Life in Organizations LO9787

William J. Hobler, Jr (
Fri, 06 Sep 1996 09:19:59 -0400

Replying to LO9718 --

Ok If, you made me dig more to the center of systems. May I
rephrase and see if I have a better grasp.

You said

>I would normally refer to that mix as 'the pattern'.... I try to imply
> in, or at the core of, the 'system'. ... We do not have the ability to
>provide intent and direction, unless we start to realise how much we are
>trapped and conditioned by our inherited mental patterns

That is that our beliefs, whether inherited or written by our life's
experience may entrap us in a mental model that prohibits (at least
inhibits) awareness of dysfunctional behavior.

You continued

> - and also realise that without those shared patterns we would not have
>any form of organisation. People do not just make systems. People are blindly
>self-organised into emergent systems, 'made' by other 'patterns'

Which I interpret to mean that the larger societal model shaped my beliefs
to be blind to dysfunction or to believe that I am powerless with respect
to all 'systems.'

Again your words.

>The shift of viewpoint I am trying to offer is, I think
>at least, subtler. It is that the 'system' actually creates us, and until
>we realise it we do not have the power. I am not 'blaming the system' I am
>seeking to understand from whence the power comes.

Your phrase 'realize (sorry US Spelling (he writes tongue in cheek)) it we
do not have the power...' saddens me. First, I believe that most systems
in our world are so complex that understanding of them is not within my
mental capacity. Secondly, to give up on correcting them is not my style.
I therefore, take, IMO, a more pragmatic approach. I call it my Alexander
strategy after C. Alexander's 'Notes on the Synthesis of Form'. I seek
the errors, the dysfunctional behaviors, and try to synthesize a form for
correcting them. It is like polishing the facets of a gem. One must
polish one facet at a time. The act does not remove a flaw in the stone.
But the flaw may be revealed and then will have to be dealt with. Perhaps
we do have to discover a memome or an attractor.

This is not the most satisfying way of dealing with complex system's
problems. But I am at a loss to see any other way to implement
improvements in these systems.

Permit me an aside. In the practice of business re-engineering
(engineering) business processes or value streams are indeed systems.
However, they are, IMO, rather simple systems embedded in larger systems.
Simple in the sense that we can analyze them, draw pictures of them and
effect radical changes in their performance.

-- Bill Hobler

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