Natural Living Processes Lexicon

Obtaining Results with Others


Written 2002. Updated 21 July 2014.


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The wisdom on the Laceweb website has been drawn from the grassroots people of the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region. This Lexicon embraces Natural Business Concepts and Artistry – ‘natural’ in that they have been drawn from Natural Living Processes and systems.

The eco-history of this Lexicon can be traced to gatherings in Sydney of business innovators in the late 1960's and early 1970's exploring businesses as living systems. These gatherings were enabled by Dr. Neville Yeomans - a barrister, psychiatrist, sociologist, psychologist, and biologist. The Lexicon has emerged from PhD and Post-Doctoral research into these gatherings, network discourse, and Yeomans' wider life work.

The Lexicon also draws upon and adapts to the business environment recent understandings in the natural sciences - quantum physics, ecosystems, chaos, natural networks, complexity theory, fuzzy logic and the like. It is a guide to possibilities. It holds forth possibilities for extending thinking and action about businesses and organisations celebrations festivals gatherings as complex systems. This Lexicon also applies to government and non government organizations at all levels. It also applies to community based organizations and networks.

In glossing this glossary it is possible to get a feel for the very frontiers of living systems thinking and action. At the same time it links to very old understanding of those living very close to nature. It makes use of bio-mimicry to replicate aspects and processes that make nature thrive so that we can explore together how human nature can also thrive.

It may be noticed that many of these concepts imply a whole new way of thinking about engaging and relating with people and their capacities, and their linking to organizational and other systems as living systems - beyond assigning people just to, for example, departments, teams, groups, or assigning them to others as personal assistants or mentors, or just to be the executive or management – beyond one category of people who ‘assign people’ - even beyond the notion of ‘category’. What if we begin to notice the pervasiveness of ‘categorisation’ as a potentially divisive force, such that we focus on the bits and miss all of the interconnecting? What if we recognise difference and celebrate and respect difference for cleavered unity?


This Lexicon is dynamic and being continually reviewed and expanded by Laceweb mutual-help groups including E-Matrix and Connexion.


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Terms listed in this Lexicon:


Adaptive Challenge


Authentic Empowering


Bifurcation Point

Business Ecology

Business Ecosystems

Business Ergotropic and Trophotropic Systems

Business Surviving and Thriving

Butterfly Effect

Causation of Business Sickness


Cleavered Unity




Conceiving the Inconceivable


Connexity Perception






Cultural Healing

Cybernetics - First and Second Order

Danger Alert


Dichter and Denken

Dissipative Structures


Ebb and Flow




Emergence and Sustaining Innovation

Emergence of Resonant Strange Attractors in Business

Emergent Community

Emergent properties


Enabling Environments



Four Aspects of an Organisation



Frame - Metaframing

Free Energy

Functional Matrix

Future Pacing


Fuzzy Logic

Geosocial Mindbody Processes - Keyline and Cultural Keyline




Hypothetical Realplay

Illness-Wellness continuum

Incapability Capability


INMA - Inter-system Normative Model Area

Innovation and Growth

Internal Experience



Kennen and Wissen







Natural System Design

Natural Systems - Organisational and Operational Principles of Healthy Business-People Systems


Network Care

Non-Linear Process

Non-linearity and Linearity


Normative Action Research

Objectivity and Subjectivity

On Being Tentative

Organizational Metaphors


Phase Portrait



Process and Outcome approaches


Quick Response Networks






Relational Mediating


Second Order Cybernetics

Self-embedded Phenomena


Self Organizing Systems

Sickness and Disease Model

Social Re-constituting of Business Realities

Social Relating

Speech Acts


Structural Coupling and Eco-history


Structure and Pattern

Structuring Excellence

Tapping into Alternative Sources of Power








Adaptive Challenge

Organizations tend to have 'usual' challenges (performance challenge). Changing circumstances and contexts can create 'unusual' challenges - different sequences. These may range from those well within the competency domain of the organization to those that are well beyond the competency range. Living systems disturbed by unusual challenge adapt or die. Adaptation may be by incremental change or discontinuous change. Refer Bifurcation.

Organizations that seek to thrive continually scan for and create Adaptive Challenge. Responses to Adaptive Challenge are defined and refined in conversation.



‘Asset’ is from the Old French asse -  ‘sufficiency’, satisfaction, compensation’, noun use of adverb meaning ‘enough, sufficiently; very much, a great deal,’ from the Vulgar Latin ‘ad satis’ ‘to/toward sufficiency’ from Latin ad (to toward)  + satis (‘enough). Notice that the original flavour and feel of the term ‘asset’ is sufficiency and enough. Earth and all living and non living things are ‘assets’ in the original sense of being precious, desirable, useful aspects with extraordinary valuable qualities


Authentic Empowering

Traditional modes of power and empowering tend to be based on a zero-sum equation - if you have more, I have less. Power becomes constituted as a scarce resource that people compete to attain. Traditional hierarchical organization structures have constituted the zero-sum power equation because of a preoccupation with control through delegated decision-making power.

Power unconnected with hierarchical structures' zero-sum power has always being a bane of the powers that be. Examples are the power of knowledge and wisdom possessed by a person without decision-making power. Another is the person of influence by dint of social charisma, length in the organization, or because of possessing important and or sensitive information or connections – for example, the influential and militant savvy shop steward. A traditional solution to the other-powered troublemaker is to promote him into the formal power structure where he/she can be neutralised by system leverage - 'Now you are one of us!'

Within traditional zero-sum power structured systems, like a modern day Shakespearean drama, we may find ourselves drawn into a tangled web of artificial boundaries, territories, enclaves and fickle alliances. In this context, power becomes the ability to exert one's will over others. The upward mobile thrive on this non-thrive process (refer Business Surviving and Thriving). Others typically become ambivalent or indifferent. Some can transcend and see the processes and the processes for processing processes (meta-process), and like the anthropologist in a strange land, they may notice most things while never becoming one of the natives – taking the anthropological perspective, they can view from a detached perspective – setting aside for a time their socialization and all of their ‘received notions’, and begin to perceive and make sense of their senses in new ways - transcendent anthropological relating.

While zero-sum power is attractive, it's also a tremendous distraction, tending to derail everyone involved in it by limiting their opportunity for expression to the principle dimension of extending and securing territorial domination. Other capabilities potentials and capacities are neglected and ignored. Top people never miss not noticing enormous organisational potential that they stifle without noticing!

There was a model of the natural world, about the time of the Industrial Revolution, which saw 'nature, red in tooth and claw' and described life in terms of a battle for survival. Business is described as a 'jungle' and it entails the 'survival of the fittest'. Current understanding in biology shows that while competition is indeed part of the natural world, it is not a strategy which living systems adopt for sustainable living and development. Rather, living systems will engage in competition and conflict in times of crisis and emergency, moving through it to new levels of synergistic, symbiotic and co-operative (living together) relationships in the ecosystem. While evolutionists speak of the 'survival of the fittest', natural systems tend to operate, in fact, on the principle of the 'survival of the fitting'. Organizations could usefully learn from this!

Competition and conflict are legitimate survival strategies, good in the short-term crisis time frame, but becoming detrimental in the long term. In seeking to thrive in their environment, living systems develop strategies of increasing inter-relationship and living together in sustainable ways. Living systems seek to do more than survive, they seek to thrive: this is the drive to thrive and our drive to thrive in our bodyminds is wired up to complex neuro-immuno-endocrinological cross process linked by neuro-peptide pathways releasing bliss molecules like endorphins (natural opiates) into the bloodstream as the system experiences a deeper level of resonance with its network/ ecosystem. Refer Business Surviving and Thriving. The shared experience of verve in vibrant organizations is the experiential correlate of the endorphins (refer Stimmung).

In contrast, when the system is fighting to survive, the ergotropic system (which see) kicks in and the system loses resonance and coherency with its network/ ecosystem and goes it alone. The price the system pays for spending too long in this unsustainable state is to lose sensitivity to internal and external cues for growth (see Trophotropic) system. This is the battle fatigue (shell shock) which combatants experience; the thousand-yard stare of the combatant who is dislocated in time and space and cannot make it back to life, spontaneity and joy. In today’s rugged business environments many human systems within government and business are in shock. Human systems can learn to adapt and thrive at the margins in far from equilibrium conditions.

Living systems are naturally powerful. This is the genuine and authentic allure and seductiveness of nature and natural systems. Living things thrive and grow in ecosystems, which nurture, support and enable them. They use freely available energy in order to carry out the living autopoietic function and in order to generate the conditions for more life.

In reality, a living system is not a separate entity; rather a node in a distributed network or web of life and its thrival is a function of how it enables the thrival of its network (refer holon).

For hundreds of years, organizations have typically had structures and processes, which have squashed authentic power. Authentic power (re)constitutes power as a freely available property of a living system's internal and external networks; hence the notion ‘Free Energy’. In this context, personal power becomes a function of enabling others to develop and exercise their power in a positive feedback and self-amplifying cycle. Organizations that seek to tap into their living system’s authentic power may find that it is there, and has always been there in abundance. To restate what was said above – the living system’s thrival is a function of how it enables the thrival of its networks. Refer Enabling.

Organizations seeking to explore indentifying and evolving more authentic power within their systems may well seek out people within their systems (if any) who have moved to transcendent anthropological relating within the system (as discussed above). These people tend to be the natural enablers. As they go quietly about their good work, they may not stand out at first. Their good work is often subtle (refer micro-interventions and nano-interventions).

An example - let us say that our project is to bake a cake. We have assembled the best team in the kitchen. We have spared no expense on the ingredients. We use the best recipe, assembling the mixture most carefully. In other words, we have attended to the personnel, the resources and the procedures. Now comes the time to put the mixture into a preheated oven. But the oven stays lukewarm. Why? Because the ‘power’ that heats the process comes from the way that all the components (people, resources and best practises) work together. It may well be that this Connexity is dysfunctional. It may be that divisive power and demarcation issues abound. It may well be that interpersonal issues create tangled mess. In this murky manipulative mess, non-understanding may have emerged as an indispensable technique! And so, the heat in the system is faulty and the cake turns out an indigestible mess.

Authentic power resides in and emerges from the functional matrix. All the different components form the structure of the matrix. The power of the matrix comes from the 'connexity - the pathways, relationships and processes that bind and interconnect all the different parts into a living pattern of organization. Without this power, even the best mixture will still turn out as slop.

The wisdom of Natural Lexicon Processes comes from a focus on process and quality rather than on outcome (see 'structuring excellence' and 'process and outcome approaches'). It may be seen that focussing on outcome, e.g. a good cake, tends to obscure what's happening along the way. People get so concerned about getting to the finish line that when they encounter dysfunction in their ability to perform their tasks they will shut down shop, shut up and most importantly, not communicate their dysfunctionality to the network. Enough of this type of behaviour accumulates to weaken the matrix.

A different approach is where dysfunctionality is communicated, acknowledged and talked about, perhaps even welcomed - not in the sense of fault-finding - rather, in order to evoke the wisdom of the system to enable the challenged part to explore and develop new pathways and strategies. In this way the 'connexity; the ability of the system to nurture and enable a safe internal environment in which it can explore and navigate change and complexity, supports its drive to succeed. When the part is enabled to negotiate the challenge, the result may well be that the system as a whole bootstraps itself upwards in power and functionality. In reference to the cooking example, all kinds of yummy stuff can come out of a good oven linked to sustainable power - cakes, roasts, bread, and puddings. E-Matrix (life) seeks to enable the emergent matrix so that whatever is put in – cooks well. In this way the system thrives in the realm of greater possibilities, in contrast to mere surviving in the realm of few possibilities.



From Greek auto : self, poiesis : making - therefore meaning self-making. A network of producing/constituting processes (refer co-re-constituting) in which the function of each component is to participate in the producing and or transforming/reconstituting of other components in the network. A business unit/entity/network is socially constituted (refer reification), and in this process the people and the people system are themselves constituted (refer 'normative action research). In this way, the entire network continually remakes itself. It is constituted by its components and in turn constitutes those components. And also, the business as system, constitutes a permeable boundary specifying the domain of the networks' operations. Business sub-systems likewise have permeable boundaries for ebb and flow interaction between other subparts and the wider world. In so doing, these boundaries help define the system and sub-systems as units. Structure and process are pervasively interconnected, interdependent, inter-woven, inter-related and inter-constituting. Resonant concepts are Cleavered Unity', Connexity, Dichter and Denken, Holon', Co-Reconstituting', and Reification. A natural example of the connectedness of structure and process is the whirlpool. It only is sustained as structure in process.




A system state change often through perturbing leading to the potential and emergence of sudden whole system transcending transition to higher and more unpredictable complexity and improved performance. Also see Holon. This Lexicon is in part about creating and sustaining opportunities for bifurcation to occur.


Business Ecology

Normative action-research embracing the wellbeing of the people-business system and its relating with the wider business environment (refer Ecology, INMA and Business Ecosystem).


Business Ecosystems

Systems of related subsystems in their habitat; also refer holon). This raises the issue, 'What is the natural place or locality for people, systems and subsystems? What would occur in nature (refer Geosocial Mindbody Processes)? How would things be interconnected? What 'free energy would be entailed? Business system designers in the past have imposed on nature rather than perceiving the inherent wisdom in nature, and incorporating nature's design principles in their action (refer 'Keyline' as model in Geosocial Mindbody Processes). Exploring the resonance between land topography and social topography.


Business Ergotropic and Trophotropic System

These concepts are modelled on the bodies Ergotropic and Trophotropic Systems.

The Business Ergotropic system ensures a business/organisation’s long-term wellbeing.

The Business Trophotropic system ensures a business/organisation’s short-term wellbeing.

Both systems are in a 'Connexity' relation.


The Business Ergotropic System's Function:

o   The principal function is the control of short range, moment-by-moment adaptation to events in the world and the internal environment

o   It gears the business or business part to initiate and carry out action - often extremely quickly

o   It's particularly connected to fight/flight/avoidance behaviours

o   The system's activation shunts the system's metabolic energy (renewal) away from long-range developmental activities, towards fast response, though renewal is not ignored

o   It enables the expenditure of vital resources

o   Quick response energy pathways are opened and Quick Response Networks are engaged

o   It mediates stress relative to events in the World and the internal environment

o   Historically, it allows us to eat without been eaten


The Business Trophotropic system's function:

o   The system operates to maintain the optimum internal balance of business functions for continued good health and development of the business as a people-system holon

o   Controls the business functions responsible for the long term wellbeing

o   Links to business and business part growth and longevity

o   Regulating all of the business's vegetative functions:

o   reconstructing and growth of system 'cells' - sub-parts

o   digestion of new input/output from within/without the system

o   relaxing for renewal

o   sleeping on aspects


Business Surviving and Thriving

To survive is to fight to maintain relationship to the present reality.

