Introduction to 5E Management
Secure your organization and environment integrating 5E Management, a new way to redefine relationships.
An interdependent environment to be improved.
Everyone evolves individually, at least, in one collective human organization, whatever it could be.
Every organization interacts each other. An organization could also be a part of a larger structure (an upper level organization); as well it could be composed of multiple sub-organizations. These human organizations could be a company, an individual person, an association, a department, a group, or whatever. All of them could be then belonging to an upper-level structure, such as different societies, countries, or cultures. Finally, all are part of a global environment.
Recent meteorological events remind us of the effects one system could have on others and the consequences that can be on all the subsidiaries. So an insight rises up in our occidental society. Others exist and we are interdependent. Every decision, action or behavior could have an impact on interrelated components, as well we could also be impacted by others.
It would become necessary to coexist collectively so as to existing individually.
These interactions have always existed but impacts have never been as strong and visible as today, as interrelations become more and more numerous, intense and complex.
As impacts become stronger, symptoms of dysfunctions due to a lack of consideration of other systems are becoming more visible every day. But they are too often not taken in account. So all these dysfunctions still increase as long as we don’t want to accept their existence and face their causes. This situation increases the risk to unbalance the global environment until a loss of global ecology. As a matter of fact, the growing gap between intensive interactions and lack of impact analysis on interdependent actors build a trend that shows an individual to grow mindless of others.
Of course, global warming is one of the multiple applications of this, but not only : every relationship is impacted, creating imbalances, inequity and inequality.
As we perceive this situation as a growing vital menace, choice is no more given: Equality of relationships must be enhanced through impact analysis of decisions, behaviors and any kind of communication in order to be conscious that we cannot privilege any more our own development without caring for the impacts it has on others, and so, as a boomerang effect, on ourselves.
A great change management should be then from now initiated through overall environments.
Systemic approach basics
What is a system? Everybody knows, but when an answer is to be given, silence and confusion take place. A system is a delimited form that has a structure, a logical and an ability to exchange, organized so as to reach a goal.
The systems are in interaction each other. Analyzing a system includes knowing the way it is structured, how internal interactions are organized, its resources, objectives and evolution at least.
It is also possible to detail that system through its knowledge, knowhow and art of being.
The system evolves irreversibly toward a larger complexity, thus creating more an increasing disorder, leading itself to disappear. So as to delay the deadline, it seems necessary to reorganize the disorder in order to reach objectives, as much as possible.
As an analogy we could consider a global system composed of socio-economic systems, religious, organizational or biological, themselves part or decomposed within other systems made of similar characteristics.
The project is the master piece of the system evolution and change.
Our global world can be considered as a system, composed of a number of societies, cultures and countries, etc., themselves composed of a cascade of subsystems, which could be either different (heterogeneous) or similar (homogenous). Each one owns its proper structure and logical, organized toward a specific aim with different characteristics.
Another characteristic is that any system is always transforming itself, in a continuous process of change management. If we consider a firm as a system, it is continuously changing. If nothing is done, this system will increase its disorder (entropy). But there is another way to act on the transformation of this system to optimize it and reduce then the disorder created. A new resource will be integrated in that system to produce a positive transformation. This new resource is created from the project output: its deliverable. Then, a more optimized system will be born.
A project is designed to provide a product that will be integrated into the organization to transform it into a new release of organization.
Projects are then the dynamic, the engine of evolution for any system toward a more evolved system. This new system, enhanced by the project product, brings order from the disorder previously created, and is optimized to reach its objectives or reorganized in order to reach new objectives. This new system owns better performance.
The fundamental principle is that projects exist in order to create something new to transform the systems into a more performant system designed to optimize its way to work or objectives to reach. Through this way, a system could the better adapt itself to its continuously changing environment.
From this point of view, if an organization has to adapt itself to his environment, it has to develop projects in order to increase its adaptability and performance.
The main point of systemic reasoning is to consider and analyze a coherent and interdependent set of systems and subsystems, composed each of their own structures, logic and exchanges.
This is called a reference system.
On the other hand, let’s consider a project as a system itself, with its own organization, processes, rules and processes. This project has interdependence with other systems, homogenous our heterogeneous, called the environment, stakeholders, suppliers, etc. Overall will be the reference system from a project perspective.
Toward more complex and less secured systems
Our society is composed of individuals, interacting each other in various collective structures that are getting more and more complex, aiming to bring more comfort and more security (is it the real objective of the global system?) These have turned their evolution from the hypothesis of necessary growth and decrease of the risks.
