The immune response within our biology is quite remarkable. When a foreign agent is sensed, a response is triggered.
If the system being attacked is strong and healthy and the attack is not extreme, our immune response has the ability to resist the attack.
This complex system involves at minimum the health and viability of the host under attack, including the state of the host, their emotional ecology, their beliefs – placebo’s statistically are not dismissible – the culture and ecology in which they exist – an ecology of toxicity of air, emotion, or external stress interferes with the immune response – and the support systems and structures that are or are not available – like care, love, attention, touch.
When we are designing a business ecology and architecture to support synergy, where the people participating in the creation of the business and its products and services are exponentially better for working together, we need to first design the immune response of our enterprise ecology.
1. This will ensure that people who cross the threshold of the enterprise, becoming active participants as a result, do not violate;
- The Pattern Integrity of the Source Idea.
- The Purpose of the enterprise.
- Each other, for example through blaming, gaslighting, shaming, ridicule, exploitation, extraction, colonisation.
- Ourselves or the Enterprise leader or the Steward leader through sabotage, collusion, deception, lack of self-care, lack of self-respect.
2. As well as ensuring that non-participants who have not crossed the threshold to work within the enterprise do not cause breakdown within the enterprise through trolling, bullying, financial means, power and status asymmetry, public ridicule, humiliation and blackmail?
How do we design the immune system to ensure a healthy enterprise?
Let us start our design with the threshold crossing enterprise architecture for the active participants within the enterprise, including the Steward Leader and Stewardship team.
In Syntropic World we call this the Trust Manifesto. You can download Syntropic World Trust Manifesto here. It is a template for you to experiment with.
The enterprise architecture must provide some form of agreement and boundary-crossing conditions to become active participants. Think of the interior of a business or enterprise like you would your home. It is a sacred space. A safe place. A place where we get to work with other people who care enough to dedicate their precious time and life energy to the purpose we hold. Keeping the interior ecology of the enterprise in great shape is essential if we want to create ecologies of synergy.
To do this is not a random crapshoot hoping for the best. There has to be a something that says people inside the enterprise behave towards each other like this, with even greater consideration when the stress on the interior ecology is extreme.
Those who desire to cross the threshold of your enterprise to become active participants are invited to read and sign the Trust Manifesto prior to crossing. By doing this in advance we grace the potential active participants’ sovereign choice.
The threshold crossing allows them to ask themselves: “Is this an enterprise that I would like to be a part of? Does this Trust Manifesto and its rules and agreements match my own values and the way I want to behave and be treated?”
By signing the Trust Manifesto, which may or may not be coded in law, depending on your enterprise, the person agreeing is making a statement, without coercion, of their responsibility towards the enterprise and each active participant.
As part of this process we ask if there is any part of the Trust Manifesto they do not understand, even slightly. If there is, we ensure time is given to support understanding. In part, colonisation is based on contracts that people did not understand creating knowledge asymmetries, costing indigenous people their land rights, culture and customs. Our commitment is to ensure the Trust Manifesto is held in collective understanding and towards achieving this the enterprise holds regular training sessions and dialogue around all of the elements of the Trust Manifesto.
For example, when the Syntropic principle of Clean Communication is part of your Trust Manifesto – for me it is a non-negotiable part of all relational agreements in my life – and everyone has agreed to practice Clean Communication with all of those within the enterprise, this is how the hypothetical scenario below would be handled.
Say Mary is upset and angered by something Peter did. She is carrying a charge. Because Mary has agreed to Clean Communication as a practice, she is now responsible, by her agreement, to clean up her own charge towards Peter. This may mean she has to do her own inner work to get back to neutral/zero charge, or it might mean she needs to step back into a conversation with Peter to find clarity and a charge free relationship.
If Mary does not do this and carries the ongoing charge without addressing it for several weeks or months, and then there is a blow-up, the first question we need to ask Mary is when was she aware of the charge towards Peter and what did she do about it at the moment she became aware?
