Do the changes that take place make perfect sense? Is the thinking behind policies and practices transparent and clear or, do you find yourself often mystified as to why things happen the way they do? Do you sometimes either witness or find yourself caught up in unresolved conflict where behaviours and attitudes seem distorted or simply misplaced for the context you think you are working in?
The point is that wherever we are, be it a family or organisation (organisation being a very large family in some ways), we don’t just exist in the present alone. We are often told that to move forward, we must leave the past behind, that we cannot change the past and therefore not waste time or energy worrying about it. This is often the case in change programmes where the past becomes sometimes irrelevant and barely acknowledged.
Helicopters and ripples in the pond
There is some powerful current thinking on ‘business constellations’ which can enable us to take a helicopter view of our landscape and look at our organisations in relation to the many interconnected influences that have come from both the past and present, from external bodies, cultures and relationships that impact on our organisations and the way we behave in them. In particular, this methodology can enable us to reveal and understand better relationships connecting us to the current outside world but also to past ‘forebears’ who have influenced and impacted our organisations in terms of direction and achievements. The point is that just because we cannot see them does not mean they are not there. Many of us will have experienced the ‘Founder Syndrome’ or where a strong matriarchal or patriarchal type leader is a ‘hard act to follow’ and the ripples in the pond of their influence continue for many years after they have left. Understanding more about these forces, can help us resolve conflict, plan for the future and harness untapped potential as well as overcoming barriers that may have held us back in the past.
Our paradigm of linear thinking can be brought into a new view of past present and future working as one constantly changing system with many influences and relationships outside our immediate view. The invisible forces inside an organisation can be made visible offering new perspectives and more certainty about future actions.
To learn more, come to Corinne Devery’s workshop, “Understanding the system in which you are leading”, at DSC’s Management & Leadership Fair on Monday 15th February at 356 Holloway Road.