Yet there have been a great number of transformations, thus creating new values and threats for each one of us. Our behavior evolves consequently, thus modifying society and its exchanges as a whole.
Moreover, as explained above, the gap between the intensity of interrelations and the low impact analysis provides a threat to security needs of each system, and then a decrease of collective values such as humanity, helpfulness, family, partnership, evolve slightly toward individual values. However, for society to work, exchanges are necessary. Some agreements or laws (social laws, insurances ...) are settled so as to compensate for that evolution; such laws and agreements are getting more complex. These are not necessarily sufficient to compensate the gap, so the feeling of a less viable system rises.
As new dysfunctional symptoms rise, their impacts are getting stronger on every subsystems, through a cascade dynamic. More and more collective structure, evolving in that way, provide similar signs and alerts, against which the system often remains powerless, intentionally or not.
As these problems are not solved, but increased, the system create a logical of defense based on denial to minimize or ignore the gap, creating a positive thinking or illusion. This is the way we commonly solve a problem. This is true if the hypothesis is that the system initially did not want to create this situation. This dynamic feeds a more individual attitude and then increases the gap.
But another hypothesis could emerge: the willing of the system to create this situation, to magnify and to exploit this deficiency of relationship in order to optimize its own benefits at the expense of the others.
Would that be possible ?
There are different ways to solve this problem.
These dysfunctions create rather complex behaviors influencing the whole of the systems. A large part of these behaviors place systems in unbalanced positions. Subsystem's ineptitude to improve them make preferable to ignore their causes and consequences, the authors or the victims, particularly by excluding them of our point of view (our system of reference). The subsystems then eliminate the symptoms or the one who highlight it. No more symptoms, no more problems. In such situations, the one who raises a problem or an unbalanced situation.... becomes the problem and has to be then eliminated. The problem is the one who shows the problem.
Unfortunately this does not work, because no one could be excluded from the overall system, only from a system of reference. It will always be a part of an interdependent system of ours. So the solution could not be an exclusion.
Some settled systems such as justice, laws, agreements, then turn out to be more or less ineffective. Systems use these different ways of implementation so as to make them work, preserve and secure themselves, but too often carelessly for others.
Harder conflicts become then more and more inevitable and frequent.
People seem to live in systems they create in order to live together and with the others. As the complexity of the interrelations grows, risk to get more insecurity and new instability increases too. A stake is to adapt the regulation of the interrelations faster and in a better quality in order to meet security of everyone, creating and maintaining equity, equality, equilibrium, ecology and efficiency.
Each system evolves differently, and stands on a different stage of maturity. Thus, the world is made of different systems that are getting bigger, the risk that one dominates the others appears to be the only possible issue to survive and satisfying its objectives, by strengthening the balance of power.
Would not there have another way out ?
More durable and stable systems exist
If some systems base their evolution on a continuous growth, some other seems to maintain an interesting balance based on different hypotheses.
Some systems which are not directly interacting with our system have an outstanding stability, which persists functioning since ages. Said to be primitive, as if our society was the only possible evolution. It's interesting to take a minute to consider how these systems work.
Stability does not mean system of reference does not evolve. It has to deal with the speed of change. In this case, the speed is reduced to maximum, creating an illusion of stability. It is only possible if all the systems depending on this system of reference are themselves more or less stable and having very low exchange with speeder environment systems.
A member of UN has highlighted the fact that life quality is rather good in some remote villages on other continents. Simple social structures based on family and direct mutual, a stable familial structure maintained for thousands years collective values, individuals that drew from their environment the very self-steady of personal wealth, without prioritizing individual interests. Growth was not then, and they would live harmoniously in their environment without wanting to control it. They accept and conserve their environment. They accommodate with its rules. Changes are naturally balanced.
These systems have characteristics to live so long.
These systems have a settled social structure, coherent and stable, that goes on since ages. So that is a set of systems and subsystems balanced in their structure, their logic and their exchanges. They are in harmonious bonds, their values are simple and durable.
That equilibrium is compulsory for the system’s durability in their environment.
Nowadays, we start questioning the value of our growth principle which our society is based on. A motion picture was suggesting something interesting: anyone who would overtake on someone else would finally disappear. That way, fundamental values started to reappear in people’s behavior.
Ethics questions without unique answers?
