Understanding the deeply embedded patterns within an organization, is essential for understanding and influencing the dynamics of an organization. Recognizing that powerful patterns serve as the organization’s contextual ecosystem is critical for evaluating when and how to engage in an adaptive approach to growth, profitability, change and innovation.
When business managers acknowledge that they are not really able to control everything that is happening in their spheres of influence, it is essential they become skillful and intuitive masters of adapting to a continuous state of change. It is not simply a matter of efficiently moving from one unanticipated scenario to the next. The real talent is to move from the current state to the desired state with greater agility and fewer surprises.
How best to talk to our clients about this new paradigm brought us back to the foundations of complex systems and the concept of an “organizational ecosystem” was born. An ecosystem seemed like an elegant way to describe the context; the “water that the fish swims in but can’t see;” the amorphous “soup” that colors every interaction of a complex system.
“A complex set of natural, interconnected elements on which a habitat’s survival depends directly or indirectly.” From dictionary.com
As we looked more deeply into this concept, we identified two interdependent components of an Organizational Ecosystem that seemed “true and useful” in creating awareness and conversation about any team or organization’s unique context. The two components are the Ecosystem Dimensions and Ecosystem Levers.