To thrive is to use natural processes, available resources, emerging resources and evolve relationships with future possible potentialities and realities – the motivation to explore and constitute new possibilities, choices and realities, that in turn nurture future growth and ongoing success. Refer Autopoiesis, Sickness and Disease Model, the Illness-Wellness continuum, the Causation of Business Sickness, Self Organising and Self-help.


Butterfly Effect

Small changes having big unpredictable consequences in complex systems far from equilibrium - hence having system-wide capacity for scanning, identifying and using such effects.


Causation of Business Sickness

We can use the metaphor of business 'sickness'. In most diseases prevalent in the industrialized nations, e.g. degenerative diseases and autoimmune diseases, there is typically no single causal agent identified. Furthermore, there is typically a large spectrum of changes (signs and symptoms) that occur with the disease in joints, muscles, attachments, organs, circulation, psychology and so on. Much effort and money continues to be spent elucidating each and every pathway that deviates from the expected norm.

The assumption of the research strategy is that eventually the experts will identify the critical pathway that can then be modified to control the business ‘disease’. This is a profoundly first-order 'cybernetic approach in which an expert, remaining 'outside' the organization, seeks to steer a system. In the best case scenario, in which a critical pathway has been identified and interrupted so as to limit most, if not all of the expressions of disease, the attractor(s) that governs the system's behaviour have/has not shifted; only the system's ability to express itself has been controlled. Refer 'Emergence of Resonant Strange Attractors).

Furthermore, the outside intervention introduces multiple variances into the complex feedback and feed forward processes which maintain the integrity and 'connexity’ of the living system. We call these 'side-effects' but they are really effects of attempting to control complexity. An analogy would be trying to control the environmental and social problems in Bangladesh with a large supply of sand and hessian sacks. What do we do if the flooding is related to non-local climate changes (see 'butterfly effect)? Or it may well be that no matter how many sand bags we use, education and investment in infrastructure are just as critical to development as flood control.

As in physical health, generally, the more ongoing intervention that is required to control the 'disease', the poorer the quality of life outcomes for the person/organization.

A useful question may be, 'What options are there which enable living systems to thrive, grow and evolve, and organically respond well, even if they happen to be in trouble or diseased?'

A more natural and fundamentally different approach to the traditional 'outside business expert diagnosing disease and prescribing' is the using of a second order cybernetic approach. This approach involves using enablers who are embedded in the system, to support the people experiencing 'sickness'. These enablers may come from 'outside' the organization. However they have transcendent perception, which enables them to quickly enter the organisations transcendent realities and become insiders. The focus is the living system in all its connexity. The energy-consuming feedback processes in the process of life are very dynamic. In other words, the system is very actively engaged in these processes. Even when deep in the basin of attraction of a sickness process, some subsystems are relatively freely operational (refer using 'free energy). If the larger system can entrain itself to, and enhance these inherent processes, then it will tend to become sensitised to higher order attractors and will make a global and spontaneous upwards shift in self organisation. In other words, the system uses intrinsically available, or endogenous (internal to the system) processes to steer itself towards better quality of life outcomes, regardless of the presence or reversibility of previous structural changes. Refer 'Structural Coupling’.

A second order cybernetic approach is basically about enabling the living system to locate and enhance its innate drive to thrive which in turn enables it to steer itself successfully through change, crisis, catastrophe and chaos. Refer 'Cybernetics'. 



Typically, people tend to think of 'chaos' as a 'complete mess'. The essence of chaos is randomness with constraints - the constraints of the context and system. Much of the business world is chaotic. Chaos tends towards order. Chaos in nature often unfolds into things of great beauty, design, and symmetry. Chaos may be self organising (which see) and have emergent properties (refer emergence ). For example the random build up of calcium deposits on the seashell is constrained by being only able to attach along the exposed edge. The shellfish can only enlarge the shell's opening in constrained ways. This constrained randomness builds to make the wonderful spiralling seashells.




Random events, within constraints, may produce interconnected systems (refer 'connexity') self-organizing),  hence the practicality of having system-wide capacity for scanning and identifying business opportunities and threats in the flux (refer 'danger alert'). Functional matrices may take this form. Refer Ebb and Flow.


Cleavered Unity

Simultaneously apart and together - dissipative/replicative - respect for difference enhancing unity - rich implications (also see 'Colindivity', 'Connexity, 'Dichter and Denken' and Holon); entails the joint engagement of both the following concepts:

Dissipative (dis-sipative from the Latin dissipatus - dis = apart, sipare = to throw) hence, 'to throw apart'

Replicative (re-plicative: from the Latin replicare - re = again, plicare = to fold) hence, 'to refold'



Co-learning may take place in supportive learning contexts that break down the artificial divide between teacher and learner. All participants may bring capability, local knowing and capacity. Everyone, including teachers and trainers, can be co-learners and all can take on the Enabling role in supporting each other’s learning. In these contexts, learners can learn things that teachers have never dreamed of, and participants may learn very different and personally relevant things.



The pioneering Australian barrister/psychiatrist, Dr. Neville Yeomans used the term 'colindivity' (col from collectivities and indivity from individuals) to refer to a gathering of individuals and collectivities interacting as individuals and collectivities. The most frequent collindivities would be those including both the extreme individualists and extreme collectivists working together on a common problem in interaction. The collectivists would tend to function as parts of a team and for its stability, while the individualists would function as single entities and for their own separate stabilities. Such a subgroup of individualists could be called an indivity', that is, a collectivity functioning under an individualistic ideology with its individual units primarily fostering the reality of their own systems; for example an international gathering of extreme nationalists.



From the Latin com-plex : com (with), plexus (ply or to fold)


Conceiving the Inconceivable

When we frame action as endeavouring to conceive the inconceivable we experience phenomenally what happens when reaching limits. There’s ‘nothing coming’. Our mind struggles. There may be confusion and blankness. Often all our mind presents is old stuff. It streams ideas pretending to be novel that have been pervasively influenced by our prior socialization. Keeping this in mind, a fascinating challenge is to empty mind and surrender, completely surrender and then contemplate about how even our ways of knowing are limiting our knowing. There are many cultures in the world that do not use our ways of knowing. They do not, explain, describe, define, conceptualise, categorize, or ask questions. How would we be without those? What if we dropped all of these and emptied our minds and surrendered to our being in the world and began looking with fresh eyes, and hearing with fresh ears, and feeling with a very fresh hyper-aware body aware of our awareness shifting between moving, sensing, and feeling and awaiting for and appreciating what we become aware of – not recognising by filtering perception through current conceptions, rather re-cognising in new ways. Indigenous peoples for example have profound embodied experience of being very closely connected to their world. They walk it. They draw it on the ground, on bark and rock faces, on their bodies, they tell of it in stories, they sing the stories and dance the stories and sing the stories on their musical instruments. They widely use metaphors. And all of this they know through embodied experience of being and being in the world with others. Mostly, people up in their heads being rational are profoundly disconnected from most of what is going on in their being and their being in the world with others. Setting out to conceive the inconceivable may lead to a profound awaking to our full potential.



From the Latin con-nectere: to join together; simultaneously having complex pervasive interdependence, interrelatedness, interconnectedness and interweaving; a system having all of these characteristics; a system design frame; connexity is usefully explored using Dichter and Denken. Also refer Logic for the link between 'reason' and 'connexity'. Attending, noticing and perceiving simultaneous system interdependence, interrelatedness, interconnectedness and interweaving entails using connexity perception. Refer Objectivity and Subjectivity.


Connexity Perception

Connexity Perception is a form of advanced perceiving that may emerge through awareness of awareness of attending to the co-presence of interconnecting, inter-relating, inter-depending and inter-weaving of parts of a system of systems. Refer holon.



From the Latin con-scire : knowing together, i.e., consciousness is essentially a social phenomenon - an example of separated unity or cleavered unity



One of the massive aspects contributing to organisational, personal and interpersonal dysfunction is disconnect.

Examples of disconnect:

For consciousness-raising, consider experiencing what it’s like reading some examples of disconnect type behaving and functioning. Noticing what happens when you experience differing forms of disconnect, so as to recognise if these start occurring:


o   disconnect thinking feeling sensing moving

o   disconnect mind from body

o   disconnect awareness from moving

o   disconnect our ‘inferior’ right brain from our ‘superior’ ‘dominant’ left brain

o   disconnect all other parts of our brain from our frontal cortex

o   disconnect our corpus callosum -  the connections between our brain hemispheres

o   disconnect norms from action

o   disconnect non-linear from linear

o   disconnect imagination and passion from order and control

o   disconnect everything below our neck from our head

o   disconnect the left side of our body from the right side of our body

o   disconnect our left hand from our right hand

o   disconnect our left eye from the right eye -  though both still synchronise when moving

o   disconnect our heart from our head

o   disconnect our shoulders from our arms

o   disconnect our inner experience from our outer experience

o   disconnect our past and future from our present

o   disconnect our subjective from our objective

o   disconnect from process via reducing verbs to nouns (as done in this list – nouns like ‘passion’, ‘reason’, ‘will’, ‘brain’ and ‘emotion’)

o   disconnect from whole processing via categorising

o   disconnect our experience of flow-of-experience from specific-experience                              

o   disconnect our body from place

o   disconnect our embodied knowing from our will and reason

o   disconnect our child-within from play and spontaneity

o   disconnect awareness from context

o   disconnect our passion from our reason

o   disconnect our imagining from our thinking

o   disconnect function from meta-function and both from value

o   disconnect our values from our acts

o   disconnect scrutiny and doubt from our norms and values

o   disconnect our ‘crap detector’ from our beliefs

o   disconnect other from self

o   disconnect my pain from others’ pain

o   disconnect the multidimensional from the linear

o   disconnect the web of life from self

o   disconnect quantity from quality

o   disconnect from our subtle energies

o   disconnect our selves from our abilities, resources, and capacities

o   disconnect our values from our perceived interests

o   disconnect the rest of the world from our narrow interests

o   and many, many more


....and then disconnect each of the above disconnects from each other.


Then for ecology reverse every one of these:


o   connect  thinking feeling sensing and moving

o   connect  mind with body

o   connect  awareness with moving

o   connect  our right brain with our left brain

o   connect  all other parts of our brain with our frontal cortex

o   connect  our corpus callosum -  the connections between our brain hemispheres

o   connect  norms with action

o   connect  non-linear with linear

o   connect  imagination and passion with order and control

o   connect  everything below our neck with our head

o   connect  the left side of our body with the right side of our body

o   connect  our left hand with our right hand

o   connect  our left eye with the right eye

o   connect  our heart with our head

o   connect  our shoulders with our arms

o   connect  our inner experience with our outer experience

o   connect  our past and future with our present

o   connect  our subjective with our objective

o   connect  with process via transforming nouns to verbs

o   connect  with whole processing via connecting & relating

o   connect  our experience of flow of experience with specific experience                              

o   connect  our body with place

o   connect  our embodied knowing with our will and reason

o   connect  our child-within with play and spontaneity

o   connect  awareness with context

o   connect  our passion with our reason

o   connect  our imagining with our thinking

o   connect  function with meta-function and both with value

o   connect  our values with our acts

o   connect  scrutiny and doubt with our norms and values

o   connect  our ‘crap detector’ with our beliefs

o   connect  other with self

o   connect  my sensing and feeling with others’ sensing and feeling

o   connect  the multidimensional with the linear

o   connect  the web of life with self

o   connect  quantity with quality

o   connect  with our subtle energies

o   connect  our selves with our abilities, resources, and capacities

o   connect  our values with our perceived interests

o   connect  ecologically the rest of the world with our interests


Then for completeness, we may explore connecting with yourself through entering into the following feeling states. Either recall a time when you have experienced feeling the following state, or imagine a context where you are experiencing the feeling.


o   Able

o   Accepted

o   Accepting

o   Acclaimed

o   Acknowledged

o   At peace

o   Balanced

o   Calm

o   Competent

o   Complete

o   Confident

o   Connected

o   Creative

o   Discovering

o   Ease

o   Expansive

o   Flexible

o   Focused

o   Friendly

o   Fun

o   Functioning

o   Funny

o   Giving

o   Growing

o   Imaginative

o   Inspired

o   Integrated

o   Involved

o   Large as life

o   Loved

o   Loving

o   Noticed

o   Occupied

o   Open

o   Peaceable

o   Personable

o   Playful

o   Receiving

o   Recognised

o   Relaxed

o   Spontaneous

o   Thriving

o   Understanding

o   Welcome

o   Welcoming

o   Well

Processes for increasing connect and removing disconnect are explored through this Lexicon and Laceweb pages.



From the Latin contexere : 'to weave together' or 'webmaking'. The setting of experience which can shed light on its meaning. We may use awareness of context, especially scope for multiple realities (refer 'realities) as a frame for dichter and denken and kennen. See also comments on context in interpreting.



Business people in line management are accountable to shareholders. Line managers' control is associated with the prerogative and power to make decisions and authorize action. This top-down control is often accompanied by system resistance expressed as noise and filtering in the up-flow of the feedback used in control (refer the concepts 'Fuzzy' and 'Fuzzy Logic'). Line management is vertically linear. In contrast, matrix or network processes are non-linear (refer Process and Non-Linear Process), in that they involve multiple local, inter-local, lateral and three dimensional (mainly horizontal) energy flows (refer 'connexity'). See also discussion on forms of power and control in authentic empowering.

Line managers may be preoccupied with protecting their prerogatives in relation to decision-making and delegation. Worker participation by non-line managers in decision-making has been resisted over the past forty of so years. Natural business concepts included in this lexicon and 'Normative Action Research' may subtly alter the absolute linear control of decision-making and action authorizing. The nature of delegated accountability and action initiating may shift. Delegated accountability and action initiating may be given more to matrices, networks and people systems rather than only to line personnel.

Even decision-making may have complementary processes whereby, 'what to do' emerges from normative action research (which see), so that all those involved sense what to do, often using embodied knowing (refer Embodiment, and begin doing it, without a 'let's decide' meeting even taking place. Refer Authentic Empowering for a discussion on similar themes. 'Effectiveness' and 'does it work' are continually being monitored (refer 'Normative Action Research'). Action is continually assessed for fit with other interconnected, inter-related, inter-dependent aspects of the business or other organisation (connexity).