Successive transformations modified our values and our behaviors. Collective values evolve toward individual values. Nowadays, money and power rules the exchanges in our system, at the same time with a decrease of security and confidence.
If systems act this way, risks are that systems don’t hesitate to abuse their power, satisfying their desire for growth, careless for other system’s equilibrium, in order to compensate what they lost. This unbalance may increase until a complete loss of control, making the overall system unpredictable.
Basic things of ecology are then fundamentally modified. Nothing matters but growth and conquest. Systems satisfy through this way personal values, unbalancing other systems and contributing in creating a threat to others and ineluctably to other systems.
What would be the point of serving an organization whose finality is to grow at the expense of the balanced growth of an interdependent system?
What is the responsibility of a person involved as a part of a chain whose finality is to reduce or destroy another system?
Lies, manipulations, abuses of one’s confidence, abuses of power, abuses of role confusion, breaking one’s pledges, creating illusions (wrong pledges) so as to get benefits are these a part of an ethical behavior ?
Biotechnological progress enables humans to interfere with their initial structure. We are able to modify our genes. Could the modification of our initial structure be an Ethical behavior ?
Is there a way of answering these questions, and to determine what is Ethical ? Or do we have to still consider that Ethics are only a personal point of view ?
5E relationship as a global answer to develop systems and relationships
Ethic have multiple definitions and it seems to be difficult to define. There is a time and geographic approach associated.
Ethic has different approaches and definitions through history. In any case, it matters with the relationship with the other one, or with oneself. What is the behavior I decide to have in a defined situation ? What is the decision I take from my own to act or to behave this way ? Different approaches of Ethic consider the motivation, value or consequences of that decision to behave or to act, but behavior associated with the decision to behave this way is the whole premise of Ethics.
It is necessary to position ethics, morals and deontology and laws one toward another, according to the existent concepts and definitions.
Laws express a set of rules and norms of a system. It defines the way the system is supposed to work. It does not mean that it works really this way, but should. A law doesn’t consider the value of an act. For example: it is prohibit to steal. A set of law in the same system should define a global coherent way to work. Law is applicable for countries, and define the way that this country should work. At an organization level, this way to work is defined by rules, procedures, processes, etc.
Moral refer to a notion about what is right and wrong. Moral matters with the value of an act. For example, is it right to steal or it is not ? Moral is not convinced directly by law, but law could integrate a moral rule in its definition in a specific system. For example, lying could be convicted by the moral in a system, but not condemnable by the same system.
Deontology matters with a specific domain, for example profession, to set behaviors rules to be respected for the one belonging to this system. Deontology could be condemnable by a specific entity in place to make the rules respect, but law is stronger than the deontology rule.
Ethic of a system matters with the system decision to act or behave in this way, that will define its own Ethic. Every system has an Ethic taking a decision, depending on which parameters the system placed in priority. Each parameter order defines, in fact, a need that is to be fulfilled in priority. A decision could be compliant with the law, moral, deontology, personal values, or not. But in any case, the system shows a specific ethic taking a decision in that situation. It means that another decision could be compliant to another Ethic in and of a situation. There is not necessarily coherence between all these.
If Ethic could be defined through different ways by prestigious authors or philosophers, the 5E relationship we are talking about here represents the different ethic perspectives.
As all living systems are interdependent, and have a capability to decide how to act or behave in a defined situation, relationship is the central point.
The way the system acts decide and behaves with the other systems defines a kind of relationship. This defines the Ethic he has at this moment. A quality of relationship is so defined.
What would be then the highest quality of relationship ?
Introducing a notion of highest quality means that this relationship would satisfy fully objectives. So what could be the objectives of a system ? Of course, all have different objectives but they all have a common objective. A system is created or born to live as long as possible. It means that every decision a system will take must not place this system in a danger to die, but to live.
A system will always act to live at first. When this objective is fulfilled, it will try to improve its way to live in the best way he considers it is good for him.
At the same time, systems have been created to fulfill specific objectives. For example, a firm is created to manufacture a product in order to satisfy a need of a customer and to create an amount of financial margin. Organizational association is created to act collectively to defend a cause.
So if all systems are taken in account, all decisions, acts, behaviors should satisfy as much as possible 3 objectives. The system :
must maintain his durability to live as long as possible
tries to live as best of possible from his point of view. “The best” could be fundamentally different according to the different systems.
wants to fulfill its specific objectives.
