Understand organic system processes.
This is the fundamental transformation – a shift in lenses – upon which all else is based. We need to grasp this concept of ourselves as systems creatures and to understand the connection between organic system processes (the outside view) and our experiences of ourselves and others (the inside view). We have not yet evolved into homo systemicus, so we may not be able to see whole system processes directly, but even as homo sapiens we can have the wisdom to grasp the concepts. Much heartache and system damage could be averted if members of Top Systems learned about Robust Systems – systems of Power and Love – differentiation and homogenization, individuation and integration, and also learned about how these processes predictably play out in the world these Tops are about to enter or are in. And it would be important for them to understand the need to infuse Love – homogenization and integration – into their ongoing interactions.
Six examples of such needed Love strategies.
Here are six ways of fostering Love in systems:
1. Develop powerful shared vision and values
The members of the Top System need to have shared vision and values for the larger system; this needs to be something more than a surface exercise. The vision needs to be something that taps deep chords in the partners, their fundamental commonality, their grounding in homogenization. What are our fondest wishes for this whole system for which we are jointly responsible? What deep personal meaning does this system have for us? And what are our fundamental values that ground our choices? Tensions and disagreement are inevitable in the Top world; the complexities and uncertainties will always be there. Vision and values, when heartfelt and shared, give Tops something in which to re-ground themselves, in the face of the complexity of their situation and the inevitable tensions and disagreements. A leader of a military medical services operation, when faced with growing territoriality among medical specialties and between doctors and administrators, infused Love (integration and homogenization) into the relationships through two strategies: (1) developing regular joint learning events and (2) using values as the touchstone of all decisions.
2. Take time to walk in one another’s shoes
Find opportunities to live in other Tops’ worlds; experience directly the issues, dilemmas, and choices other Tops face. Can corporate Tops rotate through one another’s domains of responsibility? Can family Tops shift their habitual patterns of responsibility regarding finances, childcare, who washes and who wipes?
3. Share high quality information.
When we are in the grip of territoriality, we tend to be selective in the information we share, withholding anything that might bring our competency into question or challenge our competitive position. Yet developing strong Top Teams requires sharing information that would be useful for others to know, information that will give an accurate picture of system conditions, information from one part of the system that might suggest action in another. Such openness can then set the stage for mutual coaching.Download Article 1K Club