Open Systems Dimensions & Levels of Interventions& Levels

October 2022 Event Review: An Open Organisation Approach to Change

Belinda Bywaters~ A Review by Belinda Bywaters, ODA Member

What a wonderful start to the day, spending the morning with Barbara Mink – Dean, Fielding Graduate University, and Steve Camkin – Three Peaks Consulting. 

As we came together, with what it seemed were some blasts from the past for many in the virtual space – it reminded me how ODA Events create a fabulous opportunity to connect, or as it were for some, to re-connect, to stimulate our thinking as a group and continue to learn both from and with each other. 

Barbara and Steve got us working together early in the session in small groups tasked with describing a successful effort where our help was accepted and then one where we were unsuccessful. 

This brought about interesting conversations as we shared back with the broader group, in particular, what stuck with me was the importance of developing trust with those you may be trying to help.  It also reminded me of the role of helper and how this might be thought about in the context of either internal or external change agents.  I’m sure we had a mix of both in the room. 

Barbara shared the Open Organisation model, helpful to diagnose where to begin, and potentially what type of intervention might be considered in working towards: 

  • Healthy Functioning People 
  • Functional Teams 
  • Adaptive Organisations 

The model shows the relationship and relatedness between and across the three key dimensions of: 

  • Unity  
  • Internal Responsiveness 
  • External Responsiveness  

Each of these was described in some detail at the individual, group, and organisational levels. 

Once again, we worked in small groups to reflect on which level we tend to focus on as helper/change agents.  The Individual, the Team, or the Organisation.   

At this stage, I was reminded of the Kaleidoscope analogy that Barbara mentioned at the beginning of the session – how with a twist of the lens a different picture may emerge. This resonated with me and it seemed the thoughts of the group. If we think about the system as a whole, we must keep in mind all three, even though the work may begin with just one.    

As the session drew to a close Steve shared with us 6 key elements across various models of change – we all know there are many out there… 

  • Purpose • Leadership • Communications • Process • Culture and People

We ended with a self-reflection – where we might find our own improvement edge as change agents.  This was a practical place to end the session for me.  I left with a sense of connection to other practitioners, a sense of learning and helpful reflection, and lastly yes, a few blasts from the past too!  Thank you to all in ODA and in particular the Leadership Group that helps bring us all together which such an interesting topic and fabulous guests to share ideas and experiences.  

Note: Members can log in and watch the video of the session here.