Landscape Diagram

The Landscape Diagram demonstrates the impact of constraints on a system. It gives you a map or picture of how those constraints influence patterns of stability, activity, and decision making across the whole system.


The Landscape Diagram helps you see, understand, and influence the conditions that create stability for individuals, groups, and communities.

So What?

Under certain conditions, a complex system can be stable and predictable. Change the conditions, and it becomes unpredictable and unstable. A happy marriage can be stable for years, then a life crisis shifts it into patterns of instability. A team or organization can be reliable and high performing, and a change in membership, goal, or requirements make it unpredictable and unstable.

High stability can be a problem, too. When tradition stifles innovation, when habits interfere with health and wellbeing, when standard operating procedures interfere with good decisions in the moment, then you know your system is too constrained to do its work.

Now What?

Use the Landscape Diagram to inform your Adaptive Action as you ask:

  • Where are you and your system now?
  • What position on the Landscape would be more productive?
  • Now what can you do to change agreement and certainty to go where you need to go?

Related Resources

HSD Associate, Louie Gardiner, explains how she uses the Landscape Diagram to build collaborative relationships in a diverse group.
Last week, a long-time friend and client shared her frustration with me. “My team is running round in circles.  We think we make progress, then something happens, and we have to start again. Too many things are all changing at the same time. We are working harder than ever, but it seems like we aren’t making any progress. I don’t know how long we can keep it up.”
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