The Three Primary Determinants to Interpersonal Interaction
In the last post, we looked at the three “Determinants” that make up the filter we use to understand our life, that is what makes us do what we do.
We also detailed their relationship to each other.
In this post, we will look at the most powerful determinant, the “System” in which you find yourself.
For review, here is the diagram of the Individual Behavior Model we are using in these posts.
The Three Determinant Model: Said Succinctly
This Three Determinant Model takes into account the pattern and principle stated in Corollary Twenty Two: “I am always like this…, except when I am not.
1. “I am always like this…”
This is my Self, my nature, my default position, how I like things to be.
2. “Except when I’m not…”
This is my Situation, what I “should” do or say in response to what is currently happening in my life, work, social, family situations.
3. “And when I can’t be”.
This is my System, the societal, economic and macro business forces in life that we often do not see that forbid, constrain, constrict, measure and reward us to do what life requires.
Let’s discuss Determinant Number One, The Me that is my “System” and how it affects us.
The “Me” that is my “System”
Systems Tend to Cause their own Behavior
A system is the way a company or any enterprise measures and rewards its’ people to get what said organization wants and needs.
That primary objective for any or most companies is of course, profit.
Organizational design (the system) is the primary driving force for how everyone in a given company tends to act and react all the time.
Life (systemically) constrains, constricts, measures & rewards you to do what it requires.
A system is the largest and most powerful determinant in your company.
It motivates, embodies and permeates everything in our lives.
It is the organizational, societal and economic forces (we do not see) that shape and forge our lives.
The System Makes Everybody Do What They Do
For instance no matter our hurry everyone stops at the red light.
Why are systems able to make everybody do what they do?
ü Because they are designed that way.
ü Because that is what they are meant to do.
ü Because the system is how we survive.
Try not complying with your boss or being defiant and see how long you keep your job.
In Other Words, Systems are Reptilian
And the reptilian brain never loses.
They are often competitive, vicious, remorseless and powerful.
The system is the most powerful, but least apparent (visceral) determinant of the three.
Learn to leverage the system by complying (Football), \cooperating (Basketball) or competing (Baseball) and you will be way ahead of the curve (most other folks).
Three Organizational Systems Make People Do What They Do? (A Review)
Earlier, I pointed out that there are three systems that companies use which determine people’s interactional style and behaviours, that is too say, the way they function, feel and relate to each other as they do.
We have established that systems are the prime determinant for how people act in your (any) company.
We have also determined that there are three systems companies use to effectively run their operations.
These three systems are reflected in the three major team sports in North America, Baseball, Football and Basketball, which for our purposes is interchangeable with Hockey.
These three team sports are reveal and determine in concrete terms, the three business systems consistently but unwittingly used by modern organizations to effectively run their operations.
Regarding the reptilian nature of systems in modern day organizations, the fact is that if you flaunt or defy the system here is what will befall you if your company is like:
1. Football, the organization, requires compliance or you will be sanitized.
2. Basketball, the team, requires cooperation or you will be ostracized.
3. Baseball requires initiative (competition amongst its members) or you will be pulverized.
Not to be redundant but because of their importance, we need to explore systems a little further.
People and Organizations Therefore Get Into Difficulties When for Example
1. One person is expecting everyone will be working independently (like them, that is the way they are measured and rewarded) as on a Baseball team (sales).
2. While others are expecting everyone to function cooperatively and interdependently (like them, that is the way they are measured and rewarded) like members of a Basketball team (administration).
3. Still others get agitated when people are not reliable and dependable, doing what they are told to do (like them, that is the way they are measured and rewarded) as on a Football team (factory assembly line work).
The System is also Inside (Becomes a part) of you, eventually
A system” is our role in the larger schemata, our organization, marriage, society.
It is how our behaviours and attitudes are forbidden, constrained, measured and rewarded by the organization in which we find ourselves.
The System is also inside of you.
It is the environmental forces that have over time woven their way into you, helped make you what you are.
It also is outside of you.
We live in the system every day, all day long.
We feel it but we do not see it or its effects upon us.
Suppose You Could Ask a Fish If he Knew What Water Is
Until the fish has been plucked from the ocean and is flopping around on a sun baked beach, and screeches, “Oh, so that is what water looks like.” it likely has no idea as to water’s existence.
So we live in systems subjectively and emotionally and they are barely recognizable.
The accountant arguing with the salesman knows that he is right. And he is because his role in the system mandates caution and frugality.
The salesman arguing with the accountant knows that he is right.
And he because his role in the system mandates sales, flexibility and spontaneity.
By the way, please do note that if the roles for these two combatants were reversed, they would still be disagreeing but they would be making the exact opposite argument that they are currently making.
Systems, your role in them, tend to indeed cause their own behavior.
By System you must mean the Organizational Chart? Nope
A system is a confluence of forces, roles and relationships designed to achieve a certain goal.
These forces are so interconnected that a change in one part produces a change in the whole structure.
A system is not the reporting structure a shown on an organizational chart but the host of forces, relationships and a host of other factors that control or influence behavior over time.
The organizational chart is merely a static representation of roles and authority.
It does not portray the undercurrent of forces that ultimately determine your service performance and interactional behaviour.
Systems are the primary determinants of behavior because they (knowingly or unknowingly) promote, reward and/or measure people’s performance and interaction.
A system is the overarching effect of, and interplay between organizational design, your culture, task interdependence, unspoken company rules, the manner in and basis upon which people are rewarded, values traditions, structure, and the CEO’s attitude toward people.
Systems are the Macro Forces that More Than Anything Make People do What They Do
For example, a book is not a system, because ripping out one page in no way affects what’s printed on the other pages.
But a computer program is a system because if you change one element of it, you run the risk of changing the way the program itself works.
In other words, like all three legs of a stool, if one of them is weak and breaks down, the entire structure (table) collapses.
Systemic simply means we address everything in the structure because the one part we miss will likely breakdown and bring the entire project down.
Systems and Culture are two Sides of the one Organizational Coin
The system is the mechanistic side of the organizational coin.
The culture is the spiritual side of the organizational coin.
Why Systems Cause Conflict
To reiterate, a system is the way a company rewards and measures the behaviors it needs to get the results it wants; primarily profit.
The cause of people’s behavior primarily lies in the structure of the organization itself.
In other words, systems tend to cause their own behaviour.
As it relates to human cooperation or conflict, organizational design is everything or at least the prime issue.
The Very Best Thing to say and Question to Ask
That is why the very best and most powerful thing you can ask of and to a combatant is the very, very very adult and systemic question;
“What do you see about this situation (based on your systemic role and vantage point) that I might not be seeing?
To be followed by;
“How do we work this out so we both get what we want?”
Key Concept: Managers Leveraging the System
The key component in any system is the managers or CEO’s role in it.
Because systems are living, breathing interwoven and conjoining forces, a change in one part produces a change in the whole structure.
To manage or change a system, if the leader alters or changes his/her thinking about the company culture and system and his/her behaviour in it, the system will naturally and automatically change.
In other words, if there is something you cannot change, change the thing that you can and it will change the thing you could not change.
The one thing a leader (or anyone for that matter) can always change is mindset and language.
Change your mindset and especially your language and watch what happens.
By the way, change is not variety, a new task or rearranging chairs on the Titanic.
No, for change to be change, it must be systemic.
In the next post we will discuss Determinant Number Two, The me that is my “Situation”
For more on this topic, we recommend the following
Get Unstuck, Stay Unstuck