Monday, May 31, 2010

Systems Ju-jitsu Part 2: The Use of Tactics

We often claim that systems theory is not about learning techniques, rather, it is working on self and about understanding and respecting emotional process. But leaders are also, but virtue of their function, called to bring about change in the systems they lead. The nature of this change, however, takes on a different stance than “management.”

The type of change the systems leader strives for is developmental and evolutionary. The key for both is to respect the nature of the system. (A church is not a club or business or family. A family is not a society or church. A seminary is not a community). In developmental change there is change toward maturity (this includes an increased functioning in responsibility and congruence of self).

In evolutionary change there is movement toward realizing the vision and mission of the system. A family procreates while a community is generative, for example.
In the process of bringing about authentic change in systems the leader will need, on occasion, to use tactics and strategies. He or she will need to solve problems, get the system unstuck, remove impasses, overcome obstacles, etc. These are address by the other side of being, which is, doing.

Techniques and tactics are necessary in any endeavor. But for them to be effective they must be grounded in an informing theoretical approach. In the field of teaching, for example, isolated techniques for classroom management tend to have limited effectiveness by themselves. The most effective approaches to classroom management are informed by a particular theory out of which arise the informed application of a selected set of techniques.

Next entry, “Systems Ju-jitsu 3: Characteristics of the Tactics”

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