When I was working in IT we often came back to the saying “never change a running system”.
That’s because a running system found a way to establish itself that keeps it going without interruptions. It came into a regulated state where all the everyday situations are covered.
Getting a team into a regulated mode involves designing its workings in such a way that people in a team know how to handle all the ongoing tasks. It’s making daily work broad enough to avoid the boring and small enough to avoid the overwhelming. Which means everything that team is competent to do on its own. It might be making decisions, innovating, as well as the daily grind.
To reach that regulated state and to stay in it there are two main functions to be handled. They are encouraging and repairing. It involves seeing when someone in the team needs support, may it be to solve a conflict, to get started, or to continue when some setbacks occurred.
Sometimes, regulation, repairing, and encouraging are not sufficient.
That’s when something destabilized the system.
A regulated system becomes destabilized when something out of the ordinary happens. When something is surprising. It’s a crisis. Small or large it doesn’t matter. The agitation in the team will show that it is struggling to get back into the habitual system. That is, the one it had regulated itself into.
It’s the moment a leader needs to step in and offer some stabilization. It includes some type of containment for the agitation and actions that help to settle into a newly regulated system. It can be the previous system or a changed system that integrates new ways to deal with the day to day.
Regulating, encouraging, repairing, and stabilizing work together as a system.
We all experienced how they work. In their very own way, it’s what parents do.
None of them are simple.
Finding a quality that creates the best results is all about fine-tuning these tasks in the group and reducing the need for individuals to auto-stabilize themselves.