All of the prudent business checks and balances as to resource access, allocation, review, and acquittal may be built into the emerging matrix process and in this, the numbers MUST work for sustained existence. Some non-monetised energies tapping into free energy in people for good works may have little use of the numbers must work criterion and little use of control within Self Organizing Systems.

Traditional linear processes may be supported and complemented by non-linear processes, with open flow of information, negotiated meaning, and action between the two modes (refer Process and Non-Linear Process). Computer networks, email, e-groups, and the Internet may facilitate this process.



Social systems/realities are socially constituted, and hence can be reconstituted. 'Co-reconstituted' implies an interconnected mutual interaction for reconstituting system(s) (Refer 'Connexity', 'Realities' and especially, 'Reification'. Also refer Normative Action Research).

In the process of mutually constituting and reconstituting social realities, this process tends to fold back to constitute and reconstitute the people involved as socially constituted products of the process (with differences) - a connexity based intertwining and intermingling of causes and effects (refer Non-Linear Process).

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Cultural Healing

‘Culture’ in this context refers to how we live well together. Organisations may have very problematic cultures that resist change. Organisational and community processes termed Cultural Healing Action and Cultural Healing Artistry have a long and successful history on the margins. These processes may be adapted to organisational context and blended with other concepts in this Lexicon.



First Order Cybernetics models close-to-equilibrium mechanistic systems (refer 'equilibrium'). When first order cybernetics is applied to living systems it typically treats the living system in mechanistic terms. The focus is homœostasis - keeping the system on an even level and dampening flux. A thermostat is an example. First order cybernetics does involve a shift of focus from the individual part to the system interaction. It views the observer of the model as external to the system.

Second Order Cybernetics models far-from-equilibrium living systems. The focus is morphogenesis (the evolving of structure and pattern in living systems) and integrative functions at the edge of instability. Second Order Cybernetics recognizes that all people in the business are in a connexity relation - they are profoundly interconnected. This raises the challenge of business people observing and understanding a system of which they are, of necessity, an integral part.

Second Order Cybernetic observers and actors include themselves as a constitutive element in the system they are observing and acting in, and recognize that their very observing has constitutive and 'co-reconstituting potency. This view changes the 'them-us' stance with the accompanying, 'We are right and they are wrong'. Understandings and action take account of connexity. Also refer Logic for the link between 'reason' and 'connexity'.

It follows that attempts at knowing are constitutive. The word 'fact' comes from the Latin word facere : to make - hence manufacture, (from Latin manu : hand, fact : make) originally meaning 'make by hand'. Facts, as meanings, are 'made' by people in the role of factors, that is, as the maker of the facts. Facts are extracted from the complex of human experience and the very process of extracting facts makes more facts. This process embraces 'kennen as well as wissen (refer Process and Non-Linear Process).

Second Order Cybernetic thinking and perceiving (making sense of our senses) gives up a relentless quest for certainty. Uncertainty may be scary, or at least disconcerting, though it liminally (refer limin) opens the door to many new possibilities - possibilities for example, of scanning for gain, loss, safety, and danger in the context of opportunity and threat (refer 'dichter and denken' and 'Fuzzy'). Second Order Cybernetic thinking views things tentatively (refer 'Fuzzy Logic') and has everything under continual review. It breaks down reified (refer reification) dogma and sacred cows. However it fully respects and draws understanding and inspiration from the businesses' structural coupling and eco-history without being bound by these aspects.


Danger Alert

Pervasive among the web of life is a sense of danger. Some people and groups have this sense blocked – they do not recognise danger. Businesses can set up network processes with the function of continually scanning for, recognizing, and immediately responding to danger (refer Dichter and Denken).



From the Latin destino : the weaving; hence the notion of stacking and weaving together future possibilities - making futures.


Dichter and Denken

These words combined form a German expression. As an example, some great creative people are called 'dichter and denken'. When using this term to refer to say a poet, the speaker is suggesting that the listener simultaneously merges in his or her reflection the poet, the poem making and the poem. This is calling for us to engage in a very rich form of reflective contemplating. It is about our intersubjectively responding to the intermingling of the three elements, i.e., the poet, the poem making and the poem. In the business context, an example is the merging of firstly, system designers/reconstitutors, secondly, system designing/reconstituting, and thirdly, the system(s) themselves; and perceiving these three as a connexity/holon.

Note that it is easy to think about any of the three separately. Thinking of two simultaneously is more 'work', and merging the three in contemplation (refer kennen) is typically a challenge - though a worthwhile experience into a new (higher?) more 'connexity based mode of reflecting/perception (making sense of the senses). An example of Dichter and Denken is simultaneously scanning for firstly initiators of gain, loss, safety, and danger, secondly, the initiating process that are evolving, and thirdly, the unfolding of gain, loss, safety, and danger and the interplay of high/low levels of each - eg, safely doing dangerous things, while maximizing gain and minimizing loss; another is spotting when relatively safe things are being done dangerously for little gain and potential for high loss (refer Non-Linear Process).

Another expression that is similar is 'connexity perception' (refer connexity). A part of this in the visual sense is simultaneously attending to visual full field - the ever shifting background-foreground distinction, the flitting point of high acuity, the distant-close distinction and the peripheral; and including in awareness the aware self as responding perceiving (sense-making) mindbody-viewer, the viewing and the viewed and using all of this in being aware of and attending to all of the connexity in the context – the inter-connectedness, the inter-relatedness, the inter-dependence (refer structural coupling and eco-history). Using dichter and denken may be useful in Fuzzy contexts. People rarely have connexity perception although it is a potent capacity to develop through increasing awareness of awareness.

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Dissipative Structures

Business organizations are open dissipative structures - structures that dissipate energy. Far from equilibrium, the systems flow processes are interlinked through multiple feedback loops (refer Second Order Cybernetics). When the system encounters a bifurcation point, it may branch off suddenly into an entirely new state of greater potential. Put another way, a special characteristic of dissipative business structures, is that as the system moves further away from the equilibrium state, the system may develop suddenly into forms of ever increasing complexity and capacity - a process of neg-entropy, meaning the opposite of entropy. This is a wide spread phenomenon in natural organic complex systems.



Life is primarily innovative. In this context, living systems are historically being challenged with levels of environmental change that exceed their current capabilities and capacities.

To be immersed in a situation which exceeds one's present functionality is to be dysfunctional in that context. Evolution happens when a living system innovates a new pathway or new sub-system (see liminality) which can handle the challenge, and the system as a whole moves to a higher level of functionality and coordination between sub-systems. In this regard, refer 'agency' and 'transcendence' in holon. Adaptation has occurred. Dysfunction is therefore an essential ingredient in the evolutionary process. See incapability capability.

When part of a system is challenged by an event that exceeds its capabilities and capacities (the definition of dysfunction) the system as a whole draws upon the resilience of its network (see 'Connexity ) to enable the part to develop a new strategy/pathway to handle the challenge. A key talent in this context is having incapability capability.

If the process is successful, the system as a whole grows and evolves to a higher order of interconnection, complexity, and functionality (see 'self organisation' , 'logic' and 'connexity'). If not, the system stagnates, withdraws from that region of the environment, or begins to fragment.

Systems in which none of the components are exposed to dysfunctionality can be seen to be in a state of complex equilibrium. In living organisms and organisations a state of equilibrium is not consistent with natural evolutionary processes - both ecologies and markets are characterised by dynamic non-linear change and far-from-equilibrium states.

Naturally occurring forces eventually select out such unresponsive systems from the ecosystem. The process of 'structuring excellence’ (which see) enables the organisation to develop strategies for identifying, amplifying and nurturing its network and 'connexity’ in order to navigate through dysfunction towards adaptation, innovation, and growth.

As an example, a bodybuilder works specific muscle groups - to challenge them. What's happening in this process is that the muscle is being worked to the threshold of physiological dysfunction, i.e., it is deliberately exposed to demands, which exceed its capability and capacity.

As a relevant metaphor to business contexts, at the physiological level - the muscle begins to break down - catabolism - hopefully, a limited process. Now the next phase is critical - traditionally called the recovery phase, but actually much more. During this time the muscle is rebuilt bigger, stronger, and faster, depending on the kind of training. But what enables this process? What rebuilds the muscle? The rest of the system! The ability to handle the challenge and provocation depends upon the rest of the system being able to support and nurture the muscular component through its 'crisis' so that it can emerge at a higher order of functioning. Nutrition, rest, stress, and a myriad other things which affect the bodymind also affect the training outcomes for the individual muscle.

In terms of the phase portrait - the map of all the potential behaviours of the system - it grows to reflect the new capability of the system as a whole. Depending on the quality of the training - how the phase portrait evolves may vary. For example, one type of training is appropriate for Mr. Universe, another for a competitive rock climber. This also ties in with the ebb and flow concept - flow is the doing - on the out breath -and ebb is the integrating of experience - on the in breath. Learning, co-learning, evolution, and growth depend on this coupling.

Capability means the potential to perform behaviour. For example, strength capacity means the potential to sustain behaviour, e.g. stamina.

So there's a twofold process- we can call the first a 'primary enabling' - the challenge that puts us squarely in the realm of dysfunctionality. The second we may call a 'secondary enabling' - when we draw upon internal and external resources to meet the challenge of developing new pathways and strategies. Dysfunction tests the resilience of the network - this is 'connexity’.

In terms of self - when I face a challenge that reveals dysfunction, what is my response? I may recognize a choice: either self-enabling (nurturing the networks and PRONOIA), or self-negating (defending against the change and Paranoia).

Our E-Matrix (Emergent Matrix) is all around us - it is life itself. Life creates us. Every moment. How is life supporting me to face the challenges? Where is the 'free energy? Is my neurophysiology going into defence/survival mode, or growth/thrival mode? There is nothing wrong with defence. Sometimes it's the most appropriate response, especially when survival is the issue. In evolving and using Natural Business Concepts in this Lexicon we're focusing on enabling growth strategies, not trying to eliminate defensive strategies.


Ebb and Flow

The concept 'ebb and flow' is drawn from the ebb and flow of the tide. In some business exchanges, such as negotiating and mediating contexts, it may be appropriate to slowly withdraw (ebb) from interacting and then at an appropriate moment begin to flow back again (flow). They may have a series of these ebbs and flows as appropriate to context - like peeling layers of an onion. Interact a bit and recede and then return again. Coastal and Estuarine people living close to nature are familiar with the mingling flow of the fresh water and the salt water with tidal changes, and others may experience the muddy water of a creek or river flowing into the clearer water of another waterway. Each of these contexts is a useful metaphor for negotiating, mediating, understanding, and respecting of meaning within and between people and their respective and typically differing realities.



From the Greek oikos meaning household; study of relationships linking all members of the Earth household. Coined in 1866 by Ernst Haekel: 'science of relations between organism and the surrounding outer world'.



Systems of related organisms in their habitats (see 'Business Ecosystem' and 'Habitat')



Embodiment is a central Lexicon concept. There is pervasive interrelating, inter-depending, inter-connecting and inter-weaving (connexity) between organisations, ideas and feelings about organisations, and our bodies.

Each of the ideas in this Lexicon may be embodied; that is, experienced and sensed as phenomenal knowing and understanding. When we walk terrain we engage with it as a lived-life bodily experience. We have experienced our bodies engaging in the process. Later we can relive the terrain in our mind’s eye. We have embodied the terrain. In experiencing the applying of Lexicon concepts and embodying Lexicon concepts, our 'bodymind' functions differently.

The latest research in neuro-psycho-biology has 'bodymind' as the appropriate single word. Everything is profoundly linked. E-Matrix has over fifty years of history in researching and enabling others in embodying Lexicon concepts in thinking and acting as a living system. Embodiment is about evolving as a living system with other people as living systems (refer Gouldner).

Take a dysfunctional extreme example: up tight people with cold, deadened emotion, rigidity, standing to attention, with unquestioning obedience - ideas, feelings, body functioning and action merge. As an entry point for exploring this, notice the expressions we use. When a person says they're 'up tight', typically they are raising their shoulders and are holding them rigid (experience what this feels like and then let go and notice the difference). Other expressions are 'bitter and twisted', 'on the back foot', 'down', 'that's heavy', 'stiff upper lip', 'depressed' and 'shut down'. Each of these is a descriptor of how people shut down in response to aversive contexts. While each of these body shifts has survival value, there are more adaptive things we can do with our bodies! There’s no ideal state, rather flexibility to move between different adaptive states appropriate to context happening at appropriate times – and this is sustainable - as we are not going for an ideal; rather, that we may better adapt to challenges and contexts. Refer ‘Transforming’ for a brief discussion on links between moving, sensing, feeling, and thinking. Typically, it is easy to start change by moving differently!

Reflecting mind-body split and disconnect, organisational metaphorical stereotypes have leaders as the 'brains', the workers are the 'brawn'. Further splitting has leaders as 'left brain' - logical, linear and rational. Others may be derided as 'right brain' - non-logical, non-linear and irrational. A touted ideal is 'to be objective'. 'Being subjective' with some people is a term of abuse. In this regard refer Objectivity and Subjectivity. There tends to be strife with the people side of organisations - with the intersubjective.

All of this splitting or disintegrating has aversive consequences for people and organisations. Consider all of the ways used to split mind from body. Loud music, alcohol, body tension, holding one’s head on an angle, drugs, addictive behaviour, hyperactivity, amusement, TV, radio, books, using the linguistic form 'you' when referring to myself (e.g., 'You feel so disconnected') - the list is long. Organisational norms further the splitting. There may be sanctions against being subjective and emotional; there may be unspoken protocols on what is unmentionable and undiscussable. We must use channels for communicating and there are sanctions against 'going outside the channel. Research has shown that the hard driving, high job involvement Type A personality often found among business leaders correlates with heart trouble, ulcers, divorce and marital breakdown, as well as mental breakdown and early death! That which contributes to success brings with it the seeds of failure. Illusion by splitting is that ideas are real. What is real is the experience, the feeling and the emotions connected to mindbody whole system complexity - useful for adapting new behaviours.

This Lexicon is all about integrity and connexity - thinking, sensing, perceiving, feeling and acting as a living system imbedded with others in social living systems and all that that implies and involves. This is not a metaphor. It is the way it is. We can recognise and remember this - as in re-cognise and re-member, that is, to change our thinking and to get it into our members - our arms and legs. We can realise this in a two-fold sense - as understand, and as in 'make real'. To embody.

