Recently, Shopify announced they were releasing a new workplace initiative called “Chaos Monkey 2023” to help limit meetings and depopulate its direct messaging platforms. Like many companies, Shopify is working to adjust to a post-pandemic economy, one that may be on the verge of a recession, leaving the company hopeful that “chaos engineering” will help it be more nimble and better able to move forward. Nearly a decade ago, Netflix engineers created the concept of ‘chaos monkey’ as an engineering principle that randomly shuts down operational systems to force the workplace and its employees to create fast solutions and recover in real-time. Remember those fire drills we used to do in school? Think of it like that, but instead, this is something that may be implemented more often or even daily. Mainly aiming to create a faster way for organizations to come together and problem-solve while creating confidence and connection in employee culture.

So…what’s the Point?

The origination of chaos monkey was put in place to enable these 5 factors:

  • Build a hypothesis around steady-state behavior 
  • Vary real-world events 
  • Run experiments in production
  • Automate experiments to run continuously
  • Minimize blast radius 

In layman’s terms, we can look at each of the above like this:

  • What continually remains the same and could use a change?
  • What world events affect the economy, your organization, and everyday life?
  • How can we create faster real-time solutions?
  • How can we automate continual disruption to create successful results?
  • What will it take to minimize the things that may be affected by these changes?

Thus deeming this concept to be so important because this approach blends culture and process. Which fostered and harnessed open-source problem-solving while systematically turning the wheel of random shutdowns to speed up learning across all teams within the organization. Of course, they didn’t name it ‘chaos’ because it would be simple and easy to adapt to these adjustments. But as each of these companies has stated – they knew things would be chaotic, but isn’t that kind of the point?


Now I ask you: Are there things you can do within your organization to dissipate the chaos and create connection? 

When we become used to the status quo, we tend to become complacent. Employees and leaders become too comfortable with the state of things and suddenly lose motivation to push harder, think creatively, and make proactive improvements to their workplace. As your organization’s leader, it’s your job to demonstrate your dedication to continual improvement and cutting-edge thinking even as others comfortably settle into a routine. The engagement of organizational leaders is critical because they set the tone for not only the connection and engagement of their employees but the culture itself.