A story has the capacity to sustain action. A story changes obligatory todo lists to acts of purpose. A story adds life.
In the field of organizational and leadership development, this principle of story remains accurate to me. I’m glad for many colleagues and friends and organizations who contribute story and narrative to rather involved efforts.
One of these organizations is the Human Systems Dynamics Institute. That’s Glenda Eoyang who has been contributing theory and practice to applied complexity for a long time now. I get HSDI emails, one of which recently offered a few foundational aspects needed for change and creating futures together.
- An understanding about complex systems and how they change — and why they don’t.
- Tools to see the transformative energy that is locked inside the system — and how to get it unblocked.
- A change method that generates hope, rather then sucking energy out of people and processes.
From this story, here’s a few bits that I lean in to.
Complex Systems — It was my early learning with Margaret Wheatley that taught me that groups of people, systems, have properties that none of the parts of the system have. It’s the interaction that produces an emergent phenomenon. This is tricky — we humans are so accustomed to dissecting the whole into parts. I think we can learn a lot about water by looking at a drop, but a drop isn’t the same as an lake.
Tools for Transformative Energy — I’m glad for a suite of methodologies that help with this. Open Space Technology, for the way it creates simple but clear format for people to take responsibility for what they love. World Cafe, for the way it connects people in web of conversation. Circle, for the way that in invites so much more realness into how we are together. Realness transforms.
Generates Hope — I would suggest that the work, the thing behind the thing behind the thing, is to generate hope. Not the hope that Santa Clause is real. But the hope that comes naturally as human beings congeal their energy for the things that they care about. It is my learning that people everywhere seek learning and connection. Not just as head space, but also as heart space. We humans seem to have instinct that reminds us that we are more together. Or that we, individually, become more, when congealed by a hope together.
I’m glad to continue learning. And to continue simplifying. And to feel the gift of operational story from Glenda Eoyang and others like her. In a story of change.