Think of a particular people challenge you have been involved in - how did you respond? From a personal perspective? From an atomistic perspective? From a stereotypical categorical perspective? From a fault finding, scapegoating, blaming, judging, and demanding perspective? If so, how is this frame embodied? What is the emotional tone and resourcefulness? What happens if we change to sensing and thinking like a system? What is that like? if we look for what is the freer energy? Looking for what works? What if we begin working with the free energy close to what is working? Add more of the Lexicon concepts as internal resource states and modes of responding and we are evolving a very new type of person and a new type of organisation. Explore thriving beyond defence. Also refer Eco-history.


Emergence and Sustaining Innovation

When a system advances to a minimum level of complexity, emergent properties arise that were not evident at lower levels of complexity. For example the taste of Glucose can’t be ascertained from the individual Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen particles that make up glucose. The sweetness emerges as a system property when the three components are mixed in the particular 6:12:6 ratio.

'Self-organisation occurs naturally in far-from-equilibrium systems, manifesting as dissipative structures. The emergence of dissipative structures in these systems is congruent with the concept of innovation described as new effective and efficient strategies to get a system where it needs to go.

Dissipative structures are sustained when the far-from-equilibrium systems that produce them are sustained. If the system is allowed to fall back to equilibrium then the resultant downward shift in organisation and complexity will tend to cause the emergent phenomena to disappear.


Emergence of Resonant Strange Attractors in Business

Within complex multivariable systems of motion there may be one or two points in the phase plane that 'attracts' the system energy, as in the rest point of a simple swinging pendulum. Some more complex multivariable systems may have their movements restricted to what are called 'strange attractors', having say three variables. Do Businesses, as multivariable systems in motion, have something approaching a 'strange attractor' as an essential aspect adding/influencing form(s)? What, if any, person or group, or aspect would be a 'strange attractor' in business? What would be their/its function and effect? Is this at least a useful metaphor? For example, how may nodal people influence the complex shape of self-organizing systems by a few strategic interventions? How, if at all may free energy in a business system be linked to strange attractors?

Gouldner (1970, pp. 222) writes of the potency of one nodal person:

The embodied and socialized individual is both the most empirically obvious human system, and the most complex and highly integrated of all human systems; as a system, he is far more integrated than any known ‘social system’. In his embodiment, the biological, psychological, social, and cultural all conjoin.


And a single creative individual, open to the needs of other and the opportunities of his time, can be a nucleus of spreading hope and accomplishment.


This Lexicon supports people involved in organizations learning about evolving their own personal agency through their embodied experience of their biologically flexible responding to their own moving, sensing, feeling, and verbalising in relational social engaging with others in evolving together organisational cultures (as in living well together) of their own making. Refer Flexibility. What of such a nodal person with authentic power outside of the dominant control process engaging in enabling of possibilities for the good of all aspects of the organisation?


Some numbers:


3   different things can be arranged in 6 ways (3X2X1) - called 3 factorial

10 different things can be arranged in over 3.6 million ways (10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1) - 10 factorial

11 different things can be arranged in over 39.9 million ways (11X10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1) – 11 factorial


We have around 100 billion neurons in the adult human nervous system each having around 7,000 synaptic connections to other neurons – and we have an estimated 100 to 500 trillion synapses in our nervous system.


Now if just 11different things can be arranged in over 39.9 million ways, how many different ways can 100-500 trillion synapses be connected? As well, that is just the complexity of the networking. An infinite number of phenomenal experiences can pass along this enormity. We have astronomical potential for experience!


As an indication, one trillion is a number 13 digits long (1,000,000,000,000).


One trillion factorial is a number somewhere in the vicinity of 11.5 trillion digits long.


500 trillion factorial is a mind-boggling number.


To rephrase Gouldner, a human being is far more integrated than any known ‘social system’ and in his embodiment, the biological, psychological, social, and cultural all conjoin.

In just one talented embodied nodal individual with Connexity perception we have astronomical potential.



Emergent Community

Community may be a potent resource within organisations. Typically, organisations have many aspects that may disable and limit the forming of 'community' among participants (refer Authentic Power). Some processes used for centuries within organisations arguably have inherent dysfunctional consequences in disconnecting people from potential.

Taken for granted assumptions about running business organisations and other organisations may be a potent force limiting community and functioning.

A few possible examples:


o   Always behind – little free time for community

o   Coercive Culture – this is the way we do things around here

o   Categorisation – dividing people and the world up into departments, sectors, programs, discrete enclaves, professional enclaves and the like

o   Competition - Power becomes constituted as a scarce resource that people compete to attain and jealously guard. Traditional hierarchical organization structures have constituted the zero-sum power equation because of a preoccupation with control through delegated decision-making power.

o   Complex salary administration systems – linking salaries and salary-increase potential to aggregation of task bits restricting use of multi-skilling and cooperation

o   Controlled movement – Sit ‘properly’ in the chair. Watch the walk of the grey suit people – the managers; the people with power and authority. Dress and movement as intimidation

o   Departments and sections competing for budgetary resources – others parts seen as ‘the opposition’

o   Divide and rule – having all manner of ways that keep people apart

o   Divide between structure and process – compared with structure as process in action

o   Double bind behaviours – Certain things being undiscussable, as it would up the ante, and this undiscussability being undiscussable

o   Evolving professional languages, acronyms, terminology, jargon only known to those in the enclave

o   Fixed Agendas – past ideas imposing on the present context

o   Focusing on bits – Never seeing Emergent properties - those complex system properties that emerge at a certain level of complexity but do not exist at lower levels, and hence can never be found by looking at smaller and smaller bits.

o   Going through channels – strict controls on who one can talk to and information flow

o   Hierarchical organization – tends to limit who one talks up to or down to skewing meaning and understanding

o   Inter-contextual algorithms – typically, step-based processes to be applied independent of changeable contexts

o   Ivory tower and executive dining rooms – exclusive areas – use of space

o   Mind on your job – focus on the next thing in the pile

o   Minimising redundancy – if more redundancy emerges, more resources tends to be coopted to the control function

o   Nominalisation – Collapsing dynamic process to thing by changing verbs into nouns – ‘deciding’ to ‘decisions’, ‘delegating’ to ‘delegation’, ‘innovating’ to ‘innovation’

o   Non-understanding as an indispensable technique – tough decisions affecting people are easier to make if you don’t know the people

o   Norms against spontaneity – business is serious. Show decorum.

o   Objectivity – repressing the subjective and intersubjective. Refer Objectivity and Subjectivity and Four Aspects of an Organisation

o   Power and empowering based on a zero-sum equation - if you have more, I have less

o   Power dressing – white collar – blue collar

o   Power environments – size of office, expense of furniture and fittings – dis-enabling environments

o   Regulations – requiring certain kinds of behaviours

o   Reification – treating human evolved entities as if they are unchangeable – they have been constituted by human activity so they can be re-constituted

o   Restricted to job role – not paid to think

o   Them and us divides – between sections of the organisation

o   Time distortion – time drags and numbs any verve

o   War as a metaphor – ‘it’s a jungle and it’s the survival of the fittest’, compared with ‘life is filled with possibilities and it’s the survival of the fitting’


One organization had around half of its people attend a snow weekend where they were snowed in. The community that naturally emerged from this experience of living close together in the cramped quarters fundamentally transformed the business culture.

Knowledge-based protocols tend to eventually annihilate natural, spontaneous and vivacious emergent processes of self-organization. Community is formed in relational conversation fostering authentic power, mutual respect, openness, trust, respect for diversity of opinion and creative use of conflict.

Emergent Communities continually scan for and foster strange attractors, and emergence.


Emergent properties

Those complex system properties that emerge at a certain level of complexity but do not exist at lower levels, and hence can never be found by looking at smaller and smaller parts. (Refer ‘Bifurcation Point’ 'Connexity' and 'Holons').



'Enablers' as the name suggests 'enable' – they support people to be able. They endeavour to create the physical and social 'context, 'frame and 'stimmung within the person or group that maximises worker's capacity for personal, group and network empowerment. Enablers identify and create possibilities for extending other people’s abilities - in making effective responses, and in taking cooperative and effective action to enrich business system wellbeing together - self help. Typically, every large group of people naturally have people who are enablers. They are an integral aspect of both formal and informal systems. Typically, enablers have Authentic Power.


Enabling Environments

Enabling Environments are:

·         Places where positive relationships promote well-being for all participants

·         Places where people experience a sense of belonging

·         Places where all people involved contribute to the growth and well-being of others

·         Places where people can learn new ways of relating

·         Places that recognise and respect the contributions of all parties in helping relationships

Concepts in this Lexicon and in Laceweb sites support achieving an outstanding level of best practice in creating and sustaining a positive and effective social environment.



From the Latin equi-librium: 'aequus': make same (level as in even); libra: to balance. Most phenomena that we encounter in the universe, including ourselves, are embedded within, or are actually are far-from-equilibrium systems. The dynamics of far-from-equilibrium systems tend to naturally produce spontaneous 'self-organisation with 'emergent properties. If our heart is in equilibrium we are dead or about to die; living hearts have rhythms far from equilibrium. Businesses in equilibrium are inflexible. Vibrant businesses are characterized in part by being far from equilibrium.

In conditions of instability, far-from-equilibrium systems tend to spontaneously self-organise as emergence unfolds linked to the capability of the system to maintain its integrative functions at the edge of chaos.

As a context, evolution tends to occur as a boundary phenomenon where chaos becomes maximal. The global ecology (Gaia) has thrived for the last 3.5 billion years due to the ability of its subsystems to self-organise and innovate in response to crisis, catastrophe and chaos (far-from-equilibrium). The effect is ongoing upward shift in complexity, self-organisation, and connectivity (refer 'connexity'). Businesses can learn from this.

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The following picture depicts a synapse in the human nervous system.



The following diagram introduces some of the processes enabling both habit and flexibility within our nervous system.



The diagram depicts in simple terms aspects of the flux and flow of electrical and chemical information flow.


On the left is electrical flow of information


The blue arc stores information carrying chemicals that can Release across to the mauve arc containing differing Receptors.


These receptors can receive the chemical-based information and pass it on further to the right as electrical-based information. Notice the up arrow. This depicts the first of the flexibility features. Information-Chemical flow may disperse through the wall and return to the blue storage arc before it reaches the receptors. This is Dispersal.


Dispersed Information-Chemicals may return to storage. This is one form of Information-Chemical Re-uptake.


After passing through the Receptors, Information-Chemicals may:


a)    Return to storage. This is another form of Re-uptake, or

b)    Disintegrate and pass into the body fluid system to be reassembled or filtered out through the kidneys and bladder

Note the five blocks in the system.


1.    On the left - Electrical signals may be blocked before transforming the information to chemical-based information carriers

2.    The Chemical-based carriers may be blocked:

a.    From storage release.

b.    Part way across the gap to the Receptors (hence involved in dispersal)

c.    At the Receptors (Receptor Blockers)

d.    On their way back to storage (Re-uptake Blockers); these chemicals then further disperse or disintegrate.

This set of system ‘stop’ and ‘flow” properties provides massive scope for both habitual and flexible behaviours and experience.


The flexibility woven into the human body may be used as a metaphor for organisational process flexibilities using flexible ebb and flow processes:


o   Release

o   Blockers

o   Dispersal

o   Re-uptake

o   Receptors

o   Re-uptake Blockers

o   Disintegrators

Ways are available for supporting people to increase flexibility and break dysfunctional habits using the forgoing understandings of how our nervous systems work. Also refer Flexibility and Habit


Four Aspects of an Organisation


The following segment is adapted from Ken Wilbur. Organisational people (and other) systems have both internal and external aspects. Organisations consist of individuals linked into collectivities. Combining these aspects we can use the following model. Note that the two left quadrants have the interior aspects and the two right quadrants have the exterior aspects. The two upper quadrants have the individual aspects and the two lower quadrants have the collective aspects. The upper left quadrant uses 'I' language. The lower left quadrant involves 'We' language. The right hand quadrants involve 'It' language.





Individual as subject

How know?  Introspecting/Interpreting

 (All interpreting linked to context)   

Validity Claim:

   Being truthful

   Being sincere

   Having integrity




Objective  (Part/Whole)

Individual as object

How know? Observing



Validity Claim:






Natural        Social      Manufactured

Life              Life          Thing

World          World       World           



(Organizational culture)


   (Collective experience)


How know?  Relational knowing

(All interpreting linked to context)


Validity Claim:  

     Culturally fitting

     Promoting well-being

     Being Right

     Being Just






System Structure/Function       



How know?  Manipulative knowing


Validity Claim:  

   Functional fitting

   Social systems meshing

   Systems theory web


Natural        Social      Manufactured

Life              Life          Thing

World          World       World   



Note that most business people focus on the right hand side of this model. Typically, the left hand side is often where difficulties and fuzziness are nested.

Context based interpreting is fundamental to left side knowing. People who are strongly focused on the content of the task may be blind to the context of the task and how the context changes over time.

Action that embraces and links all four quadrants is required for completeness.

There is a connexity relation between and within the three worlds mentioned in the right quadrants. It is pervasively entangled.

Note that each quadrant has its own way of knowing and its own bases for confirming validity claims, hence the value of negotiating of meaning.

Often change away from dysfunction in one quadrant can be facilitated by action from within other quadrants. For example, getting interpersonal matters resolved (lower left) can improve individual internal functioning (e.g., concentration, peace of mind, feeling confident and the like)(upper left). In turn, both of the foregoing may lead to more appropriate chemical balance in the brain and less stress chemicals in the system (upper right). These changes may facilitate the refining of a people system's functioning so that dysfunction in technical systems is resolved (lower right).

Fuzziness - uncertainty, ambiguity and doubt - is pervasively an aspect of ongoing stuff occurring in each of the four quadrants.

In respect of the claim of being 'objective' typically used in the two right quadrants, a quote from the above segment on second order cybernetics is germane (and well worth revisiting).

'Second Order Cybernetic observers and actors include themselves as a constitutive element in the system they are observing and acting in, and recognize that their very observing has constitutive and 'co-reconstituting potency.'

From this perspective, to be 'Objective' with a capital 'O', we have to include the subjective with the objective, and to take account of the observer and the observing. The way of knowing of the left quadrants may add aspects to the understanding of the right-hand quadrants that the right-hand ways of knowing would never find out.



Repeated form/process - holons within holarchies (refer holon). The following picture is of a fractal pattern in Broccoli. How may we better recognise and use fractal phenomenon, fractal metaphors and bio-mimicry in organisations?



fractal broccoli2


Frame – Framing - Frame Making

Frame - a border, edge, setting something apart, creating a space, place and/or context with a particular mood (stimmung), meaning, and ways of looking, hearing, seeing, feeling and savouring. A frame 'sets off' and enriches a painting. A frame may put a 'boundary' on a context - as a context of a 'particular kind' - this is what is going on - this is the 'definition of the situation'. Refer the Segment on ‘Meaning’ in ‘Coming to One’s Senses – By the Way’.

