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Resilient Thinking in Team-Building

Responsible leaders do not manage teams. More they manage teams and their ecosystem.

The culture of a team is its ecosystem. Team members affect the ecosystem and the ecosystem affects the team. A resilience thinking approach concerns itself with the integrity of people and their culture so that the team may stay resilient to the disturbances caused by the uncontrollable VUCA environment of businesses today.

Imagine that you are managing a farm. The market is tempting you to introduce a plant whose flowers sell for a good profit. You discover later that this plant produces a volatile scent that attracts pests to the farm. What would you do? Get rid of the plant? Use agrochemicals that kill the plants in spite of the pollution these chemicals cause to the irrigation water? Grow new plants that kill the pests?

Whatever you decide, you are going to change the ecosystem of the farm. You need to manage not only the farm, but also its ecosystem.

Managing teams is like managing a farm

Consider the team as your farm. Would you add a team member who intoxicates the team in spite of his talents? Think along the possibilities that would make your decision. Would your fire the employee? Would you isolate him from the team? Would you add team members who can contain him?

There is a great model for managing agriculture ecosystem that I find quite relevant to managing teams. This is a pioneering work by Stockholm Resilience Centre

The model has seven guiding principles. I include them in the image below.

Takeaways

Change is not localized and changing one system will change all connected systems as the human body is. Bio-teams are living bodies and they affect the ecosystem as the ecosystem affects them.

Team forming- variability is the survival of the fittest members. You do not want the same plants (same members with similar personalities). The “fire of change” does not burn fire-resistant plants and helps them feed on the nutritive ashes later. It is the same with team members as they have different capacities to meet the challenges of the “fire of change”

Farms go through the process of destruction (such as fire and floods) and reconstruction. It is the same with teams. When teams become rigid, they deconstruct and then reorganize to construct new structures. Reorganization and renewal are high, due to the release of rigid structures, established models of work, and redistribution of resources throughout the organization.

The linear model of teams consisting of subsequent four stages is no more valid. These stages are forming, storming, norming, and performing. Surveys show that almost 98% of teams never go beyond the storming stage because of failing to adopt resilient thinking in their forming to start with.

Ali Ananihttps://www.bebee.com/@ali-anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent article on the development, maintainability and sustainable , smooth processes of change models to create a thoughtful ecosystems of team management and team building, to bring about a change…
    Thank you Dr Ali for sharing the models on Cyclic Ecosystems and Comparative Farm Management & Team Management with high affinity with potential for growth …

    • Thank you dear Vishwas Asolkar for your concise summary of the post and for highlighting its key points.

      As for the Cyclic Ecosystems and Comparative Farm Management & Team Management the credit is due to Rod King, Ph.D. It is his pioneering work on fractal gridding.

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