The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Primary task

In the context of systems psychodynamics, we’ll often use the concept of the primary task.

It is a concept leaders can utilize to stay attuned to what needs to be done in their organization in contrast to what might be happening. Using this concept facilitates thinking about the way people in the organization can contribute to making it successful.

Typically, the organization’s purpose remains stable. Whereas the primary task is dynamic and depends on the situation the organization finds itself in. The primary task is there to serve the organization’s purpose. Consequently, making the primary task more functional and tangible. It will assist in navigating the organization’s current needs and challenges. Thereby facilitating effective decision-making and action. Considering the link between the organization’s purpose and how the primary task needs to be adapted to contribute to the purpose makes priorities more accessible.

For a leader, the primary task becomes a means to refocus. It becomes a continuous process of reflecting on the current primary task and its alignment with the organization’s purpose. The process gains clarity as it evolves. It also finds meaning in the history and evolution of the primary task itself.

For an individual, the situation is, in theory, easier to grasp. At the core of an individual’s primary task there will always be the individual’s need to preserve his ability to fulfill his commitments, may it be professional or personal responsibilities.




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