Mapping the Hidden Dynamics of Individual and Organizational Change
The leaders of change, as a manager, coach or facilitator, all seek to help people appreciate what is working and what needs to be changed, individually and/or collectively. The steps of clearly identifying the problem, brainstorming solutions, selecting the best one and developing a plan for implementation are well-known and widely followed.
Yet, despite the best of intentions, resistances, and unseen obstacles more often than not hinder the effective implementation of those plans. What we don’t know we don’t know about ourselves and the system we operate in can foster a lack of alignment that puts different parts of ourselves and the organizational system at cross purposes with each other.
Fortunately, there is a methodology that enables us to map out the challenges of leadership and change that we face and gain the insights needed to foster greater alignment. When the dynamics of an organization are mapped physically and observed with a quiet mind we can gain a deeper level of appreciation for what needs to be said and done to harmonize the component parts. As we take responsibility for our own potential for change we are more able to understand and influence our organization in a positive manner.
Our primary approach is to look “systemically” at an organization and its leadership. This systemic approach is inspired by systems thinking. An organization is a system or even a system of systems. Identifying the essential parts and how they relate to each other uncovers unique insights and the leverage points for sustainable and meaningful change. One of the tools we use for this process of inquiry and insight is an organizational constellation, also known as systems mapping or systemic dynamics, can be focused on the individual or collective levels. When applied with another approach we call the “use of self” it can dramatically enhance the capacity for effective leadership. The methodology has been used mainly in Europe for a number of years and is now gaining more visibility here in North America as a uniquely effective tool for professional and organizational transformation.
Systemic methodologies work with tacit knowledge, what you don’t know you know, to bring untapped wisdom to light in a way that leads to new insights and useful possibilities. By bringing to conscious awareness what is unknown or has been denied, the dynamics behind old patterns can be better understood and even shifted. When hidden blocks are cleared open communication and collaborative teamwork flow more freely towards fulfillment in work and social relationships.
Any change initiative depends upon the leadership’s ability and willingness to be the change they want to create. A deep understanding of others and the dynamics of their interaction is a vital yet overlooked leadership competency. Leaders with that competency can build a healthy organizational culture by identifying and transforming the hidden obstacles to change and strengthening the elements underlying success.