Friday, November 12, 2010

Stepping In Wholes

In Ollhoff and Walcheski's popular primer on systems-thinking, Stepping in Wholes (Sparrow Media Group, 2002), they briefly discuss the skill of differentiation:

True teamwork doesn't require the loss of identity. 
Differentiation is walking the line between being autonomous and being in relationships.  It has to do with the perception of personal boundaries... the ability to articulate your own goals and still remain connected to those people who disagree with your goals. 
Well-differentiated people have good, healthy boundaries; can control their emotions; will make a conscious choice to have a life based on intentional principles and goals and not be ruled by emotional reactivity... this is true for whole systems, too... Organizations can have a pattern of emotional over-reaction, just like individuals... [they] tend to become mediocre... less concerned with excellence and carrying out the mission of the organization.

Ollhoff also connects the levels of anxiety within a group to the (in)ability to become differentiated either as individual workers or as a functioning group.

What are some processes that can be developed or encouraged within a private service staff to reduce anxiety and provide fertile ground for a healthy development of differentiation?  How can we create domestic service success by remaining valued individuals - while still engaging fully within the whole team?