Innovative Approaches for Improving Leadership of Complex Issues
The Center for Systemic Leadership
The Center was founded in 2011 with a foundation of courses offered in Critical and Systemic Thinking at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California, east of Sacramento. We are committed to providing state-of-the-art capacity building to meet today’s leadership challenges.
Rudolf Steiner College
Rudolf Steiner was a pioneering systemic thinker, and his work is the foundation of Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Agriculture, Anthroposophy, and artistic initiatives in painting, music, speech and drama. He lived from 1861-1925 in Europe and has more than 6,000 recorded lectures and 35 books. Many of his works are translated into English.
Principles We Operate On
We need to protect individuals so that each person can share what he knows or thinks, without fear of recrimination. Anonymity is often provided in our processes to support candor.
Benefits at Each Step
Systemic Methods rely on many steps, breathing with divergent and convergent methods as emergence and critical reflection and exploration enable the group to become increasingly effective. Participants need to find value in each step, as well as at the end of the processes—and with our methods, they do.
Trusting the Participants
No topic is too “hot” to touch; people working in organizations have unique perspectives, and we work to create free flow of ideas and trust participants to take on “thinking challenges” usually reserved for those who are charged with “strategic planning” or other higher order tasks. Participants routinely report that they are surprised at how smart their colleagues are, and how much they, themselves, had never understood.
Sharing Organizational Knowledge
Our processes, by their very nature, raise the level of knowledge of all participants about how “things work here.” Increased integration is possible with cross-silo networks and communication, and this pays dividends in unexpected areas.
Without adequate diversity, we fail to secure the multiplicity of perspectives and experience to fully inform the process.
We need processes that leave all participants free to share their experiential knowledge and unique perspectives and thoughts.
Every idea is respected and valued. We never can know which idea or set of ideas will ricochet or rebound with other observations to yield a pathway forward that has not yet been considered. All ideas are unique perspectives of the issue at hand, and all ideas are respected.
Capture Experiential Learning
All participants are continually learning, hour by hour, and day by day. As complex issues are constantly changing, the participants’ learning is adapting and can be brought into the service of the whole group. In addition, as thoughts are openly shared, new thoughts emerge and contribute up-to-the-minute adaptations and learning.
Systemic methods are quickly paced and highly engaging: at no time are people sitting around listening to experts. Participants are working all the time, and thus the total time taken is remarkably short.
We need processes where everyone gets to see all of the ideas and thoughts that are generated. As in any conversation, we learn and respond, share and listen, learn and respond. We cannot afford to block the flow of learning and insights if we are to optimize the organization’s resources.