The stage border frames the context of the play and the rise and fall of the curtain frames the beginning and end of the play reality.



A frame may assist in clarifying the meaning of behaviour. For example, a person sees another jumping around outside in a 'crazy' fashion - clutching his shirt. Having the additional piece of information that an acid has fallen down the front of the shirt 'frames' what's going on, or reframes 'crazy' into 'self care'. Framing and reframing may be extensively used in business, for example, in fuzzy contexts and where interpreting is required.

Frames may be 'set up' or 'made' in many ways.


Example A:

By using signs as markers and signifiers, e.g. putting up a sign:

'Systems Design workshops are to be held here each morning at 10AM.'


Example B:

By using verbal and non-verbal behaviours, e.g. by simply saying, ''X' is what is happening ', or using the language of assuming, possibilities, presupposing, implying, and arousing curiosity.


Example C:

After meeting an acquaintance in the lift, saying:

'I heard that the emergence response team has made a breakthrough - get in contact with Harry directly'. This may reframe the acquaintance’s action for the ensuing few minutes.


Frame - Metaframing

A meta-frame is a frame on a higher logical level. It is the frame in which other frames take place - like the 'first quarter' within the 'game'.



The 'Weekend Retreat’ frame
within the
'Enabler Development' frame
within the
'Innovation Network Development' frame.


Free Energy

System energy may be potential, emergent, free, or blocked. A useful mode is to work with free energy near blocked energy; it’s easier than working with the blocked energy.

The people system may have positive and negative aspects. Work with the positive aspects of each person and group. As an example, one section which had been very successful at the expense of another section of a business in gaining budgetary funding and resources was given the challenge of using their strengths to assist the other section. In accepting this challenge the successful section strategically gave up some of their position without weakening themselves, and greatly assisted the other section. Refer Walking and Free Energy.


Functional Matrix

Refer 'Matrix'. In talking about a functional matrix, no specific entity is being referred to. Rather, it is the focus or function of the action; it is focused energy in action. The term 'functional matrix' is used to refer to the generative and formative developing and shaping of functions, fields or foci of system action. For example, a functional matrix may be set up within a business or government organisation to foster and enable possibilities for emergence. Others foci may be 'Business Ecosystems', 'Connexity', 'INMAs', fostering 'Dichter and Denken perception'. In turn, each of these functional matrices may be interconnected and inter-related - sharing insights, concepts, designs and the like. Functional matrices may be short or long term. Functional matrices tend to cut across and through the formal structure for system action.


Future Pacing

Having people enter into possible futures and engage together to resolve presenting issues, to explore hypothetical realplay and attend to outcomes. Refer Hypothetical Realplay and Conceiving the Inconceivable.



'Fuzzy' is a term being applied to situations and experience involving uncertainty, ambiguity and doubt. Much of life is neither 'black' nor 'white'. Most falls into the 'grey' area. Much of our thinking, feeling, speaking, and writing is inevitably fuzzy. The interpreting of subjective and inter-subjective experience is typically fuzzy (refer Objectivity).

Business and Government take place in a very complex milieu containing much that we can't be certain about. Fuzziness is pervasively present in our quest for understanding of this complexity. Together we create and are a part of this complexity and fuzziness. We are immersed in fuzziness.

Much of business life is pervasively inter-related - parts affect the whole. The whole is linked to other wholes and their parts (refer Holon and Holarchy). This complex linking and networking extends in all directions and each link can add another 'layer' of fuzziness.

We can't eliminate fuzziness. However, we can learn to live better with it. We can learn to recognize the sources and ways fuzziness is manifest. Some things are just so complex we cannot know for sure. The behaviour of others is often unpredictable. One source of fuzziness is that people set out to deceive others, or have hidden agendas, or a engaging on automatic with irrational and dysfunctional habit as their ‘drivers’. We can learn to avoid the manipulation of those who use fuzziness as a means of hiding suspect motives and secret agendas, and as a way of maintaining power and control.

In some contexts some things may be undiscussable. Any attempt to discuss them would 'up the ante' so much that it is considered by all involved to be not worth the risk. It may be that this undiscussability is also undiscussable. This situation can be fuzzy-toxic and virtually impossible to resolve. One approach that may work is to structure excellence whereby people are placed in contexts where they usefully narrow their behaviour to bits that they use functionally.

Another source of fuzziness is in making inferences and then making further inferences based on these inferences. Often we have second, third, and higher orders of inference - a context where (typically unrecognised) fuzziness abounds (also see 'interpreting').

By learning to recognize and live with fuzziness, we empower our capacity for creative action in uncertain times.


Fuzzy Logic

Businessmen are learning to use fuzzy logic as a way of living with fuzziness.

Fuzzy logic is now used extensively in engineering and robotics. An example is having multiple sensors responding in certain ways to a range of probabilistic conditions. In this way the system can cope with variety, uncertainty and complexity rather than being limited to an 'if X, then Y' rigidity.

Now business people are learning to apply fuzziology in the subjective and the inter-subjective 'people side' of the business. This Lexicon contains a simple model that refers to this. Refer Four Aspects of an Organisation. The upper left and lower left quadrants in the model refer to subjective and inter-subjective experience. Fuzziness does apply in all four quadrants (see Objectivity).


Geosocial Mindbody Processes - Keyline and Cultural Keyline

Cultural Keyline - adapting natural placeforming and placeforms - links between people, processes, place and landform; between land topography and social topography. Example: isomorphic (of identical form) relation between main ridge, primary ridge and primary valley systems and some business networks and the implications flowing from this, e.g., the key position of nodal points and those that link to nodal points (shown as the larger spots in the diagram below) at the junction of network pathways for flow of information and energy) (refer Natural System Design, Free Energy and Walking and Free Energy).



Copying nature for example, where are things placed relative to other system parts and place - for maximizing functionality and use of free energy in the system - eg gravity in Keyline agricultural design.





Refer ‘Whither Goeth the World of Human Futures – The Life Work of Dr Neville Yeomans Volume One and Cultural Keyline - The Life Work of Dr Neville Yeomans Volume Two.




The concept 'Cultural Keyline' was developed by Dr. Neville Yeomans from his father P.A Yeomans' 'Keyline' concept. The above panorama is of the property at Richmond (out of Sydney) where P.A. Yeomans developed 'Keyline'. Notice the design features adapting natural placeforms. The closest dam is sited so it is in the highest point in the valley floor where the steep landfall first begins to flatten.

This allows storage at the highest point in the valley so the free energy of gravity can be used to distribute water for stock and irrigation. The dam wall has a specially designed and constructed pipe that comes out at the base of the dam wall with a valve on it. The second dam is situated so that overflow from the higher dam can flow by gravity into it. The irrigation channels are filled from the valve outlet by gravity flow. The irrigation channel is sited below the overflow channels. Keyline has many design features all resonant with natural system connexity. This is discussed more fully in other places – Refer ‘PA Yeomans’ and ‘Keyline’ on the Internet. Also refer Cultural Keyline - The Life Work of Dr. Neville Yeomans - Research towards a PhD thesis 


P.A is viewed by many as making the greatest contribution to sustainable agriculture of anyone in the world for the past 250 years.

Seems that no one through all time had noticed what P.A. and his two older sons Neville and Allen noticed. P.A. used many of the concepts in Natural Lexicon Processes - seeing how everything was interconnected, inter-related, inter-dependent, and how he could design landscape to merge with the natural design features of nature. Once under way, P.A. allowed nature to be his guide so that he, his farm design and nature were self-organising. Thirty years after P.A.'s death the system works with little maintenance required. As can be seen from this photo taken in Oct 2001, the farm still looks like sweeping gardens or golf course, though none of its Keyline features had been maintained for over 20 years.



The above photo was taken at the Yeomans property in 2008 where there was community action to have the Yeomans properties being given an Emergency listing under National Heritage. This failed. Developers want to cover the Yeomans farms in asphalt and housing.

In social contexts, themes may emerge that have resonance for all participants. There may be a divergence of views about the themes. However, the resonant themes may have the resonance because of the defining quality of being conducive to coherence as Keypoints of discourse. Keylines of discourse may usefully follow on these themes. It has value to stay on theme while group energy sustains it.

Individual energy desirous of prematurely shifting theme may have salience for change agents, hinting at defensiveness in those seeking to shift theme, perhaps relating to unresolved and distanced issues entangling these people and the theme. The astute change agent may pick up on this.

This paragraph is an aspect of Cultural Keyline – tapping into inner landscapes and the landscape of the mind and the emotions.

Cultural Keyline uses notions of land topography to tune into and sense social topography, and how social topography typically suddenly shifts when a group changes to a new theme. Change Keypoint theme and you change valley as it were, so you have a new ‘Keypoint’ at a higher or lower ‘level’ or ‘charge’, and everyone’s ‘position’ in the new valley changes. There is much in all of this for discerning group process facilitators to play with. Refer Groups Processes for Event Enablers


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Natural local abode or locality of living things. Refer:


Natural System Design

Enabling Environments

Organizational Metaphors).


We may use the integrated life system in natural habitats as a metaphor for organisations-as-habitat as an aid to noticing system complexity and scope for fostering emergent possibilities


Holarchy Refer Holon



The philosopher scientist Arthur Koestler used the term holon for each whole thing within nature - a whole made up of its own parts (refer 'cleavered unity), and simultaneously this whole thing is itself part of a larger whole. Every holon in nature, as whole/parts, has drives or tendencies to maintain its own wholeness and partness, and its fit within other wholes in the environment. Refer Autopoiesis.

A holon seeks to maintain its part/whole for and through its own agency - survival/growth/identity/autonomy - and through its communing as part of other wholes. If it fails at agency or communing it dies. Holons may disintegrate into sub-holons or they may increase in complexity by small changes or sudden transcendence (refer Bifurcation).

In a human social system, the growth phase creates new norms and values. These are codified, formalised and elaborated in the mature, stable phase. They are then meaningful rituals and ceremonies, which provide a stable background to human interaction and organisation. In the phase of decline, norms and values lose their relationship to the reality of the system's behaviours. They become meaningful rules, which people do not follow.

With a human system in decline, the take off point for the next cultural synthesis, typically occurs in a marginal subculture. Such a subculture suffers dedifferentiation of its loyalty and value system to the previous civilization. It develops a relatively anarchical value orientation system. Its social institutions dedifferentiate and power slips away from them. This power moves into lower level, newer, smaller and more radical systems within the society. Uncertainty increases and with it rumour. Also an epidemic of experimental smaller and micro organisations develop. Many die away but those most functionally attuned to future trends survive and grow.


Gouldner’s writing on this in his book ‘Coming Crisis in Western Sociology’ is seminal:


The embodied and socialized individual is both the most empirically obvious human system, and the most complex and highly integrated of all human systems; as a system, he is far more integrated than any known ‘social system’. In his embodiment, the biological, psychological, social, and cultural all conjoin.


And a single creative individual, open to the needs of other and the opportunities of his time, can be a nucleus of spreading hope and accomplishment. He contains within himself the ‘information’ that can reproduce an entire culture, as well as the energy that enables him to ‘imprint’ this information upon patterns of behaviour, and to strand these together into social systems.


If on the one hand, the individual’s extensive enculturation provides him with a measure of functional autonomy in relation to social systems, on the other hand, his capacity to create and maintain social systems provides him with a measure of functional autonomy from specific cultural systems.


To conceptualize systems in terms of their interdependence, as Talcott Parsons does, tends to focus primarily on the ‘whole’ and on the close interconnectedness of the parts. It tends to stress the oneness of the whole. A conception of systems in terms of ‘functional autonomy’ tends, quite differently, to focus on the parts themselves, and it stresses that their connectedness is problematic. A concept of interdependence focuses on their parts only in their implication within a system’ It sees them as ‘real’ only in and for a system. A concept of functional autonomy, however, raises the question of the extent of this implication and, more distinctively, focuses on the other, extra system involvements of the parts (1970, p. 224-225)(our italics).


Typically, during a people system (holon) decline/disintegrating phase, the system disintegrates and dedifferentiates - divergent parts become similar. The system shifts towards dynamic inertia - unchanging action/increasing rigidity - and towards fatal equilibrium.

During transforming towards transcendence, holons differentiate and integrate (refer cleavered unity). Transcending to a more complex functioning typically brings scope for different contextual dysfunction. It may bring repressing, denying, dissociating (non-attending to aspects of the social and natural worlds) and alienating action.

The term 'holarchy' denotes a universe of such holons within holons - (from the Greek: a source of wholes.)


Hypothetical Realplay

Refer 'Realplay'. Entails setting up a group assignment that creates a context which involves participants engaging with very real issues which are not directly part of the ongoing business. It is ideal for having participants explore and engage with very 'real' possible futures, to develop skills and maybe constitute that very future or steer clear of it, as appropriate - a form of future pacing. Also Refer:


Globalocal Realplay - Healing Nightmares - A Process For Transforming Senior Bureaucrats

o   An Example of Hypothetical Realplay


Incapability Capability

Incapability capability is the ability to navigate well, environments that exceed one's current capability.

Stagnation - even functional crisis - may set in when organisations/people are subjected to environments to which they are totally capable; in these kinds of environments there may be little stimulus for growth and innovation.

Typically, capability is recognised and rewarded. The incapable are disregarded. People who are capable at working in contexts where they (and everyone else) are incapable are rarely recognised or sought. These people have incapability capability.

Shortage of intrapersonal and interpersonal incapability capability is an important limiting factor for growth and abundance in organisations and the wider world.

Traditional education attempts to minimize incapable states by rewarding and recognizing only capable states. The familiar adage goes that 'people are promoted till they exceed their competence'. Conventional institutional vocational learning gears the student towards 'organisational death'. It vocationally guides and equips students to work in environments to which they are capable. It does little to prepare students to work effectively in environments beyond their capabilities. When organisations are being stretched beyond capability only new people capable of working within the new environments are sought. We suggest that people with incapability capability could useful be sought or generated from within.

