Is your team or organisation a ‘robust system’?

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readAug 4, 2021

Do you have the right balance of dynamics to engage with the world with love and power, to be fully yourselves and fully the whole?

A robust system is able to meet something new, different, surprising, odd — something ‘a bit off’ — and study, welcome, value and utilise it.

The alternative, a dominance system, evaluates it, fears it, defends against it and tries to control it — and the ultimate control is to erase it.

We often think we are a robust system. That our group, our society, our team are open, welcoming; that we value things that are ‘other’.

But it turns out we’re locked into our own perspective and rituals, and our response to something novel is actually to marginalise, exclude, fear, change it. Or weakly ‘value difference’ and keep it at arms length.

And the way the world is, it’s not long before something comes along which disturbs us: a merger, an acquisition. Immigration. A new generation. That other lot in politics.

Robust systems do these things:

For individuals, they:

  • encourage us to make the most of our individual differences, and through habits, rituals, and practices they let us be truly ourselves to offer our talents and uniqueness to the whole. We feel special and recognised for our individuality, free.
  • have ceremonies and cadences that create a compelling overall mission, bring us together for love and connection, to break bread together and modulate our behaviours to fit in with the whole. We feel we belong.

For groups within the system, they:

  • encourage us to create very distinct subgroups and offerings that can engage with the world or serve the whole in effective ways. We get to be different!
  • bring us together to actively learn about, share, and incorporate the different practices and cultures that develop in these subgroups. We get to feel comfortable being together.

Systems that are not robust become rigid and shatter (or violent and dangerous). Systems that are too open just disperse and disappear.

What sort of system were you thinking of, reading this? What implications do you see?

#humanresources #management #leadership #culture #creativity #powerandsystems #viablesystemsmodel