Home Tools Internal Politics What Would Homo Systemicus Do? The Wisdom Of Viewing Our World Through An Organic Systems Lens

What Would Homo Systemicus Do? The Wisdom Of Viewing Our World Through An Organic Systems Lens

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The Vulnerability of Top Teams

In this article I apply the organic systemic perspective to a single class of phenomena – the relationships among members of Top Teams: corporate heads, business partners, project leaders, or spouses. As diverse as these collections may be, they share common features: (1) each has collective responsibility for a larger system – the corporation, the business, the project, or the family, and (2) each is vulnerable to what feels like unpredictable and puzzling breakdowns – relationships that began in great promise and ended in bitterness, separation, and divorce, with costly consequences for the larger systems for which they are responsible.

The explanations of these breakdowns are usually personal (the inside view): the character or temperament of one party or the other, or more charitably, an unfortunate mix.

Examining  these  relationships  from  an  organic  systems  perspective  (the  outside  view)  yields  a fundamentally different understanding of the causes of these breakdowns, along with concrete strategies for creating and sustaining satisfying and productive Top Team relationships.

Before dealing directly with Top Teams, let me share with you my window into whole systems, how I’ve come to see and understand systems and develop an organic systems perspective.

My learning laboratories for seeing whole systems

Over the past 40 years I’ve created learning events (The Power Lab and The Organization Workshop) to enable people to deepen their understanding of themselves as members of social systems, and to help them see new choices. Central to each program is immersion in a whole systems exercise.  While these exercises were designed for the purpose of participant education, they have also served for my education, offering me the rare opportunity to stand aside hundreds of systems to see the whole – the shape it was taking (the outside view)– while hearing from the parts – the experiences members were having (the inside view).

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