Streetwise, life-based learning may gear the exceptional individual to acquire intrapersonal and interpersonal incapability capability. Such people are adept in fuzzy contexts. They may be skilled in entering and using liminal states, as well as using kennen, and dichter and denken approaches. They tend to flexibly use a variety of thinking styles as appropriate to contexts. They use their current abilities such that these are functional and not dysfunctional (using highly refined abilities in dysfunctional ways and in inappropriate contexts tends to be widespread and often not recognised). People with intrapersonal and interpersonal incapability capability tend to have persistence, tenacity, and pervasive curiosity. They recognise when they are confused and value this state. They add 'being curious' to it. They recognise, value and regularly use this state of being 'curiously confused' - recognising that this is a potent learning state in fuzzy and novel contexts. Refer Conceiving the Inconceivable.

Preconceptions and prejudices may be suspended so that the fuzziness of the novel context can be connected with and its flux and flow experienced for possibilities. All aspects of the flux and flow is recognised as an enabling matrix, which may be sourced non-linearly in real time and recognised as being omnipresent and freely available. Refer Ebb and Flow .These people with intrapersonal and interpersonal incapability capability are adept at merging with the fuzzy and the novel - establishing a connexity relation with them. Refer Ebb and Flow.


Illness-Wellness continuum

The people side of a business may have varying degrees of wellbeing. Refer Four Aspects of an Organisation. The illness-wellness continuum frames a person's and collectivity's direct lived experience. Wellness is a state in which a person feels tremendously alive, thriving, fully inhabiting the present moment of life, able to boldly think in new ways, to consider fresh possibilities, to explore new choices with a heightened sense of personal generative power and vitality. Similarly, a collectivity of people can have a vibrant energy and shared vital mood (refer 'stimmung').

By contrast, illness is the state in which a person feels overwhelmed by their current circumstances, a pervasive and complicated sense of inhibition, frustration and worry about all sorts of things. Again, a collectivity can also exhibit these responses.

Wellness cannot be delivered through expert intervention. Rather, it emerges as a person/organisation develops uniquely situated (refer 'context' and ‘complex’) strategies for recognizing and enhancing what works. See 'Free Energy and Walking and Free Energy. Also refer the 'Sickness and Disease Model.

People with very advanced competencies may have major limits on accessing Wellness. Refer Accessing Wellness



Refer 'Colindivity'


INMA - Inter-system Normative Model Area

A business INMA is a vibrant psychosocial system having an ecological frame and culture for the sustained emergence and exploration of wellbeing possibilities – a model area for exploring emergence of new norms, behaviours and processes. The 'I' in the term may also mean, 'intra-system', 'inter-business', 'intra-business' and 'inter-sector'.



This Lexicon was born in a business INMA. As stated at the outset, the eco-history of this Lexicon can be traced to business INMA gatherings in Sydney of business innovators in the late 1960's and early 1970's exploring businesses as living systems. These gatherings were enabled by Dr. Neville Yeomans - a barrister, psychiatrist, sociologist, psychologist, and biologist who’s first INMA was in Fraser House – a residential enabling environment in North Ryde Sydney.


Innovation and Growth

Innovation can be operationally defined as that activity which results in a change that has usefulness beyond a current application and that alters the ability of the system as whole. Innovation increases the flexibility, functional capability and/or computational complexity of the larger system.

Innovating behaviours occur as an innate drive within living systems. Clearly, not all systems are innovative to the same degree. It seems that it is the capability of the system to engage itself (integrate) (refer 'co-reconstituting') in far-from-equilibrium conditions, which largely determines whether or not it will develop new emergent dissipative structures. How does a system learn to support itself and to maintain its integrative functions at the edge of chaos where the probability of innovation and evolution are optimal?

Seems that a person who experiences what self-organising phenomena feels like in their own physiology tend to have the potential to be able (as an emergent capability) to scan for these phenomena in their relationships and activities. They may become sensitised to the self-organisation phenomena in a far-from-equilibrium world. They may so surrender to this process that they can catch their slide into defensiveness, and challenge this by exploring edge experience in a Thrival state. Refer Conceiving the Inconceivable. The natural drive of such an individual may tend towards acting to support and amplify this Self Organizing perceived against the history of 'structural coupling' recorded within their unique biological architecture.


Internal Experience

We all experience our internal experience of our internal and the external world. Many people dissociate from much of their experience. Refer interpreting and Objectivity.


Sense of Self

Being an individual


Sense of Identity




Cross Sensory integrating


Meaning making
















Responding to:














Especially refer Connecting.




From the Latin interesse (inter meaning: to enter and esse: the essence, or god energy), hence to enter the god essence of the other. This is the original meaning of the word. Later the termed was used in the sense of ‘It’s not in your interest to be interested in that girl. Now it’s the price of money.

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Typically, understanding of inner experience within and between people (subjective and inter-subjective experience) involves interpreting.

The context is important when interpreting. As an example, the meaning of the word ‘bark’ in speech depends if we are talking about trees, dogs, musical composers (Bach) or manner of speaking (as in ‘his bark is worse than his bite’) (Refer 'Objectivity').


Kennen and Wissen

The German language distinguishes two forms of knowing. Both have a role in business. 'Kennen' is a word meaning to know in the sense of becoming acquainted with other people and things. It is a knowing linked to forming business friendships and relationship. Kennen is a knowing which is always unfinished and unfinishable. It is an ever-unfolding relational mutuality. It denotes something that 'interests' me, as in inter esse - to enter into the essence or spirit of the other. It denotes something very personal and subjective - entering into a relation with empathy, respect, deference and openness.

The German language has a different word, 'wissen' for the form of knowing that seeks to grasp the other so that they can be known, predicted, and controlled. Kennen is contemplative. Wissen is manipulative. Wissen is a technical knowing, which can get people to the moon and back. Kennen is a knowing contributing to the astronauts living and working well together during the challenges and stresses of the trip.

These forms of knowing are very different (cleavered). Used together they can be very useful (unity). Refer 'Cleavered Unity'. Also refer Objectivity and Subjectivity.



From limin (Latin) meaning the threshold at the doorway - the last step before the entrance. 'Liminal' experience is 'at the threshold' - being open to change - a turning point (refer bifurcation). Staying and 'working at the threshold' is to stay in liminality. The steps that lead up to the limin are 'pre - liminary' - i.e., the familiar word 'preliminary'.

Liminal experience is a peak state for being creative and innovative. One can be creative and innovative without entering liminal experience. At this stage of business evolution it may be fair to say that few business people enter liminal states. Being 'liminal' may have the feeling of 'safe abandoning' of the old - to safely surrender to the 'moment' in that word's two meanings - as in 'small amount of time' and as in 'turning power'. Refer Conceiving the Inconceivable.

It may embody the shift from ordinary reality to an altered internal way of processing of ideas and images - dissociating and profound engrossment in increased awareness of awareness and creativity flow. . For some experiences, it may involve leaving the familiar grounded here and now to a state characterized by super awareness. Refer Peak Experiences.

Liminal states are extremely fertile states for the emergence of intuitions, new ideas, innovations and profound business related insights. 'Enablers may set up liminal contexts and liminal spaces and support key people entering liminal states.

People in liminal states may be for the time 'threshold people'. In these states. Their attributes are necessarily ambiguous. This is because the condition of 'liminality' and being a 'liminal person' elude or slip through normal classifyings that locate places and positions in social space. 'Liminal people' are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the normal. Liminal states are enriched with possibilities. Typically, liminal people are able to quickly return to everyday states of functioning and function and bring with them peak skills.

The ambiguous and indeterminate attributes of liminality may be expressed in rich metaphors and symbols such as being invisible, being in darkness, being in the womb, being in the wilderness, metamorphosis, forgetting, floating, drifting, the light at the end of the tunnel, the dawning, the new dawn, flying, and as one person characterised it, the merging together the following three metaphors:

o   the underground mole,

o   the sheep huddled together for warmth on the cold day, and

o   the lone far-sighted eagle on the high mountain

Gateways, doorways and the proverbial, 'light at the end of the tunnel' as liminal places are excellent metaphors for change.




From 'limin' (Latin) meaning the threshold, the last step before the entrance. 'Liminal' experience is 'at the threshold' - being open to change - a turning point. Staying and 'working at the threshold' is to stay in liminality. The steps that lead up to the limin are preliminary.



Being 'liminal' may have the feeling of 'safe abandoning' of the old - to safely surrender to the 'moment' as in 'small amount of time' and turning power. It may embody the shift from ordinary reality to dissociating and trance in increased awareness of awareness.


Enablers may set up liminal contexts and liminal spaces. For example, attendees at Healing Sunday, Spiral Gatherings, the Well and Laceweb workshops at ConFest tended to individually and collectively enter into liminal states.


People in liminal states may be for the time 'threshold people'. Their attributes are necessarily ambiguous. This is because the condition of 'liminality' and being a 'liminal person' eludes or slips through normal classifyings that locate places and positions in social space. 'Liminal people' are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the normal. Liminal states are enriched with possibilities.



The term 'logic' comes from the Greek word logos meaning 'reason', originally denoting 'the universal principle through which all things are interrelated and all natural events occur' (refer Connexity).



The word matrix has the following meanings:

'A place where anything is generated or developed; the formative part from which a structure is produced; a network or web-like structure; intercellular substance; a mould, a type or die in which anything is cast or shaped'; a womb; Also see 'Functional Matrix'.

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We regularly use metaphors to make sense and understand. We recognize that something is like something else. Also refer comments on metaphors in On being Tentative' and Limin‘. Below is a list of metaphors resonant with Natural Business Terms



Micro-interventions seek to capitalize on the self-embedding and non-linear nature of complex systems, so that optimal output and change is achieved with minimal input.

Nano-interventions are super-micro-interventions that are resonant with the 'butterfly effect'. Sometimes a very deft nano-intervention in highly salient Keypoints can have major implications including creating emergent possibilities. They are akin to substance super molecules that may emerge and form when a micro amount of a substance is added to another fluid.

Interventions that seek to manage and control (pre/first-order cybernetic approaches) living systems may drastically limit the richness of transactional possibilities and feedback.

Preferably, micro-interventions by enablers are as minimal as possible, in order to maximize possibilities for self-help consequence, including learning and co-learning gains, developing new strategies, engaging peoples' and collectivities' sense of personal/collective safety and opportunity, and the capability and capacity to utilise available resources and networks to help steer the larger system towards successful outcomes.


Natural System Design

Natural, because design follows the patterns inherent in nature (refer, connexity', 'Geosocial Mindbody Processes' and 'self organizing systems')


Natural Systems - Organisational and Operational Principles of Healthy Business-People Systems

Self-creation (autopoiesis)



Self organizing

Self-reflexivity (autognosis-self-knowledge)

Self-regulation/maintenance (autonomics)

Communications among all parts

Empowerment - full employment of all component parts

Coordination of parts and functions

Complexity (diversity of parts)

Reciprocity of parts in mutual contribution and assistance

System redundancy enhances connectedness and potential (c/f traditional way - where increased redundancy requires that more of system energy is diverted to the control function to ‘control’ the redundant parts)

Embeddedness in larger holons and dependence on them (holarchy)

Co-re-constituting part and whole (self and community) in continual flux with other communities and the web of life context

Input/output of matter/energy/information from/to other holons

Relational networking within nested networks

Response-ability -- to internal and external stress or change - emergence of new response-abilities as system feature

Transformation of matter/energy/information

Use of free energy - metabolism, gravity, solar energy, subtle energies, the bodies' short and long-term wellbeing energy systems - (ergotropic and trophotropic)

Balance of Interests (from Latin: inter-esse, meaning to enter into the essence of the other in its relation with me -- negotiated self-interest at all levels of holarchy

Feedback and feed-forward and the surviving of the fitting

Conservation of what works well

In a context of continual change, continual mutual nurturing towards stability (not equilibrium)


Connexity - cooperating inter-dependence, inter-connecting, inter-weaving, inter-relating

For humans -

Respecting, nurturing and celebrating the diverse web of life

Cooperating with and being mindbodyful of other people, life forms and matter in finding and using niches and places in the landform



See 'Dissipative Structures'


Network Care

Research into Network Care of the body's Central Nervous System (CNS, i.e., brain & spinal cord) holds forth promise as a model for the care of business networks. The central nervous system is a complex, dynamic, far-from-equilibrium system capable of autopoiesis, self-organisation and evolution (morphogenesis). It is also congruent with second order cybernetic modelling of living systems as autopoietic and self-steering (refer cybernetics).

Concepts in this Lexicon are being used effectively in central nervous system care. An example is that excellent results have been obtained by working with the 'free energy' near blocked spinal energy. One useful business functional matrix can be the Business Network Care Matrix. Other concepts in this lexicon may be tapped into to create business network care and network emergence. In a world where people are increasingly perceiving everything as inter-related, network care of workers' central nervous system has potential as a business wellbeing strategy. Refer Walking and Free Energy.


Non-Linear Process

When referring to 'process', people typically think of linear process - a sequence of actions, a series of 'things to do', how things are done - step-by-step.

In using natural business concepts, action may unfold as non-linear process. Multiple related bits may be happening simultaneously. The 'beginning' may be added in later. Stuff that seems unrelated may suddenly have relevance and be added into action. Emergent properties may arise in non-linear action (and linear action), which were not evident at lower levels of complexity. For example, the taste of Glucose cannot be ascertained from the individual Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen particles that make up Glucose. In a 6-12-6 mix.

These holons may then be fitted into the ongoing non-linear process. Action may have no preplanning and pre-organising. What to do next or later may emerge from ongoing non-linear action.


Non-linearity and Linearity

Linearity - describing relationships in which change in one factor is reflected in change in another. Linear relationships belong to the Newtonian world of simple machines; an input produces a proportional output.

Non-linear relationships characterize most of the world in which complex systems interact; in this case output is disproportional to input and vice-versa.



Refer 'normative action research'


Normative Action Research

In using a normative action research way, people take action based on shared local knowings and tapping into emergent possibilities (refer emergence). In the process of action, people are consensually assessing outcomes - hence the term 'action research' (refer also non-linear process). Actions that may apply or be adapted to suit in similar contexts are also implemented and outcomes assessed. If these adapted ways do not work, they are discarded. What 'works', is repeated and tends to become the norm until something better emerges. What continues to work becomes policy. Policies formed in this way work, as they have emerged from actions that work.

Norms and policies are continually up for review - so everything is viewed tentatively (refer 'kennen) and reviewed continually (refer 'Second Order Cybernetics'). This normative action research becomes the 'way' of all action. All action is 'action research' and action research enables emergence. This 'way' emerges as a normative action research culture of continual action, adapting, renewing, and emergings, towards maintaining and improving wellbeing in all its forms. New action, norms and policies emerge from the flux. Refer Ebb and Flow. The business is constantly being 'co-re-constituted. This 'way' is typically pioneered in INMAs - Inter and Intra Network Normative Model Areas; also refer, 'control').


