Change Across Time: Continuous Adaptive Action

At the HSD Community Commons meeting last week, Glenda talked about future changes to the HSD network around the world. We see the community evolving beyond the bounds of the Institute to reflect the generative actions of many people in many places working toward a shared vision. Pattern Logic, the HSD Vision, and the HSD Simple Rules will set the conditions for patterns that emerge across the field.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama

It's as though we are embarking on a huge Adaptive Action that will move us from this point into whatever emerges in the future. The truth is that this is simply the next iteration of Adaptive Action in the emergence of a new field of study. And it’s not just one huge Adaptive Action. It has been, and continues to be multiple cycles of Adaptive Action, both large and small. The cycles have been simultaneous and continuous, accomplished by individuals and by groups, in both public and private. They have been in shared words and in our actions. For the most part, they have moved us forward. But every so often, we ended up moving back a step before we went forward again.

Our image of Strategic Adaptive Action reflects, as well as any two-dimensional image can, the ongoing, interdependent nature of how a complex system truly moves forward. Each cycle of Adaptive Action can trigger additional cycles. 

Here’s an Example:

A CEO hired me to help her engage the staff in making a shift in the culture of her small nonprofit organization.

In the WHAT? step of Adaptive Action #1 (see the center of the picture), I heard and saw patterns that triggered smaller cycles that needed to be completed. For instance, in an interview, someone described a pattern of “generosity and grace” that was shown by a person.

In the midst of that original WHAT?,  I stepped aside and explored that new pattern (AA #2): WHAT? happened in that pattern of generosity and grace? SO WHAT? might that add to the data I had already collected? NOW WHAT? would I choose to do with that information?

I pulled the response from AA#2 into my original pool of data as I move into the SO WHAT? of my original Adaptive Action (AA #1). In that SO WHAT?, as I reviewed and made sense of my original data, I got blocked because I wanted to check with someone else for their reflections on my findings. So I did a brief Adaptive Action with the CEO (AA #3): WHAT? did she see in my collected data? SO WHAT? sense did she make of my report? And NOW WHAT? recommendations did she have for reporting to the staff?

So in my NOW WHAT? of the original Adaptive Action, I planned my presentation, which then moved into my next WHAT? (AA #4) as I presented my report and gathered the reactions and responses from the staff.  

This has been the pattern since before we opened the HSD Institute. Every move and every decision has been framed by Adaptive Action cycles inside Adaptive Action cycles. Those Adaptive Action Cycles have been framed inside the conditions that have been set by Pattern Logic, the HSD Vision, and the HSD Simple Rules. We look forward to the next steps in this continuous Adaptive Action process as people from around the world continue to use HSD, share it with others, and find the next iteration of relationships and expectations that will continue to support the theory and practice of HSD.

That is how human systems continue to change across time. It is the way the field of HSD will continue to grow and adapt as it seeks to find fitness in the coming decades of the 21st Century.

Be in touch if you are interested in being a part of any of these Adaptive Action Cycles, or to share your Adaptive Action Cycles with us.


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