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Leaders must look at systems, not just individuals  

Oshry talks about systems as made up of Top, Middle, Bottom and Client spaces. What people experience when in these spaces is predictable - maybe exaggerated or mitigated by personality, but essentially a condition of being in the space. Like wet feet is a condition of being in a puddle! 

 

To quote the introductory foreword to Barry Oshry's book Seeing Systems:

 

​​"Tops are burdened by what feels like unmanageable complexity [ie feel responsibility

Bottoms are oppressed by what they see as uncaring Tops [ie feel vulnerability and disregard]

Middles are torn between the conflicting demands and priorities coming at them [ie feel tearing

 

Customers are let down by non-responsive delivery [ie feel neglect]

When this pattern develops, our tendency is to explain it in terms of the individuals involved or the specific nature of one’'s organisation. This pattern is neither. It is systemic. Unfortunately, there is also a tendency to resist this notion... this is the costly illusion of "system blindness" 

"System blindness is a costly self-delusion" Barry Oshry