Objectivity and Subjectivity

‘Objective’ meaning based on facts rather than feelings, prejudices or opinions; having actual existence or reality. ‘Objectivity’ meaning the quality of being objective. ‘Subjectivity’ the quality of possessing perspectives, experiences, feelings, beliefs, desires, and/or power; proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind and inner experience rather than the external world. ‘Intersubjectivity’ is a term relating to my inner experiencing of your inner experiencing of me. A big ‘O’ ‘Objectivity’ recognizes the actual existence of subjective and intersubjective phenomena and includes all of these phenomena in really relating well with others while being intersubjectively in the world. Refer Connexity. Refer Four Aspects of an Organisation for inner and outer aspects of organisations.


On Being Purposefully Tentative

In a world where little is 'black' or 'white' and most is 'shades of grey', where so much is fuzzy and uncertain, being tentative and valuing tentativeness can have value. This also applies in complex contexts placing demands on people and collectivities beyond their current capacity. Recognising when we are being dysfunctional, and evolving and using incapability capability is a way through to a higher functionality. Being tentative is also an essential phase aspect of creativity and innovation. The incompetent thinker, certain that his poor solution is the best and selling it, and in the process collapsing the creative states of talented creative peers, is sadly an oft-played scenario. Another oft repeated scenario is very competent people using their competences incompetently – for example using devil’s advocate competencies in the middle of a group brainstorming session. Being too quick to judgement in order to eliminate tentativeness is dysfunctional (refer dysfunctionality).

An oft-used metaphor to suggest certainty is a building with strong foundations. In fuzzy contexts, which are pervasively complex and uncertain, the ‘building’ metaphor is misleading and a potential source of distortion and deceit based fuzziness. Perhaps in these cases more appropriate metaphors are 'shifting sands', quicksand', 'mire', 'bootstraps' and 'flying by our bootstraps'. It is for this reason the Lexicon uses the expression the 'social constitution of realities' rather than the sociological expression 'the social construction of realities', with the term 'construction' implying, 'building' something 'solid' on 'strong' 'foundations.

The language, which respects, acknowledges, conveys, and expresses fuzziness, uncertainty and tentativeness, is the passive voice and 'softener' words and expressions like, 'perhaps', 'may', 'maybe', 'it may be', 'we could' (rather than 'we will'). The verb 'to be' is avoided ('He is', 'They are').

The 'soft' 'language of tentativeness' has been used extensively throughout this Lexicon. This 'soft' language has been traditionally spurned by business people. It is immediately derided as weak and wishy-washy. The only thing that has been acceptable is expression that conveys absolute certainty and a certain future, even when contexts and futures are far from certain.

The computer spell and grammar check is set to point out and by implication, eliminate, every sentence in the passive voice.

As an example of using fuzzy language, let's say that an enabler is setting up possibilities for self-help among members of a dysfunctional matrix called the 'Innovation Matrix'. These people are currently out of their depth in a challenging complex context. The enabler may say:

'Ideas are emerging for a gathering to explore possibilities. An open agenda may evolve with themes like:

o   finding the edge

o   living with fuzziness

o   exploring 'butterfly effects' emerging from fuzziness

o   recognising abuse and misuse of fuzziness

Perhaps other themes may be added if this gathering gets under way.'

Notice that the person or persons possibly initiating action have been omitted from all of the foregoing sentences. The 'flavour' is that these are 'ideas floating in space' and that members of the matrix may pick up and run with them, if they fully accept ownership of them, and do it all themselves.

Notice the difference in feel if the above is translated to the alternative, certain, zero-sum authority language (refer authentic empowering).

'I am arranging a gathering of the Innovation Matrix so that you can learn skills in handling fuzziness. The agenda is as follows:

o   How do we find the edge?

o   Seven ways we can live with fuzziness

o   Ten ways to increase clarity in our communication

o   Nine ways to recognise when fuzziness is being misused and abused

Please advise me of other themes you want me to include.

This later version will have a familiar ring to most people. It is what tends to happen.

'I am the expert with the solution.
I have made the diagnosis and I know what to do.

I have arranged everything (an extension of the medical model – ‘as expert, I diagnose and prescribe’)
Turn up and I will tell you.'

One way is strong and imposing. The other ways is weak and natural. Water beats rock every time in the long haul - naturally.

Consistent with the rest of this Lexicon, and because the taken-for-granted is so strong, perhaps we may be explicit here - we are suggesting that the weak and fuzzy may, in certain circumstances, be far far and away better than being strong and imposing in our imposing. The tentative suggestion of ideas that staff take up and develop themselves tends to create 'ownership' far ahead of ideas derived by, and imposed by outside experts.


Organizational Metaphors

The following uses various metaphors to enrich understanding of organisations.


Organizations as Living Systems




Being Dynamic

Being Well



Environment interfacing










Life cycle




Nodal point



Second Order Cybernetics




Organizations as Biological Systems



Being ecological


Food chain Interacting systems

Natural selecting




Self organising

Survival of the fitting

Sustainable comparative advantage

Symbiosis (associations advantaging two or more organisms


Organization as an environment

Biological systems





Emergence of shared futures

Environmental ecology







Population ecology



Self organizing






Organization as a Brain




Left brain/Right Brain




Random access


Viral networking


Organization as Holograph

·  Chaos

·  Connexity

·  Dynamic thinking

·  Fractal

·  Holarchy

·  Holon

·  Multidimensional

·  The whole in every part


Organization as culture


Creating cultural contexts

Culture shift

Cultural mapping

Definition of the situation/context

Intercultural awareness and action


Paradigm shift

People and people systems as socially constituted realities

Placemaking and event making

Recognizing multiple cultures within/without the organization

Respect for cultural diversity

Shared realities

Socially constituting realities


Organizations as New Physics

All is flux

Bifurcation point

Chaos - randomness with constraints

Creating energy

Energy and matter are interchangeable

Energy out of the vacuum

Holding ourselves up with our bootstraps - No fixed foundations

Influencing chaos

Its all rhythm and dance

Phase space

Spotting changes and trends

Strange attractors

Symmetry, design and functionality emerges from chaos

Things have a tendency to exist


Organizations as Community





Developing each other

Helping you helps me

Mutual respect


Self help

Self organising Sustaining

We all serve each other

We are all in this together


Organizations as Habitat


Physical factors:

·         soil

·         moisture

·         temperature range

·         available light

Biotic factors:

·         available food and water

·         presence of predators.


·         geographic area

·         body of its host or even a cell within the host's body



A few words in a sentence surrounded by brackets are said to be in parenthesis. Being parenthetical means that you bracket yourself off from being immersed in the taken-for-granted of the organization or subsection. You have not ‘gone native’ as in the ‘anthropological’ (a similar metaphor to parenthesis). Being parenthetical may support attending to and perceiving dysfunctional processes and meta-processes being used by the locals. It may support sensing and identifying the taken for granted and the undiscussable.


It is possible to have switching of state between deep immersion in a context (awareness of awareness of an associated state) and being dissociated so that one can step outside as a disengaged observer. Refer A video of Dr Neville Yeomans on Handling Criticism Well at the end of the 19 Audio Files.



To subject a system, moving object, or process to an influence tending to alter its normal or regular state or path. Perturbing may lead to Bifurcation


Phase Portrait

A phase portrait is a picture of how a system dynamically behaves across multiple dimensions. In other terms, a phase portrait is a map of (all) the potential behaviours of the system. A phase portrait has the potential to grow to reflect the new capability of the system as a whole. 'Phase portrait' is a term that derives from the mathematics of chaos. It may have useful business applications.

A particular pattern of oscillation, which the system tends to remain in, is called a basin of attraction. Complex phase portraits contain many different attractors. For example, a pendulum shows different patterns of oscillation in relation to impulses it receives. Occupying the centre of a basin of attraction is an attractor. (Refer 'Emergence of Resonant Strange Attractors).

Attractors do not control behaviour so much as exert a field of influence that the system responds to. In the course of its life, a complex system moves between constellations of attractors. The movement from one phase portrait to another cannot be ascribed to a random phenomenon; rather it seems to be determined by some kind of 'complex’ interactive computation, and this holds true from single-celled organisms to multi-celled beings like us. The phase portrait may be a valuable concept, which may help us to look at the superficial behaviours and 'mechanisms' of the system as well as the underlying living processes (refer 'Objectivity).

Could phase portraits be made of our organization, and the way energy flows - the patterns of oscillation? The fields of influence? The attractors? The strange attractors? If so, what would they look like? How useful would they be? 'Phase portrait' is also discussed in the context of dysfunction in that entry in this Lexicon.



From polis the gatekeeper (see limin). In older times the gate was the growth point for exports and imports and the gatekeepers primary function was ensuring the growth of the system.



Refer 'Normative Action Research'



From processus/procedere - to go (into procession). It typically connotes a linear sequence of actions, a series, how things are done. In using natural business concepts, action may unfold as a non-linear process.


Process and Outcome approaches

Business people tend to focus on the content of what is happening. Many business people do not perceive or notice or attend to the process they or others are using. They tend not to sense how things are happening. They lack process perception.

In seeking change, are we attending to what is happening as well as how it is happening along the way? Visually, what, where, and how things are happening are processed by different parts of our brain (what is processed in the temporal lobe and how and where are processed in the parietal lobe).

A focus on final outcomes may lead us to non-attend to current process.

A focus on final outcomes may tend to lead us into control-oriented ways of thinking and doing, which may be appropriate for transactions with machines but generally inappropriate for transactions with and within living complex systems (refer 'self-embedded phenomena', 'kennen' and 'objectivity').

Often we end up producing the opposite result in the long term to what we achieved in the short term because living systems are highly resistant to control-oriented transactions (refer discussion on top down imposed control compared with natural system control in 'Authentic Power'.

Including a focus on process in our approach to enabling change helps us to attend to the quality of interactions in real-time as well as developing depth of mutual sensitivity and awareness that can lead us to new possibilities and emergent pathways of growth which we could not separately imagine. Refer 'dichten and denker', 'interpreting', 'kennen', 'logic' and 'objectivity').

Attention to process enables possible access to the realm of all possible outcomes. Fixation on predetermined outcomes tends to constrain awareness of possibilities and quite often retards emergent processes (refer 4 quadrant sensing in 'Objectivity'). Refer Four Aspects of an Organisation.

Attending to and perceiving the processes being used to carry out a process (metaprocess – the processes we use in observing and using process) is typically a competence that few business people have. Processes are available to acquire metaprocess attending competencies.



There has been a long history of some Australian business people attempting to do business on the naive assumption that their Asian counterparts live in the same world as they do. While trivially true, the reality of everyday life differs radically between the Asian and Australian. There are different cultures, values, norms, protocols, beliefs, ways of doing business, frames of reference etc.

We tend to not notice that we in Australia do experience multiple realities. In the cartoon reality the coyote always bounces back to have another go at the roadrunner. The rise and fall of the curtain marks the beginning and end of the play reality. This hints that we do mark boundaries. Snoopy does not leave the cartoon frame and run around on the finance pages. The blue-collar workers' reality may be profoundly different to the reality of senior management. It is possible to move between realities. A few do it really well. Realities are social constituted and hence can be re-constituted (refer co-re-constituted).



Similar to roleplay with the change to engaging in real-time business process as if it was roleplay - hence a shared state with increased focus on attending to content and process and metaprocess, with some/all participants assigned to observer and feedback roles, with a shared understanding that ongoing action can be frozen at anytime to go into a feedback/review mode for a short time. Realplay may be an aspect of normative action research and INMAs. Refer Hypothetical Realplay.



See Co-reconstituting



Natural systems typically have massive redundancy. Think of the abundance of healthy sperm counts, or the release of an egg a month through childbearing years. The thousands of acorns that drop each year. It is natural in natural systems to have resources superfluous to requirements. We are told we use a minuscule portion of our brain and central nervous systems capacity. Now we find that the very micro-tubular material at the core of our structure also has mind-boggling 'information carrying and processing capabilities'. This magnifies beyond imagination our information processing capacity. Our personal redundancy is astronomic! Refer Emergence of Resonant Strange Attractors in Business.

Natural system connexity thrives by living well with redundancy (refer Business Surviving and Thriving). In natural systems, an increase in redundancy adds to the system's richness.

Increasing redundancy in traditional hierarchical organisations requires, of necessity, more system energy to be diverted to the control function. Traditional hierarchical organisations have made imposed control through zero-sum authority a central aspect (refer authentic empowering).

In natural systems, control is pervasively woven in with all the other pervasive aspects (refer autopoiesis, connexity and holon).

A simple example of redundancy in business is multiskilling.

Business organisations may usefully explore new ways of working with system abundance and control.



To reify a system is to assume that system aspects are 'god given and immutable (unchangeable). Reifying is a prevalent view and a distortion (refer 'reconstituting'). Reification is sustained by distortion and the language of distortion - especially, 'necessity' and 'impossibility' - 'We have to' (necessity), and 'We can't' (impossibility).


Relational Mediating

The mediator is a peace-maker. S/he is a middle friend to two or more conflicted people. S/he helps ease disputes and stop fights. S/he is neutral – this means not one side or the other, but for the goodness in both or all involved. The mediator is someone who can help people to find the good in each other; and to dream up agreeable new ways. They can then learn to sort things out in a safe, friendly and respectful way. They help negotiate and clarify differences in meaning. As matters are resolved side by side and in harmony, nasty arguments go away. Mediators help people to listen to and hear each other, to tune in, to understand and to step into each other’s feelings. They can see eye to eye, feel good and be in balance. People find common ground and begin to trust and respect each other more. Relational mediators enable people to move beyond conflict toward relating well.  Relational Mediators details of how this form of mediation differ from traditional mediation.



From Latin Religio to reconnect


Second Order Cybernetics

Refer Cybernetics


Self Organizing Systems

Natural systems are self-organizing. The random falling rain makes a groove.




This groove increases the chance that some later falling rain will run into the groove and deepen and widen it. These groove systems expand to become complex creek and river systems. Creek and river systems have self-organised.




During the past decades of tightly controlled business organizations, there has always been what has been called, 'the informal organization' - the grapevine, the buddy network and the like, which are all typically self-organising. It is possible for a business entity to encourage self-organizing structures and still hold these less formal, non-linear structures accountable for results.

Connexity based business networks (matrices - refer matrix) tap into the energy and capability of self organizing action where local-knowing driven action-research contains an inherent control function - evaluation and assessment of outcomes is an integral aspect (refer 'Normative Action Research').

