Please feel free to copy this piece, circulate it, translate it, perform it, put music to it, and even dance to it in public places. Do whatever you can to create a dance we can live with. Barry Oshry Living Badly With Illusions: Killing Made Easy When the driver looked at those people jockeying for position around his truck, hoping to find work, what did he see before detonating the bomb that killed 56 of them and maimed others? When the Hutu and Tutsi massacred one another, when the Muslim Bosniaks were slaughtered by the Bosnian Serbs in Srebenica; when the Jews were shot over open ditches and herded into gas chambers; when the trucker plowed his truck into pedestrians on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice? Charlie Hebdo?

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Start your review of Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life Write a review Shelves: personal-development , systems-thinking , politics , management This book provides a lucid, systemic and compassionate perspective on the pitfalls and potentialities of organizational life. As a systems thinker, Barry Oshry sees organizations as patterns of relationships rather than as collection of individuals.

But, and this is an important twist, these are relationships between contexts as much as between individuals. Oshry proposes a simple typology of organisational contexts: Top, Middle, Bottom and Customers. These contexts sound like they belong to old This book provides a lucid, systemic and compassionate perspective on the pitfalls and potentialities of organizational life. These contexts sound like they belong to old fashioned hierarchical structures, but the truth is they can be found anywhere, also in very loosely organized collectives.

Further, as an individual member of an organization, I never exclusively belong to one context or the other but I ceaselessly move in and out of them. As a rule, unhelpful systemic patterns of interaction develop between these contexts. All of this happens without awareness or choice- dances of blind reflex. Indeed, throughout the book the author switches between drama, poetry, storytelling and conceptual analysis.

I experienced it as a rather engaging way of making a point, but only because Oshry has a very good point to make and his analysis is, despite the stylistic twists and turns, very cogent. In each of these relationships, there is the potential for a partnership in which both parties are committed to the success of their shared process, provided participants are able to short-circuit the associated Dances of Blind Reflex.

These Dances are group dynamical patterns that undermine the sense of partnership that is needed for groups to excel. But there is no sense of partnership and there may be a point at which the relationship succumbs to revolt or breakdown. So now we are able to name and identify these patterns. And then what? Oshry formulates recommendations to maintain an appropriate balance of forces in organizations. From these encounters complex strategies will emerge that include multiple possibilities along with their strengths and limitations.

Just as system members become all that they can be, so does the Robust System becomes all that it can be. The Robust System zestfully pursues homogenization - processes by which members keep in touch with their commonality.

There is a high degree of mutual understanding throughout the system. The Robust System grows and changes; it values learning; it takes in information from its environment; it changes form and function in response to changing environmental conditions.

Ultimately there is no technical fix that allows us to step out of the Dances of Blind Reflex but only common sense and our humanity. We can become more skillful in monitoring our feelings to offer us a clue that a dance is on. And we can, upfront, take a stand for partnership in the awareness that these gravitational fields of Blind Reflex, Turf Warfare, Alienation and GroupThink at all times are likely to exert their pull on us.

Dealing with uncertainty is unescapable. This is a territory that is rich with possibilities for spiritual growth. No list. With these challenges, we end where we began: uncertainty. There are no clear-cut road maps for how we carry out any of these. They will draw on us to grow, to develop new resources, to create new partnerships, and to resist the unyielding lure of the Dance of Blind Reflex. If we are committed to the stands - and that is the key - we will find our hows.


Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life



Seeing Systems


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