Principles of Leadership

 Principles of Leadership in Complex Systems

Generated by Elizabeth Sawin, Climate Interactive, with the 4th cohort of Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows, Cobb Hill Ecovillage, July 2009.

  1. Stay humble, stay a learner.
  2. Expand horizons in time and space.
  3. We can draw on analysis and intuition to guide our participation in systems.
  4. A systems view can offer at once practical insights and metaphysical/spiritual insights.
  5. Get the beat. Look where the system has been. Ask yourself where it might be going.
  6. Everything flows.
  7. There is more than one way to fill a bathtub (in flows and outflows).
  8. Feedback orchestrates flows and interconnections.
  9. Reinforcing feedback can serve us with self-sustaining change but it also can push systems out of balance.
  10. Look to balancing loops to maintain systems at a goal; watch for balancing loops that resist your change efforts.

Inspired by Donella Meadows’ article Dancing with Systems.