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Patterns of living systems surround us, but what does this mean to strategic planning? Michlle Holliday in a TED talk outlined living systems.
At every level of human activity is the same pattern:
Parts - organizations and every living system ares made of separate parts: individuals with their own unique passions, creativity and abilities. "The more divergent the parts, the more resilient, adaptive and creative the living system will be." Hire and reward employees who think differently, who will add new ideas to your strategic planning and who will question the status quo.
Whole - the whole system cannot be understood only by looking at the parts. "The more convergent the whole, the more resilient, adaptive and creative the living system will be." As a leader, you must involve those creative, divergent employees to create a shared purpose and strategies for the entire organization.
Relationships - a vibrant network of relationships is needed to ensure your organization thrives, grows and meets its purpose. "The more open & free-flowing the relationships, the more resilient, adaptive and creative the living system will be." In strategic planning we recommend you bring key stakeholders into the planning process as part of the planning team, or at least to give feedback to drafts of the strategic plan.
Self-integrating property - "by itself the living system integrates divergent parts into a convergent whole in dynamic relationship internally & externally in an ongoing moment by moment process of self-organization and self-creation." Your strategic planning team must manage the whole process of involving key stakeholders and creative employees, within a dynamic environment to deliver to the shared purpose throughout the entire year.
All organizations follow these patterns. Organizations are living systems, not machines.
Progressive leaders realize that the organization as machine story cannot deliver the resilience, adaptability and creativity we need.
To listen to Michelle's full talk: "Patterns of Living Systems."
Want to learn more about how to apply Systems Thinking in your organization?
Contact me Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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