Donella H Meadows
"Hierarchical systems evolve from the bottom up. The purpose of the upper layers of the hierarchy is to serve the purposes of the lower layers."
THE IMMINENT DANGER OF LEADERSHIP WHACKADOODLE!
Our understanding of organisations is in desperate need of an upgrade. Social media, journals, HR departments and academia are awash with pre-Darwinian leadership whackadoodle. An endless stream of 'a leader must be this, a leader must be that.' With no evidence, no measurement, no method and most importantly no 'how to.' No wonder organisations are falling over like ninepins.
Every organisation is a complex system that can gain or lose energy over time. Like every other system in the universe it is subject to the laws of physics and evolution. This means that each system's performance is determined by the available energy in the system.
Further, just as the human body, to stay alive, needs to operate in a narrow temperature band, organisations also evolve their own energy band or homeostasis. This becomes the system's internal and unconscious strategy - to maintain system equilibrium.
Every organisation is governed by a simple formula, where actual performance is always a function of available system energy. Therefore an organisation can only ever implement a strategy that falls within its energy envelope. Any strategy that requires an energy level outside of the energy envelope will fail. This is the primary reason why the majority of change programmes fail.
This leads us to our key hypothesis. Every organisation naturally evolves a unique energy level and a DNA - a set of conscious and unconscious rules - that determines its ability to self organise together with its performance capability.
Traditionally an organisational hierarchy is commonly used to demonstrate the structure of a system. However this popular image is hopelessly inadequate to represent the real nature of a highly evolved, complex, dynamic and four dimensional system. We need a much improved model to represent the real nature of the organisation.
The Sierpinski fractal fits the need perfectly where each triangle divides into self similar but ever smaller triangles which scale to infinity. Each triangle represents the team as the basic 'molecule' or building block that includes a leader and all team members. The sum of all the system 'molecules' constitutes the entire biology of the system, its total energy and all performance capability. It includes every leader and every employee in the organisation.
Every team connects to other teams where the communication capability is a function of the distance between the teams. Distance dissipates.
Each triangular fractal represents a subsystem of a leader and the team members, where each subsystem will evolve a specific energy level and performance capability. If an organisation wishes to have a high system energy of say 75% to implement a new strategy, then the average energy of all the individual teams must average 75%. There are no systemic shortcuts.
Our new method for measuring and generating new levels of organisational energy is based on our practical work at each team level. We do the following.
We measure three things in each team. Think of this as your systemic energy dashboard.
Our view is that all three measurements are essential for a real understanding and foundation for managing system energy.
The performance of every organisation is determined by the system's equilibrium level of energy. It cannot perform outside of its energy envelope.
The system's energy level is determined by its unique DNA profile. If you change the DNA profile you automatically change the energy potential.
The system's DNA is built around the 'molecule' of the team. This is best conceptualised through the Sierpinski fractal. All 'molecules' combine to include every employee, and determine the homeostatic level of energy and potential performance.
Changing system DNA requires a new scientific approach that combines three customised assessment tools and a set of practical tools designed to 'splice' new 'behavioural genes' onto the system, automatically changing the DNA and the level of system energy. It is the almost total absence of this scientific approach in organisations that leads to the current disturbingly high level of failure in organisations.