Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another angle on human collections

"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." attributed to Albert Einstein

Been reading "Finding our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time" by Margaret Wheatley. It's a look at human systems (organizations, companies, groups, pairs, etc.) through the lens of biological systems. From these evolutionist (and often Evolutionist) biologist comes the following set of needs organisms have (note: the more complex the being, the more these needs are felt):
1) the need to be myself and live (or create) out of my sense of self
2) the need to be with others, in actual community

Here's the basics of their framework . . .

3 Conditions for a Sustainable, self-organizing Organization (human or otherwise!):

1) Identity: the making-sense capacity of the organization
- core values, lenses/filters, intent of the org.
- the "self" is an internal construct
- self generated
- creates filters, values, etc.
- canNOT be created externally, only externally disturbed
- why try to shape what cannot be reached?!?

2) Information: the Medium of an Organization
- in-form, what forms from the Inside
- data becomes information when it is used by the "in" to form itself

3) Relationships: the Pathways of Organization
- data/information is passed, shared, amplified down these paths
- identity is created and re-created
- community is had, held, formed, given to new members

I find the #2-Information point interesting. Have I, as a pastor, tried too hard to change what I cannot even touch? Granted, the Spirit can mold there, but I cannot form in those places (values, ethics, morals, habits) that I was trying to reach with sermons, advice, meetings, events. [this point is directly tied to the ideas of "teachable moments" and "salting the oats"]
- I also like how date becomes information

#3-Relationships is expanded on quite a bit throughout the book. It is definitely a two-way system. More than just feedback, there is a equality that 's interesting: the head (human head, for example) that cannot get data except by Relationship, but the members only pass along that data which they consider Informative!!

This angle of bio-systems is fascinating my mind!