Below the Green Line is much, much more than a model or theory – it is a way of being as a leader in an organization. This blog post provides a quick overview of the first chapter of an emerging book about, "Below the Green Line - Theory into Practice." You can find the whole article on my website under Free Resources - Below the Green Line.
Before jumping into my evolving understanding of “below the green line” lets first explore what is generally meant by “Below the Green Line” or the 6 Circle Model. The model comes out of the initial work by Margaret Wheatley and then significantly evolved through the work of Tim Dalmau, Richard Knowles, myself and many, many others. Click here to see a quick summary video of the Below the Green Line in an actual training setting.
Simply put, the genesis of the original model was an attempt to describe the nature of work or the components of work involved in creating successful change in organizations that sticks (sustainable). As originally described the six areas of focus include three areas that are part of the system infrastructure and three areas that have more to do with the human infrastructure. These latter three areas can loosely be talked about as culture.
The top areas are Structure, Process (operations) and Patterns (strategy). Structure describes the ways in which a system organizes itself to conduct business. Operations describe the standard business processes that are used to build consistency and efficiency. Pattern describes the systematic ways in which a system focuses its key strategies to accomplish its mission and goals. These three areas are absolutely essential but not sufficient to bring about and sustain change. