As explained in one particular interpretation of Open System Theory applied to organizational operation, there are three interrelated processes that are simultaneously running within every organization that directly determine the outcomes that they produce. Firstly, the Production Core Process, which has to do with all the activities that are directly related to producing the results. Secondly, the Individual Core Process, which involves that’s most important to the individuals relative to their own personal and professional objectives. And finally, the Social Core Process that involves the integration of the other two core processes in a way that creates the appropriate synergy as individuals work together to meet their individual and organizational objectives. None of these processes operates in isolation from one another, meaning that a failure in one will necessarily translate eventually to failure in the other two, and vice versa. High performance organizations devote the appropriate amount of time and attention to all three of these processes to ensure they work in concert to create common objectives between individuals, teams and the organization as a whole, while underperforming organizations overemphasize one process to the detriment of the others.
I used to moonlight as a professional facilitator. A few months before I was trained and certified, I never knew such a job even existed, but I stumbled upon the opportunity to do it professionally and I found it incredibly rewarding. It was right in line with my natural tendency to generate alignment and consensus in my leadership roles and guiding others through the same process was new and fun. I mostly facilitated strategic planning sessions but also had several engagements that involved organizational assessment and design and team building. I worked with people in industries I didn’t know anything about, ranging from party equipment rental to non-profit organizations and everything in between, and in doing so I learned that the basic principles that guide the process are nigh universal. I also found it to be very exciting work because the team dynamics and the behaviors and even the occasional dysfunctions were always unique to each team. Perhaps the most interesting story I have in that regard is that I once had to pause a strategic planning session for a family business, because I had to conduct an impromptu private marriage counseling session for a couple who held key positions with the company before we could get back on track.