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Sunday, December 5, 2010

HSD 2

Last week I was talking about the Human Systems Dynamics course I had attended.

I'm actually still “attending” in that we are in between the class room sessions – the next week comes up soon – and I am supposed to be working on my assignment. The assignment is to, uh, er... What is the assignment? I'll have to look it up!

Anyway, I am sure that it involves continuing to practice the tools we started to learn and exercise.

For example:

Last time I was talking about some of the things that we learned and the intersection of that research with what we had experienced in our Teamwork BootCamps.

That is exciting because we always experience success with every group becoming a fully functional high performing team within a week, but we can't describe why to someone who hasn't experienced it.

(How does one describe falling in love to someone who hasn't?)

The Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) learning, and the research and experience that it is based on, helps us understand what we see occurring time and again, and provides insights as to what is going on in language that is useful. The terminology provides descriptors that make the dynamics of a group transforming into a true self organizing team more clear, and more explainable.

And that was an example of a delightfully simple tool: “What?, So what?, Now what?”

What?:

  • “... things that we learned and the intersection of that research with what we had experienced in our Teamwork BootCamps.”

So what?:

  • “... That is exciting... but we couldn't describe why.”

Now what?:

  • “Human Systems Dynamics terminology provides descriptors that make the dynamics of a group transforming into a true self organizing team more clear, and more explainable.”

In this example, nothing has actually changed – the team performance statistics stand on their own – but now we have better language – a model – that helps us to talk about it.

Additionally, we are learning about the three necessary and sufficient variables to change a human system: the Container, the Differences, the Exchanges - another model to not only better understand, but to also choose effective courses of action.

In BootCamp, some of the Containers are:

  • the group of people itself (the team to be),
  • the week of immersion using the tools,
  • the simulation of a work environment,
  • the physical space the group is using, etc.

The Differences from other teamwork sessions include:

  • the simulation which immerses one in the tools,
  • the freedom from risk,
  • the requirement to be responsible and accountable,
  • the activities of building a team product,
  • the deadline to ship or deliver that product by the end of the week

The Exchanges are:

  • the sharing of one's emotional state at any time,
  • the use of the rest of the Protocols to make decisions, resolve conflict, align oneself to improving a virtue, build shared vision, or choosing to pass on any of these and any activity one doesn't wish to participate in,
  • the interaction with the simulation's consultants and the managers.

How do these observations help?

Human Systems Dynamics teaches us that these three categories are all we need to concern ourself with in our analysis. Further, when we wish to determine the “Now What?” we only have to alter the formulation of one of these at a time: change the Container, change the Differences, change the Exchanges. Clearly that still covers a lot of ground. And it provides manageable clarity from which to act.

Working from our list we can see that BootCamp is successful because it provides that simulation Container, and the Difference of individual safety, and the Exchanges of the Core Protocols. And so on, with all the possible combinations. (Which emphasizes how much in human relationships BootCamp covers.)

And most usefully, it provides clarity on how BootCamp is a completely different type of team work experience, and why it is consistently successful.

“And then a miracle occurs....”


1 comment:

Luke said...

Excellent.

So to take one example: what if there was no interaction with consultants and managers (from the Exchanges) - how much less successful would a BootCamp be?

Possibly related question: how do you know which Differences/Exchanges are most useful/relevant?