of catching up with the West. That was a wishful pursuit. You take an idealised vision of the future and start pressurising the present to conform to it.
That's what we did with the IIT's. "We must have modern technology and we must take it from the West." So we got foreign collaborations and set up these institutions, which trained students in the way the collaborators used technology. As a result the students could not fit into the then existing industry. So many went abroad, while those who remained in the country moved away from technology and into management. So IIT's served the purpose of creating an elite, which contributed to itself and not to the country.
On the other hand, the ITI's produced trade apprentices who moved quickly to form the workforce at the ground level and enabled the diversified base of Indian industry. It is these boys which are today the backbone of India's strength in the manufacturing sector. They successfully negotiated the global challenge of quality and competition. This is the alternative path of working with the present situation and influencing it in a new direction.
But we hype the IIT's and neglect the ITI's. That is the myth making ability of the elite.
2. Know what you want
In any situation, it is important to know what you want from it and in it. If this is partly and hazily known, it affects action and shakes up the intent. Intent is intention backed by commitment. How strong is my intent? Many persons try to push the question outside in highly innovative ways. They ask,"is tea going to be served now?" instead of stating that they want tea at this time. Or they start discussing probabilities of different eventualities. "Will the train be on time or should I go by road?" It is necessary to be clear that I want to reach a particular destination by a particular time. It is the strength of the intent that drives the strength of the action.