Organizations are only as strong as their people.
What are Human Systems?
Merriam-Webster defines a system as “a group of related parts that move or work together; a group...that works together to perform an important function.” As human beings, we are impacted by both internal and external systems.
Internal systems are comprised of the elements that make us human - emotions, reactivities, thoughts, desires, etc. - which all work together to shape, and find expression for the type of people we are and the life we are choosing to live. External systems include social structures outside of our internal world like friendships, work and communities. In the workplace, our internal system operates in relationship to other external systems like teams, the organization as a whole and the internal systems of the people around us.
Despite our best efforts, our internal system doesn't wait patiently in the car or hang out on the commuter train while we head into the office and set about our work. Neither do the external systems of which we are a part cease to enter our minds when we lock the office door for the night and head home.
These systems are in constant operation, whether we are aware of their presence or not. The interplay further enriches and complicates the tasks at hand and are an all too often neglected component of an organization's strategy.
Do these internal and external systems impact workplace productivity, relationships and capacities? The answer is a resounding yes. The only variable is to what degree.
JON'S ORIGINAL LANGUAGE
Simply stated, human systems are the complex ways in which we interact with others in social structures. In the workplace, human systems are the webs of personal and professional relationships organizational rules and expectations and individual understandings of self and shared purpose. We all participate in human systems, whether we are aware of those dynamics or not. So isn't it better to be aware of those dynamics than unaware of the social world around us?
At (Re)Engage Consulting, we know that Healthy Human Systems unlock the capacity for sustained growth, change and innovation. It can happen in intentional ways, where leadership chooses to engage a team or organization in a process of growth and discovery. But more often, it happens at points of critical need or even crisis, where a particular problem or situation needs to be addressed. These points of re-engagement can serve multiple needs: solving the first order problem while laying the groundwork for continued growth and learning among your human resources.
We all have childhood memories of wanting to help out -- baking cookies with grandma, mowing the yard with dad, or helping a neighbor sweep the sidewalk. The urge to contribute -- to make an impact, to be seen and to do -- is an elemental human urge that is with us from the very beginning.
We are at our best when we have opportunities to contribute. And organizations thrive when their people are operating at their best. When our employees are developing personal skills and abilities, or becoming better team members, or benefitting from more humane systems or organizational cultures, they are making the organization more effective, more resource-rich, and more
and personal and professional relationships, organizational behavior expectations and varying individual understandings of self and shared purpose.
What are Healthy Human systems?
At (Re)Engage, a human system is "healthy" when it is characterized by compassion, effectiveness, self-efficacy and purpose. Sure, an organization can be effective in certain areas without addressing these systems, but any success it experiences is short lived. Counting the well being of your workforce as a happy accident rather than a critical organizational priority is a mistake. Doing so leaves a tremendous renewable, immediately accessible resource underutilized. Ignoring this reality places a drag on your organization's ability to fully achieve its mission and serve its constituents.
People constantly operate within a variety of systems - internal, group and organizational - with varying levels of effectiveness . The degree to which individuals actively engage in building the capacity of these systems is the degree to which an organization has a chance at creating sustained movement toward desired change.
Healthy Human Systems are possible in every organization. with a focus on people as the levers for change and sustainability.
Change is constant and resiliency is required. People and organizations get knocked off their course often, making quick recovery a must. Resiliency within individuals and teams enables each to seize strategic opportunities and diminish the impact of distractions. Individual and organizational capacity for resilience can be taught, developed and expanded with practice. The degree to which individuals actively engage in building resilience into these systems is the degree to which an organization has a chance at sustained movement toward change.
Whether using Maslow, XYZ or ABC's perspective on human nature, most agree that people are meant to do more than simply exist. Under certain conditions, people have tremendous capacity for creativity, productivity and personal satisfaction. Under different circumstances, fear reigns and creativity is stifled, productivity slips and employee satisfaction is dismal. Investing in people unlocks capacity that was previously inaccessible and immediately adds tangible resources to any organization. An organization's capacity for sustained change, growth and viability hinges upon the development of its people. Fear blocks learning....
Healthy Human Systems are possible in every organization.