What do groups need to function at their highest level?
How can you “name” what is going on in the group? What language do you use?
Complex Living Systems (bodies, brains, groups, nature) have a fundamental underlying pattern: networks of connection that seek dynamic balance between autonomy and interconnectedness.
To create a Living System, groups begin by building healthy relationships between individuals. These relationships form the matrix to reveal the collective genius living in the system, strengthening and nourishing the individual, the group, and the organization.
Living Systems acknowledge that “No one is as smart as all of us.”
The following are phrases groups working as Living Systems can use to track and express where an individual is at any given moment within the group. Tracking gives team members a language to express what is living within the group.
In/Out – Is everyone feeling included? Is everyone engaged? For any reason, a team member may not be able to participate fully. Naming who is “in” and who is “out” fosters full inclusion and cohesiveness in a team.
Hot Spots – Is there a lot of energy around a topic? Energy has different perspectives and can appear chaotic. When attentive to “hot spots,” teams can address passion areas and remove obstacles to understanding that will accelerate progress in the long run.
Flying Fish – Is there an idea that seems to take off? Is everyone aligning with excitement in one direction? Is it as if all the fish were swimming hard and fast enough that they were able to fly together? “Flying fish” moments signal that the collective genius of the team is emergent. Celebrate!
Internal Squeeze – Is someone in the group holding back? Are there concerns or insights that are going unexpressed due to an angst within? Calling an “internal squeeze” allows team members to safely bring their truth to the group.
3 Golden Keys
In order to become a living system, teams must develop the skill of fostering nourishing and sustaining connections. The strengthening of connections will create the patterns necessary for all groups to become a living system, shifting their form to an interconnected matrix.
Living systems alternate between cycles of order and chaos. Chaos has the potential to raise a team to a higher level of complexity and coherence.
Navigating chaos requires:
* Letting go of control
* Becoming comfortable with uncertainty
* Tolerating ambiguity
* Examining your relationship to power and the ability to empower others
Living Systems experience and express integrated consciousness that allows them to “live the paradoxes” and find a state of dynamic balance between two seemingly opposed concepts or poles of a polarity. Consciousness fosters a move from opposition to interdependence.
These spirals are taught experientially and theoretically, so that participants gain a felt sense of these stages living in their bodies.
A fractal is a geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole. A fractal reveals its complex shape through continuous self-reference to a simple initial equation. Connections, chaos and consciousness at all levels of scale, integrated again and again provide a simple equation for Living Systems and fostering agility.