Consultants are usually invited to work in an organisation when its own managers are unable to find solutions to business problems. Then expert help is brought in – on a temporary basis. Systemic consulting is uniquely different from any other consulting approach in that it is not the consultant who is the expert, but the organisation itself.
The authors regard organisations as living systems. Their grasp of what makes a living system, its characteristics and to what degree one can recognise them in an organisation, is what they write about in the first chapter. In chapter two they give an insight into the various sources of the systemic approach. In the third chapter they look more deeply into organisations as living systems. They discuss the fundamental needs that must be fulfilled in order to create a perfectly-sound organisational system. They also describe some reaction patterns which organisations might show if one or more of these needs are not met.
In chapter four they encounter the systemic consultant. They start with the basic attitude needed to strengthen organisational systems and continue by elaborating what is so specific about the way the systemic consultant works. There were two reasons for writing the short, fifth, chapter about systemic coaching. There is its relationship with systemic consulting and the fact that many consultants also work as coaches. As the focus of the book is on supporting and strengthening organisational systems, this chapter, about individual coaching, is quite short.
Consultants usually appear in organisations when something has gone wrong or when managers can’t fix the problem themselves. But the systemic approach really can support the prevention of problems. It is satisfying when every person, carrying out their everyday tasks and duties, contributes easily to the vital energy of an organisation. As this is mainly in the hands of team leaders, managers and directors, chapter six offers some preventive and everyday systemic interventions as tools for these groups.
In the seventh and last chapter they will give you an idea of how to look systemically at the world around you.