Creating the Conditions for Change© was fully embedded into the approach in 2011, after significant development from 2006. A Systems Thinking Change Wheel© was developed as a set of questions and prompts, inspired by Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. The Systems Thinking Change Wheel© helps people who are not deeply embedded in systems thinking to consider some of the more human focussed elements in their situation. It is ultimately about leadership and system leadership, as well as being about being adaptive to a complex, changing environment. Above is the 2022 version, which has been developed since the release of the original.
Accompanying the Systems Thinking Change Wheel© is a 20 page A4 explanatory booklet, to guide users as they consider the questions posed. The real power of Creating the Conditions for Change© sits in a set of 120 ‘action cards’ which give further detailed questions and prompts to help people consider how they might create more healthy, human centred work situations.
At the heart of the approach is observation, learning and adaptability. Learning how to truly observe situations from multiple perspectives and with awareness of our own biases is key. Triple loop learning is a deliberate strategy built into every element of the approach. Together they help support a move towards being adaptive to the complex, changing environment.
Below is the workshop booklet from 2019. This has since been superseded by a 2021 version of the booklet, which included changes to the booklet narrative, wording of the Systems Thinking Change Wheel© and additions and changes to the accompanying action cards.
A summary of what this element of the approach is about:
- It is about purposefully observing – ourselves and the situations we engage with
- It is about purposefully learning
- It is about adapting over time
These three things are central to the approach and are embedded throughout. It is also about:
- Dealing with complexity at the right place – not passing it around like a hot potato
- The right people having autonomy to make decisions, within reasonable boundaries –a model of decision making
- Distributing power and control – a different model of governance
- Having the right balance of autonomy and control
- Considering everyone as a leader – a different model of leadership
- Recognising and purposefully working with awareness of purpose and identity
- Bringing humanity back into the work
- Using the gifts that everyone brings
- Supporting people to take measured risks
- Self awareness, vulnerability and allowing people to say ‘I don’t know’
- Co-creating with others
- Building collaborations and relationships – deliberately building in relationship enablers and interaction channels
- Reciprocation – deliberate reciprocation strategies
- Effectiveness, not just efficacy and efficiency
- Monitoring, not just performance managing – monitoring for system health
This part of the approach is enabled either by consultant support that you can commission or through workshops, coaching and on the job guidance, to support you to learn the approach for yourself.
An Example Workshop
During the Creating the Conditions for Change© workshops, attendees are taken through questions such as the following:
- How might you engage in peer to peer collaborations?
- How might you instigate and implement change yourself, within the span of your autonomy;
- How can you strengthen community, develop networks, collaborate and work together with people outside of your own team on an ongoing basis;
- How can you contribute to internal system coherence;
- How can you bring humanity and balance back into the work;
- How do you make joint decisions, decide upon joint goals and decide what level of performance is reasonable;
- How do you ensure effective system characteristics;
- How do you create congruence between the system and its vision;
- How do you build external relationships and gather intelligence about the world around you;
- How do you ‘pivot’ and change quickly enough;
- And how do you get that small element of joint vision, meaning, purpose and identity, whilst still allowing and accepting difference?
Creating the Conditions for Change is all about…..
- Building healthy work situations
- Creating the Conditions for Change© at each fractal scale in a situation. For example, an individual, a team, a service, an organisation, a place etc
This element of the approach is NOT a productised model. It is a set of ideas, principles and questions that can be applied to a situation to help Create the Conditions for Change© for the improvements you might want to make next. Central to its application is an authentic systems thinking learning and self development approach.
Please note that these materials are covered by UK copyright