5E approach considers that the first 2 objectives are common objectives for all systems, and the third one is a specific objective. So all system have common and specific objectives to fulfill.
The relationship is the master piece that helps all systems to fulfill their objectives. So they all need to pay attention to the best quality of this relationship in any case of decision, act or behavior, at least when they have an impact to the others. In fact, it also has an impact with the system itself.
What would be the best quality of relationship to put in place in an environment in a specific situation ? 5E approach defines that if a decision, act or behavior could satisfy all the objectives of all the interdependent systems, upper-level systems and subsystems, then the job is done !
This is the heart of 5E relationship coming from systemic approach, decision making process and Ethic approach. All this combined approaches define a theoretical ideal relationship if these characteristics are fully respected with all the interdependent systems : Equitable, Egalitarian, Equilibrium (balanced) , Efficient and Ecological.
Equitable means that the decision, act or behavior itself must meet all the system needs, and common objectives of the interdependent system and of the system itself as well it improves the durability and the quality of life (the best way to live) of the systems.
Egalitarian means that the decision, act or behavior taken by the system must remain in the capability of the interdependent system to do the same.
Equilibrium means that the decision, act or behavior of a system creates or maintain a global balance with the interdependent system.
Efficiency means that the system decision, act or behavior meets all the objectives of the interdependent system as well as its own objectives.
Ecological means that all the interdependent systems are taken in account in the decision, act or behavior. Efficiency, Equilibrium, Egalitarian and Equitable are applicable to all the interdependent systems.
As a matter of fact, 5E approach defines this target as ideal and utopic. BUT the idea is not developing the impossible behavior, but to identify in which direction the system should go according to multiple decisions it takes.
Whatever the system, it has a capability of decision by itself, whatever the degree of liberty he has in a given situation. This means that every system, whatever its degree of dependent on other systems, it has a capability to move.
5E approach also defines a degree of maturity of any behavior, act or decision to show where it is located on the road to perfection, and therefore, what it has to improve to go further. This means also that the system could integrate this parameter in any decision process making : what can the system to improve its decision before it takes the final one ?
As 5E approach is defining the road to a perfect relationship, and that relationship is the key point to all activities in all domains from a decision, act or behavior perspective, 5E approach matters with 5E relationship, 5E decision, 5E behavior and 5E act. 5E could be declined in any activities. 5E becomes a transversal layer to redefine relationship quality in domains such as management, project management, sales, purchase, legal, contract, organization, health, social, resource management, communication, personal development, etc.
When activities in a domain are reviewed with a 5E layer, it will be the preceded by 5E to identify that it is 5E compliant. For example, 5E organization, 5E management, 5E contracts, etc.
For example, defining a 5E organization in a company means that Equity, Equality, Equilibrium, Efficiency and Ecological have been integrated in the organization definition, and all its subsequent activities : organigram or collaborative diagram, processes, procedures, rules, charters, and so on. A process becomes a 5E procedure, and so on.
The systemic approach proposed in this document sets that a degree of maturity of Ethics exists in the relationship existing between systems and subsystems, as the final 5E model is not reachable.
What is learned in this document?
All the different activities are driven by the relationship between people and the different entities they belong to. Relationship is the central point of any interaction between people and organizations.
From the systemic approach perspective, all the systems (organizations and people) are interdependent and react themselves through relationships, that could be more or less formal. All systems have common objectives interdependent together to live as long as possible, individually and collectively. Every decision, act or behavior contributes to the Equity, Equality, Equilibrium, Efficiency and Ecology of each and all together. An unbalanced decision could destabilize the overall system that could rush systems or the overall systems into a loss configuration.
Every decision, act or behavior also contributes to creating the best way to leave and specific objectives for every system. The notion of best is specific to every system, as well the specific objectives of each system.
Defining an ideal relationship shows the road to follow to build a better relationship between all the different systems and for the system of reference. This ideal relationship must meet the difference characteristics : Equity, Equality, Equilibrium, Efficiency and Ecology, called 5E relationship.
5E relationships then could be integrated into every domain and activity to redefine the application of this domain, creating 5E domain compliant. For example 5E management, 5E organization, 5E contract, 5E marketing, 5E processes, 5E communication, 5E decision, and so on.
In the next article, and in a book coming soon, all this will be in detailed, analyzed and precised, with tools and methods to recover non 5E situations to 5E compliant. All this is a already available in the course 5E Management and 5E applicated to project Management on the site www.ethosmanagement.com