Saturday, 7 August 2010

Who are the 'ultra shrinking violets' in your organisation?

There is a great discussion on the IDeA website (do subscribe if you have not already done so: about what are the characteristics of a 'systems thinker'. Robert Park of Edinburgh City Council introduced the idea of the 'shrinking violets' who often get marginalised, an idea which was picked up by various people deeper into the discussion. My last contribution to the thread included:
I prefer to think not in terms of training people to be systems thinkers but instead of helping people to reconnect and widen their systems thinking capabilities. The question for me is how come we have created organisations / society / politics where systems thinking is beaten out of people. I suspect that has far more to do with greed and power. On this basis, I think the systems thinkers that we see (as opposed to the people who have the unseen inner potential &/or quietly working in the background in a systems thinking "ultra shrinking violet" way (?)) tend to be people who are centred, grounded and inwardly powerful - to the degree that they have no need or desire to have power over others... The ultra shrinking violets are probably very centred too!
So my questions to you: are you an ultra shrinking violet working undercover, as it were, quietly trying to subvert the organisation you are in towards one that takes greater account of whole systems? Or indeed are you a leader who supports these people or do you overlook them? Or worse do you banish them?

Who are the ultra shrinking violets in your organisation?

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