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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Systems Theory

Diagram courtesy of Jorge Taborga.
Our life choices and commitments feed on each other causing them to form a reinforcing loop. This type of loop is the causal relationship of two variables that affect each other in the same direction. If one grows the other does as well. The opposite is also true: the reduction in one variable causes the other to diminish. The choices we make in...
Photo of courtesy of LinkedIn.
I have been working with Laurie Mandel, Ed.D., founder and Executive Director of Get-A-Voice™, recently. As I dove deeply into her philosophy, I ended up revisiting elements of systems knowledge intermingled with a motivation to establish conscious school cultures—from the student level! After nearly two months of work, these...
Diagram courtesy of Jorge Taborga.
Systems archetypes are common and usually reoccurring patterns of behavior in organizations.  These patterns almost always result in negative consequences. Systems archetypes were first studied in the 1960s and 1970s by Jay Forrester, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows and others in the nascent field of systems thinking. In his popular 1990 book...
Photo courtesy of Northwest Ohio Nature.
Today's buzzwords are collaboration, community engagement, and networked leadership across several industries. There's a lot of talk about adapting a systems perspective and moving away from linear approaches to change. These views and processes are all well and good. As a matter of fact, they hold the promise of a more holistic pathway...
Photo courtesy of Organic on the Green.
Systemic sustainability is a process of development—individual, organizational, or societal—involving an adaptive strategy of emergence that ensures the evolutionary maintenance of an increasingly robust and supportive environment. Systemic sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line and embraces “the possibility that human...
Photo of Mari courtesy of the Grace, Joy, and Healing blog.
While perusing my Facebook page this afternoon, I learned that the friend of a friend—a woman named Maria—was recently hospitalized in her battle against an inoperable brain tumor. Maria's name sounded familiar so I looked her up. I know her, I thought. But I don't know her. At least not formally. I remembered her as Mari...
Photo of Rep. Trey Gowdy courtesy of The Washington Times.
Last night on CNN, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina used the "s" word to describe the kind of change he wants to see in Washington, D.C., to end the recurring debt-default issue once and for all. The "s" word he used was systemic. "Systemic change," Mr. Gowdy said, is the change he'd like to...
Don Beck and Chris Cowan, the authors of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change worked with Dr. Clare Grave for about 10 years prior to his death in 1986.  Spiral dynamics has its roots in the research of Dr. Graves and is one of the most popular practices in value systems in use today by organizational development...
Diagram courtesy of Kathia Laszlo.
A system is a set of interconnected elements which form a whole and show properties which are properties of the whole rather than of the individual elements. This definition is valid for a cell, an organism, a society, or a galaxy. Joanna Macy says that a system is less a thing than a pattern—a pattern of organization. It consists of a...
I have a problem with my neighbors and it's bothering me more than I like to admit. I like having good neighbors and was raised to be a good neighbor, but there's basic problem we can't seem to resolve: They fear and hate dogs; my husband and I have two dogs. Our problem may sound simple, but it's a complex situation. So I decided...
In the 2003 book Mapping the Organizational Psyche: A Jungian Theory of Organizational Dynamics and Change, authors John G. Corlett and Carol S. Pearson model the organizational psyche in two layers: conscious and unconscious.  The authors assert that the ego-driven actions and behaviors of those leading the organization manifest activity and...
Photo of George Anthony on the witness stand courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.
OK, I'll admit it: I've been following the Casey Anthony trial for the past 32 days on both Court TV and HLN. I don't veg out on the couch all day, eat potato chips, and let the trial proceedings numb my brain, but I have kept the TV on during the trial every so often while I work at my freelance writing, catching snippets of testimony...