Seeding Symmathesic Agency
Many change, leadership and OD programmes promise results they rarely deliver. Conventional interventions tend to focus on what is absent, not on what is present which means organisations miss the opportunity to make more of what they have.
Alternative approaches are needed to transform corporate investment into meaningful benefits. In our experience, this means focusing less on driving people on command towards pre-ordained goals; and more on expanding their capacity for Presence in Action (TM) i.e. having the acuity, agility, fluency and artistry to take fit-for-purpose action amidst unpredictable, uncertain conditions – within the context of their roles and contributions in life. Imbuing this approach is our recognition of Natural Inclusion and the Sufficiency Principle which admits (i.e. acknowledges, accepts as valid and allows in) nature’s life-regenerating dance in which Enough=Enough (Enough Equals Enough).
Nora Bateson (2016:169) coined the term “symmathesize – to generate mutual contextual learning through interaction”. In her doctoral inquiry, Louie has developed this further into the concept of “Symmathesic Agency: the meta-conscious capacity to engage in mutual contextual learning through self-centering interaction in place in space in time” (Gardiner, 2022). This weaves in Nora’s new term “symmathesy/symmathesize” with Louie’s own doctoral insights arising from the use of the P6 Constellation in generating the capacity of Presence in Action – which she suggests – seeds the meta-conscious capacity of Symmathesic Agency. This concept has evolved through deep praxis, informed by a complexity thinking paradigm and the principle of Natural Inclusion (Rayner, 2004, 2016, 2017). Arguably, leaders would do well to develop Symmathesic Agency, by extending their capacity to engage with themselves from the inside-out through Presence in Action.