Self-organization is a primary principle of understanding living systems. As a living system you are already organized. You are organized in a way that you are
It means you have a physical pattern as well as a subtle pattern of psychic energy that is uniquely you and you will do what it takes to maintain that pattern and to stay alive, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. These patterns are often referred to as ‘types’ because they have a central organizing principle that can be named and described. You will also be drawn to activities that renew yourself and even transcend what seems like limitation. In other words, you grow and develop.
Organizations are also living systems that follow the same principles, but with more complexity as the individuals have their own way of being organized. In recent years, the importance of honoring that natural self-organization of both the organization and the individuals serving its purpose has come into broader awareness.
To work with living systems, we need to honor the already existing patterns of self-organization.
Many organizations are recognizing the need to distribute authority and are experimenting with new, groundbreaking organizational models to:
- help increase productivity
- foster an environment of innovation and efficacy
- find more soulful ways of working
- and more
These organizations have been trying out Holacracy® or other systems that distribute authority, grant more autonomy to workers to fill roles as they see fit, and attend to clear role definitions and accountabilities.
In general, most organizational changes focus on changing the system and not on the profound personal changes required of individuals. These shifts can catalyze a change in the culture, but that change is not separate from the people and their relationships.
Individuals have to let go of old habits that worked in a traditional operating system and acquire new habits. This often requires shifts in attitude as well as developing new skills. In addition, a shift to a new level of development may be needed.
Robust systems, like Holacracy®, by design, are transformative and stimulate growth and development. Such shifts remove the stable structures that we are used to operating in and uncover developmental opportunities for individuals and teams. They require individuals to be more self-authoring and self-managing. InterStrength CORE Approach™ sets the frame for this empowerment.
Specifically, Holacracy® focuses on the work of the organization. With distributed authority and working peer-to-peer, many tensions arise that have nothing to do with the work of the organization and have more to do with individuals’ perspectives and interpersonal communication habits.
An environment of innovation and trust occurs when there is a dynamic flow of energy and when there is enough diversity of thought, expertise and experience to generate creative tension, which will push thought outside the box.
This very diversity also means there is much potential for wasteful friction, factions and conflict. When, by their nature, people see things differently, perceive, problem solve and make judgments according to very different processes, the usual tendency is to blame and take a we-them stance. Often, these creative forces become destructive forces. Many don’t usually see these differences as natural and desirable. In fact, most of us have very limited models for seeing the source of the differences at all.
Working in this ‘new world of work’ requires interpersonal agility that helps effectively resolve interpersonal tensions. Our personal meaning making systems influence our agility and attitudes, so part of what is needed are ways to make explicit some of the meaning making systems.
The InterStrength CORE Approach™ is uniquely positioned to help enterprises that aspire to be self-organizing make the shift by providing a common language to describe differences and practices for developing communication habits that honor those differences. The development of Holacracy® was informed by a deep understanding of these differences and the structures and practices give consideration to them.
*Holacracy is a registered trademark of HolacracyOne, LLC