It Is Your Choice!


I have always been a bit skeptical about paths that promise personal transformation.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I followed the promise one too many times—or one too few—and was disappointed.  Maybe it is because my family pattern grew out of Protestant Puritanism, where my individual, subjective state wasn’t considered all that interesting.  Maybe my years studying Western classics turned me towards  rationality and away from other ways to be reasonable. Whatever the reason, or reasons, I was always careful not to make the “personal transformation” claim for human systems dynamics.  At some point, though, this rational mind of mine has to let the evidence (those darn patterns!) speak for itself.   

Human systems dynamics (HSD) helps people see patterns in chaos, understand them in useful ways, and take action to improve a pattern’s fit for function. Or, in other words, improve a pattern’s ability to relieve the tension formed when what exists is not meeting the situation’s current need. In our training programs we apply these skills—seeing, understanding, and taking action—to teams, organizations, communities, and families. Our Associates use HSD models and methods to help children learn, nurses thrive, policy makers decide, and communities create. They also, in learning to use HSD, often find personal transformation.

A learner once asked me, “Do you mean for this learning to turn my life upside down?” I was a little shocked and spoke without thinking, “Only if it needed to be turned upside down.”

HSD helps people find and leverage tension that is locked into current patterns in their human systems at all scales. Because we help people see patterns from new perspectives, they often see old personal challenges through new eyes. If your patterns of personal health or happiness aren’t working, or as we say “not fit for function”, HSD helps you see, understand, and influence your personal choices. In our paradigm, you can find ways to explain and explore less useful patterns without judging or blaming. Like other HSD practitioners, you might find fresh ah-has and hope in new-found options for action. You might use Adaptive Action to harvest the energy from the tension in your patterns, releasing it into  the systems you touch.

So the inquiry of HSD creates occasions for personal transformation, but we do not coerce or expect it. You are invited to focus on and transform any pattern that is—or that you believe to be—unfit for function. Because you have the power to act, you are the only one with the right to decide what is or is not fit for function. When you decide that, then you are ready to focus your HSD lens.  If you focus on team transformation, your team can transform. If you focus on your organization, your culture can transform.  If you focus on community engagement, your community can become engaged. And, if you focus on your own health and wellbeing, you can be personally transformed. 


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