Field Guide “Essentials” — A Series of Three-Frame Tutorials on Dealing with Systemic Abuse

Introduction to “Threetorials” and Art Image Usage

Each Field Guide has between 150 and 200 art illustrations and graphics. These are not incidental images, but were specifically chosen as part of my efforts to “show, not just tell.” I find these “gold guy” images from Fotolia artist Scott Maxwell provide metaphors that demonstrate what abstract concepts look in concrete action. And for some of us, we may remember the art image or graphic as the doorway to the content, while others may find the words a more graspable gateway. In team situations, we should expect to have both of those kinds of learners, along with participants who need other elements to optimize their processes of learning and applying – thought questions, discussion guides, case studies, etc.

This “Essentials” post has a series of three-frame tutorials, or “Threetorials,” as I have sometimes called them. These are drawn from a larger set I’ve been working on that refine 15 complex concepts into sets of 10 slides for each. In the larger sets of 10, the first 3 slides typically introduce a concept framework, and the next 7 give details. I plan to make the full sets of 10 available at some later date, but have not yet determined in what format(s).

In the Threetorials here, the first slide usually gives a definition of the concept framework, or a summary quote about it. The second slide usually gives some kind of visual image, chart, or graphic, plus a few details. (Note my Fotolia licensing information at the bottom of such slides.) The third slide expands on some of the most important points in the first two slides. [Click on the thumbnail image to see a full-screen-size version.]

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Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Transforming Corrupted Systems ~ Part 2


Transforming a Corrupted System (Concluded)

It’s one thing to do research to expose the darkness and pave the way for moving into the light. It’s another to engage on a pathway of transformation that changes a system that’s been hijacked or otherwise corrupted, and work to repair the relational and organizational damage. What does it take on both sides for remediation actions to work? This post considers the complementary attitudes of humility and conciliation, and suggests follow-up examples that show a range of these attitudes in action for individuals, organizations, and larger social systems. Continue reading

Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Transforming Corrupted Systems ~ Part 1

Recent events have made systemic abuse a more common term in news reports and on social media. Though we’re using the phrase more often, I’m not sure most people have more than just a vague idea of what it means. We’d benefit from a more detailed understanding of systems and systemic abuse, if we’re committed to “Do Good Plus Do No Harm.” So, that is where my Futuristguy’s Field Guides Training Series begins.

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Systems and Systemic Abuse

Basics About Systems

A while back, my friend Julie Anne Smith at Spiritual Sounding Board asked if I had a definition of “systemic abuse and cover-up” that she could quote for a blog article she’s been working on. I told her I’d get back to her, as I’d need to talk about a couple different terms in order to get to what she was looking for. Here’s what I came up with, which is an extract from the chapter on “paradigm systems” for dealing with spiritual abuse from a systems perspective.

If we’re going to talk about systemic abuse, first we have to grasp the core concept of systems. Here’s how I describe them:

Systems are a specific set of seven parts—people, principles (beliefs), practices (values and actions), partnerships, processes, products (tangible items or intangible goals), and impacts (personal, social, organizational)—that are all interconnected and function as a unit within some kind of boundaries (one organization, or an entire industry, as examples).

In that sense, we can see a family, work team, church congregation, or non-profit board as a system. Its members (people) work together (partnerships) from a particular worldview (principles) to accomplish goals (products) that are compatible with what they show that they value and how they typically behave (practices). It takes the investment of their intention, time, attention, and resources (processes) to build the level and quality desired in doing something that makes a difference (impacts). [Click on image for a clearer view.]

Seven Elements in Organizational Systems ~ (c) Brad Sargent, Images licensed from Scott Maxwell/Fotolia.

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