Entries in Simple Rules (2)


What guides our work? Part 2

Continued from the previous post...

Reinforce strengths in self and other.  As you could see in reading about the two of us, we are different in many ways.  Even though we are both passionately interested in this work, our approaches are different.  Mary is studied and reflective; I am impulsive and reactive.  Mary is patient; I am impatient.  Mary loves to explore and connect to what is; I like to push the envelope and connect with what could be.  Both approaches are critical to the work we do, and I value what Mary brings to the partnership.  We reinforce the value that each brings to our shared goals.

Search for the true and the useful.  Sometimes we encounter ideas that are true—but useless to us in the real world.  Sometimes we encounter ideas that may seem useful—but in reality they are found to be untrue when applied across time or situations.  What Mary and I aim for is to be sure that what we write about can be grounded in theory and practice.  We borrow models and metaphors from other fields, we use principles of Human Systems Dynamics, and we look for ways to make them useful in understanding human interactions.  Our goal is to be transparent about our ideas—where they come from, how we use them, and what we see as “truth.”  If that ever seems unclear – just ask us.

Engage in joyful practice.  We both believe that if we cannot have fun, there is no point in doing this work.  We seek fun in our work and in how we work together, and we seek fun in how we share our work. 

These simple rules influence each other as they create the patterns in our work.  It’s difficult to seek true and useful without understanding how an idea plays out in the part and greater whole or without being open to learning.  Giving and getting value depends on what we each bring to the work and on knowing what is useful to others.  As we make decisions about our work together, we constantly go back to these simple rules to inform those decisions to build the open patterns of learning and growth we want in our work.


What guides our work? Part 1

In 2002, as Glenda Eoyang, Ph.D., was establishing the field of Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) and launching the HSD Institute, she articulated a set of simple rules to guide the work of the field—and the Institute.  She and those with whom she worked used these simple rules in their decision making and planning to influence patterns of inquiry and interaction to be coherent between the field and the Institute.  Mary and I have adopted those simple rules for our work, and we want to be explicit about what that means to us.

Teach and learn in every interaction. – Learning is key to who we are and how we work together.  Our conversations are exchanges of insights, shared explorations, and questions.  Even the act of teaching is based in inquiry…anything we “know” is subject to further exploration.  We teach best when we are attuned to what we can learn from questions.  As we work with clients and as we write and share ideas, our underlying goal is to remain open to new insights and find our own next questions.

Give and get value for value.  In our interactions, Mary and I try to “share the load” as we build a model of thinking, as we establish this blog, or as we move toward deeper thinking in the field. The same is true of our relationships with clients, customers, and readers.  Our goal is to offer you information and insights that make it worth your investment to come here to spend your time.  And our requests for your feedback, input, and comments are not rhetorical.  We want to hear what you have to say—we want to know your reactions to the ideas we post here.

Attend to the whole, the part, and the greater whole.  We recognize and appreciate the separateness and completeness each of us brings to the work.  Mary’s experiences and learning are separate from mine, and yet when we work together, our work forms a relatively coherent whole, which, in turn, contributes to the greater whole of the field of HSD.  Our work considers those interdependent systems, and we are committed to attending to all those levels as we move our own work forward.  We consider each other’s needs and consequences as we work together—and we are mindful about the impact our work—both individually and shared—has on the field of HSD.