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The term Ad hoc is a conundrum, a paradox, meaning different things to different occasions. In its purest form it applies to a solution designed for a specific problem or task that cannot be applied to other purposes.

But Wikipedia reminds us that ‘Ad hoc can also mean makeshift solutions, shifting contexts to create new meanings, inadequate planning, or improvised events’. In science an ad hoc theory is one that is unsupported by sufficient factual evidence – according to those who do not subscribe to the theory. So, Ad hoc may be ad hoc.

Yet, the term ad hoc networking is a system of network elements that combine to form a network requiring little or no planning. It is here that we hit the paradoxical hurdle as it is historically demonstrated that anything that requires little effort has little long-term stability.

Sports teams are the most common examples of the need for discipline, respect and dedicated effort to combine with natural talent of a group of players. It is only once these three elements have been inculcated, that the ‘bunch of heroes’ becomes a ‘heroic team’. Many potentially great players have fallen at the first hurdle of discipline.

Many others fail the test of dedication, of being there for training, teambuilding, match planning – every time. Others, used to adoration due to their natural talents, fail the test of respect for their fellow players and the servants of the team – the head coach, managers and trainers – and respect is a two way street for the building of leaders of the future.

What is the key element to bring these players together as an effective team, a team that shares its talents for the benefit of all and builds leaders for the future? It is not just the strength of the philosophy where the words of Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 60’s, ring loudest:

  • “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society”
  • “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”
  •  “Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time”
  • “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success”
  •  “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up (this saying became part of the manifesto of Nelson Mandela)

With the resonance of inspirational sayings, the hard work of team-building begins – the discipline, dedication and respect led and demanded by the head coach, who must have the unqualified support of the ‘staff and directors’. When, as will happen, a team member fails to accept this commitment, he is lost to the team. When a player or a group of players stand against the coach, one must leave. This is the greatest challenge facing a team, particularly in the days before success, where sacrifices must be made by all before benefits are achieved.

In those few cases where the pure meaning of ad hoc survives, and not one of the entropic meanings, the team .. “will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” The outcome is understanding –that rare combination of knowledge and heart – and a quiet smile of achievement – mixed with a hearty team cheer.

It seems that the Ad-Hoc Consilia created by Giordano Agrizzi in Veneto, may have this understanding.

(This article has been reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)

Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine


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