If she did nothing, she has violated her own agreement to Clean Communication. The next question might be, “How can we support you to address issues as soon as you are first aware of the issue and the charge you felt? Do you need coaching support on how to have difficult conversations? Do you need coaching support on how to untangle your own inner confusion and conflict?
Until these elements are addressed, whatever the issue is between Mary and Peter is essentially irrelevant. We do not need to go down the rabbit hole of the story or the issue. Instead, we must support Mary to honour her commitment to Clean Communication and take personal responsibility to become charge free.
With a set of agreements around how we behave with each other, including how we respond to conflict, how we make decisions and who has power, and we live these agreements every single day, with no exceptions for anyone, including the founder, Chief Steward, and Stewardship team, then everyone actively participates in keeping the interior ecology of the enterprise clean.
If by chance someone agrees to the Trust Manifesto and crosses the threshold to become an active participant and then once inside brings a set of behaviours that harms the ecology or the people working in the ecology, then everyone must act on the agreement to Clean Communication. This means, by agreement, they must speak to their own charge about the circumstances. They also have access to support in how to have difficult conversations. The agreement of Clean Communication when working well becomes an example of an immune system. The people within the ecology of the enterprise are the collective immune response.
In an ideal world, a Steward Leader considers the inner harmony of the enterprise as a measure of the lived experience of the Trust Manifesto and its working effectiveness. If the Steward Leader is spending considerable time managing human relational issues and communication flow breakdowns, then it is likely that the Trust Manifesto needs editing and adjustment, and/or the people need more training and coaching support on its application.
The Trust Manifesto can be adjusted to suit different cultural and global ecologies. For example, if the industry the enterprise lives in is prone to people with dominator type tendencies, we might write into the Trust Manifesto an agreement that requires a 3/4 consensus on some decisions as well as a powerful feedback/assessment loop that surfaces these tendencies through a reflection process.
In designing your unique Trust Manifesto to become a healthy immune response for your enterprise, you need to consider the behaviours you seek to incentivise.
The immune response required to protect from elements outside the enterprise
When we are considering the immune response from the non-participants, we must start with integrity in all we do, say, design, implement, structure. Argue with the model, said Buckminster Fuller.
If our work is world-changing and very different to business-as-usual, we must anticipate attacks from the incumbent system. We can choose to go low and dirty, or stay high and clean. The moment we stoop to low and dirty we are no longer doing world-changing work.
The storytelling element of our work is key. Clean, precise, uncontaminated, honest, standing in our mistakes, celebrating our wins, sharing the learning, non-manipulative.
Trolls and bullies like to feel they are in power. Give them none. If possible let time and integrity speak.
Be the transmission. Never waiver from clarity, truth, humility. Surround yourself with an Integrity Council that ensures hubris and arrogance never takes hold.
Know that the tension – tensegrity – between our purpose and experience to bring the Source Idea to life – our coherent power – exists one small heartbeat away from righteous superiority. The purpose must always be greater than our own desire for fame, love, success, being seen, acknowledgement or healing from trauma.
There is a saying, “If you get into a tank with sharks, be a shark.” I choose not to get into a tank of sharks. If by chance you are seduced by a shark who then hunts to kill and win, instead of ‘becoming a shark’, go back to the purpose and Pattern Integrity of your enterprise. Have these elements be your guide, in communion with your team. All of your team ideally, as everyone invested in the enterprise is needed to survive a shark attack.
Know that if what you are doing is rattling the cages of the incumbent system the attacks will be fierce and cruel. Be prepared. Have your team around you, keeping your voice and being strong. Then keep going. The attacks can actually be a signal that you are on track.
Finally, trust Syntropy. It is a greater force than entropy. Not always on our chronological timeline. Often arriving after terrible violence. But stronger.
If you read this article again, you can apply much of this to any enterprise, be that a small community group, a large company, a family, or a nation state.
Life, syntropy, light, is the greater force. Choose to play in the light, for life.
Be Syntropic in everything.