Systems Leadership Learning Network
Date: September 22, 2023
Humboldt County Office of Education and Ventura County Office of Education are partnering with the Center for Compassionate Systems Awareness, MIT, and the CCEE to implement Compassionate Systems Awareness to strengthen systems leadership. This collaborative learning network involves design meetings, research events, and training sessions. Central to this endeavor is the promotion of compassionate systems thinking, a holistic approach that emphasizes understanding complex systems and addresses problems with empathy and care.
Key Aspects of the Compassionate Systems Framework:
- Systems Thinking: This framework prioritizes the development of systems thinking tools and practices. It encourages seeing beyond immediate events to understand the deeper systemic structures and the role of mental models and “artifacts” in shaping those structures.
- Systems Sensing: Beyond just understanding systems intellectually, “systems sensing” skills enable individuals to emotionally connect with the multiple realities present in complex situations.
- Beyond Blame: A cornerstone of the framework is understanding problems at a structural level, going beyond blaming individual actors. This systemic understanding emphasizes looking at the broader influences and interactions.
- Balanced Empathy: The framework promotes a type of compassion where one can understand and feel for another without being overwhelmed by their emotions. It’s a more refined state than pure empathy, allowing for care without feeling “emotionally hijacked.”
- Compassion as Systemic Property: Compassion is conceptualized as an inherent systemic trait. It’s about recognizing the systemic forces influencing actions and behaviors.
- Holding Paradoxes: An essential skill in the framework is the ability to acknowledge and understand the interconnectedness, interdependence, and unintended consequences in systems, all while refraining from judgment and maintaining genuine care for everyone involved.
- Comprehensive Care: The essence of this framework is to see the larger system without judgment but with genuine concern for the entire system and every individual within it.