Act, and if it works, replicate. Consensually validated 'outcomes that work' become informal policy. That is, informal policy becomes, 'that which works'.

Self-organisation manifests as dissipative structures: the spontaneous emergence of new behaviours and relationships that were not evident in the system in its close-to-equilibrium state. These new behaviours and relationships allow the system to get where it needs to go more effectively and efficiently. An example from nature is a vortex that forms as water escapes through a drain.


Self-embedded Phenomena

Things which in their organisation and structure reflect the bigger systems that they are part of, and the subsystems which they consist of (refer 'Fractal' and 'Holon').

The unfolding of these phenomena in time and space reveals rich layering of meaning (laminas), movement and context. Living systems tend to be nested in this way - interconnected by dense networks of feedback processes.



'Self-help' and 'self organisation' are resonant natural biological process. In natural systems, knowing how to act is intrinsic. Typically, those who are part of the system (the parties) know it best. They are familiar with the local contexts. This has become apparent to many senior people in 'lock out of staff' contexts. Much of the wisdom is at the floor level.

Expressed differently, actual 'expert' level knowledge and wisdom typically exists within a system, not outside of it. Both enabling strategies and the natural flow of self-help may, in fertile contexts, evoke and enable people to make the transition from inhibiters and conservers of rigid rule bound organizations, to designers and re-designers of fluid functional and adaptive systems and organizations.

Over the pass forty years there has been constant resistance to the notion of worker participation. Back in the early seventies a document purporting to be Businesses Response to the notion of ‘worker participation’ had as one of its main planks ‘giving the worker a sense of participation.

The implication was hidden in this word ‘sense’; the drafters of the document did not use the word ‘actual’. Many processes have been set up to give the workers a token 'sense' of participation. That is - only sense of participating - not actual participating. Almost invariably workers could see through this. The consequence has often been a withdrawal of wisdom contribution, ambivalence, indifference, and non or token cooperation.

A pervasive issue flowing from imposed change on people is 'lack of ownership' of the change. The outside expert that comes in and 'does it for people' can dis-empower people. An alternative is for an outsider to assume an 'enabler of possibilities' role and a 'co-learner' role in supporting and fostering self-help.

Self-help is the most potent process for constituting ownership of a process.

Natural Business Concepts tend towards creating contexts where, while all prudent control is maintained by senior people, innovative ways are constantly being explored towards actually tapping into the potency of living systems natural propensity to use self-help for 'self organising' - with the consequent diversifying of control prerogatives and processes. As an example, in some contexts accountability has been delegated to a matrix of peers working in a network.

As an example of self-help in nature, a bird like a kookaburra is not 'taught' to fly. Rather, it is continually provoked by its parents to push the boundaries until it 'discovers' its own capabilities and capacities (see 'Structured and 'Dysfunction).

A key operating principle is that self-help optimises learning, learning-to-learn and co-learning. Features of the self-help paradigm include context based process-driven approaches and context based 'micro-interventions' including micro-experiences.


Social Re-constituting of Business Realities

See Realities


Social Relating




o   Brown depicts the social life world

o   Green depicts the economic life world

o   Blue depicts the political life world

o   Pink depicts innovative action on the margins of the economic and social life worlds


Actions are occurring at the margins. This action potential is mainly not one of power, but of renewing:






patterns of everyday social relations penetrating the social life sphere of society





The economic sphere has for decades been taking over the social life sphere





The political sphere (at all levels of government) has in turn being taking over, by regulation and other process, the economic life sphere AND the social life sphere. More lately, fear has been used as a driver of impositional process.


Some social commentators are noticing that new social phenomena are evolving within new forms of social movements. The transformatory potential of these phenomena is not so much political, or economic; rather it is socio-cultural. Any focus on power relations would miss this shift!


Initiatives are involving people in acting together to take back ability over their own lives. People are exploring taking back agency by engaging in self-help and mutual help.


These new forms of social change are transforming the way people relate to each over at the margins.


Some characteristics:


o   Social exchange of experience of things that work – passed on in Social Networks in everyday life and through the Internet – using small and large gatherings, celebrations and festivals for evolving enabling environments

o   Transforming ways of social relating

o   Complementing top down organizing with self-organising processes (the adaptation of the grapevine to emergent phenomena

o   Engaging in self-help and mutual-help

Recognising these new forms of social change, the knowledge management section of one semi-government body began tuning into three very separate, though non-engaging informal social networks amongst their staff, that were a self-organising phenomenon. Each network was made up of staff from differing professional backgrounds. These networks were making a very significant contribution to the organizations functioning. The networks absolutely resisted any outside management attempt to ‘improve’ them, and resisted any attempts to set up cooperating between the three networks. The networks were left to self-organise informally (as they had been doing very well) and left alone to function alongside the formal organisation.


Speech Acts

In Business it has significance to recognize that typically, speaking can have massive consequences. Speech may embody what may be called ‘speech acts’, where the speech is more than an utterance; the speech is an act with transformative consequences. An example of a speech act from another context is the words of the marriage celebrant, ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife together’. These words are a speech act, and they have transformative consequences.



A shared mood that attunes people together. While very palpable if noticed, often people are oblivious of this mood shift. The presence of stimmung may massively increase group functioning. On mood – mood is a pervasive aspect of the human condition. We tend to notice people in a ‘bad’ mood. However, mood is such that, as soon as one mood passes it is replaced by another. Processes are available to engender Stimmung in a group. 

Also refer Limin and Liminalizing .


Structural Coupling and Eco-history

The experiences of living systems - eco-history - are recorded in their structure (structural coupling) (refer 'embodiment', 'connexity' and 'dichter and denken'). This experience-structure connectedness occurs at the sub-system structure-experience nexus as well. Often it has a fractal or repeated quality. Whilst individual complex adaptive business systems and business sub-systems may rise or fall, the experimental experiences they acquire, as they 'boldly go where no-one has gone before', tend to be recorded in the complexity of the suprasystems they are nested in.

The Web of Life of the planet has consistently responded to conditions of dynamic complexity, crisis, catastrophe and chaos by system and system aspects self-organising and experimenting in order to produce higher orders of relationship and integration (refer 'emergence').

All complex adaptive business systems must grapple the dynamic complexity of territories, markets, ecologies and environments. Increasingly geo-social and geo-emotional implications are highly significant aspects of the mix.

Being creative and using sustained innovating have significant survival advantages.

Similarly, using adapt-ability appears to be a significant factor in the success of our species, rather than specialising into one role.

At an individual level it's our using our capability of learning rather than any amount that we have learned that delivers advantage in dynamic conditions.


Sickness and Disease Model

People often speak of a business or an organization being ill or sick and needing a 'cure'. Typically, to say that an organisation is 'diseased' is deemed too strong a term. Some contexts are said to be 'toxic'.

Sickness is a perception that a person enters into when they become aware of dysfunction and/or decrease in quality of life.

A medical disease is 'produced' in the process of encountering a medical professional when objective and standardized tests and other diagnostic practice show significant deviation from accepted normal values. Without this deviation from normative values no expert diagnosis is possible, even though the person continues to experience sickness.

In the medical encounter a filter is placed over the person's direct lived experience, through which the expert views and analyses disease. A critical separation is introduced between lived experience and the identified disease problem. Refer Objectivity for a discussion of an exploring of an alternative form of Objectivity, which includes the subjective, and the inter-subjective. Also refer Second Order Cybernetics

'Treatment’ of the 'diagnosed disease' focuses on 'attacking' the problem so as to normalize deviation, which is deemed success. It is highly significant that there is often little or even a negative correlation between treatment of disease and a person's perceived quality of life changes.

A similarity exists with business, when people in different levels of an organizational hierarchy, perceive problems often in widely divergent ways (refer 'realities'). These shared and differing realities together form a rich and complex picture of the organisation as an organism (complex living thing). When a medical model is applied to business, following diagnosis, organisational 'doctors' prescribe solutions. These are often sought through outside-in, top-down driven interventions, which seek to solve identified problems through prescribing.

These interventions may do little to enable and enhance the connexity, wellness and the organic drive to thrive of the organisation, for some good reasons (refer the origins of the term logic); logic - 'the universal principle through which all things are interrelated and all natural events occur'.

Typically, business diagnosticians look at objective criteria. They have historically given less attention to the lived life experience (the subjective and inter-subjective) of the organisation. In terms of the four-quadrant model (refer 'Objectivity’ and Four Aspects of an Organisation), they restrict themselves to the right-hand quadrants only and use pre/first-order cybernetic approaches rather than second order cybernetic approaches.

As an alternative to the 'diagnose and prescribe' approach there are natural enabling processes for fostering an organization's natural thrive capacities. This entails immersing oneself in second order cybernetics using kennen and dichter and denker approaches. Also used is an Objectivity Four Quadrant model approach to connexity with the organisation. See also the 'Illness-Wellness Continuum'. Natural enabling processes are available.



From Latin structura = a fitting together


Structure and Pattern

Complex adaptive systems, including living systems and corporate organisations exhibit two kinds of internal relationships. Structure describes relationships between actual physical components. Pattern (Organisation) describes the nature of the inter-relating and overall interconnecting, which determine the cohering, integrating and functioning of the system.

The Western scientific approach has tended to emphasise structural analysis and neglect exploration into context, organisation and pattern. Recall the origins of the term context - from the Latin contexere : 'to weave together' or 'webmaking'. Small ‘o’ objectivity tends to miss the richness of the Capital ‘O” Objectivity that includes the subject and the inter-subject and every one’s subjective phenomena and lived life subjectivity which is close to the energy and particularly the free energy in the system. Refer Walking and Free Energy.

Complexity science heals (literally makes whole) this artificial separation (refer 'connexity' and 'dichter and denken'). The effective functioning (physiology) of a complex adaptive system is a property of its structure and pattern. It is determined by the quality of physical components plus their connexity and the ability of the system to integrate itself in order to act effectively in a dynamic environment.


Structuring Excellence

A change process where people are placed in a context structuring functional behaviours and functional use of competencies. Simultaneously, the structured context is preventing/interrupting the dysfunctional behaviours and the dysfunctional use of competencies which specific participants tend to use.

This context structuring may create scope for the constituting of new patterns of interaction.

This In turn may allow a group to achieve functional outcomes and be very aware of this, and then adopt their new blend of behaviours and use of competencies as a new group norm. Often, though the people do not even notice the functional shift in their group interaction, and an important consequence of their not noticing is that they do not sabotage their own change work.

This has another significant advantage in that the process bypasses even mentioning the previous dysfunctional behaviours, and also bypasses the attendant possibilities of setting up justifying, blaming, fault-finding, scape-goating and the like, which in turn could also sabotage the change-work.

A simple example. Perhaps a group has a person who persists in jumping in and beginning to selling their own poor idea during a brainstorming session, hence constantly collapsing the brainstorming via interrupting the creative emergence and flow of ideas. This person may be assigned the role of silently recording all of the ideas and silently adding their own ideas to the record.

On contexts where the recognition of dysfunctional behaviour is functional, refer dysfunctionality.


Quick Response Networks

Quick Response Networks are sometimes called Emergency Response Networks. As the name implies, these are networks of people with a range of skills, resources, and access to authority, available to swing into action at very short notice. Refer Rapid Assessing of Local Wellness Psycho-Social Resources & resilience Following Disasters


Tapping into Alternative Sources of Power


Tapping into the power of:


o   active wisdom

o   and in audience

o   attuned mood

o   awareness of awareness both of the specific, and the flow of awareness

o   being aware

o   being flexible

o   connecting and relating

o   decentralising and networking

o   deep communicating within and between self and others

o   experience

o   experiencing all of these powers in their subtle potency

o   experiencing vocation or a calling 

o   focused attending

o   hope and faith linked to passion and wise acts and discerning

o   inter-subjectivity

o   intuiting

o   letting go

o   memory and imagining

o   processing and meta-processing

o   seeding possibilities

o   self feeling

o   self knowing

o   self sensing

o   speech acts

o   the alternative

o   the emerging collective sense of life’s possibilities for better futures

o   the group

o   the unconscious

o   the whole

o   uncertainty

o   using the free energy

o   withdrawing, as in taking back our ability and our power that we have given to others



There is a familiar saying, 'He could not see the wood for the trees'. From deep within a paradigm or world view some things become so commonplace they are not noticed and hence never questioned. Some people however have special perception whereby they can transcend and see things that are never noticed by others, and like the anthropologist in a strange land, notice things that the 'natives' never do, while never becoming one of the natives. Also refer 'parenthetical' and transcendence in the context of holons and bifurcation. Also refer Conceiving the Inconceivable.


Transducing - Changing Energy Form

'Transducing' means changing energy from one form into another. For example the windmill turns wind power into energy for pumping water.

The processes outlined n this Lexicon may transform energy and channel it into wellbeing and healing acts (healing in the original meaning, ‘to make whole’. The energy generated, bottled and consumed in resentment and anger may be transduced into passion for wellbeing action.



The latest neuro-psycho-biological understanding relating to the interplay between our brain and our capacities is that everything is linked to everything. We can chunk our capacities; the big chunk is ‘being’ which can be further chunked into moving, sensing, feeling, thinking and acting. Each and all of these are linked to each other. We say ‘top people have got it all together’; and that is the case. Every bit of functional and dysfunctional behaviour entails integrated patterns within and between moving, sensing, feeling, thinking and acting. Moshe Feldenkrais writes of these integration patterns (1972, p. 39):


A fundamental change in the motor basis within any single integration pattern will break up the cohesion of the whole and thereby leave thought and feeling without anchorage in the patterns of their established routines.


This statement has potent implications. If a change is suddenly introduced to any submode of any of the four aspects moving, sensing, feeling and thinking associated say with recalling something you want to tell someone, you may lose that memory and have to hunt for it again.


A familiar example - a client who is angry may suddenly be interrupted by his mobile phone. This may collapse anger quickly into momentary confusion, which may in turn quickly collapses to puzzlement and curiosity as to who is ringing him, and then to engrossment with the caller. He has changed through a number of states. This all has massive implications for not only changing states, but also for transforming dysfunctional habits within and between people. This also has implications for transforming organisational cultures. More information and processes for changing states and habits are available.



The discerning reader may have noticed that there appears to be different way of being in the world with others that is an underlying thread throughout the Lexicon. This way is a very subtle thing.

One poet said:

 ‘The way, is searching for the Way,’

The Book ‘Coming to one’s Senses – By the Way Volumes One and Two provide glimpses of the Way. It contains over 130 stories, with a number from the business world.



See 'kennen'.


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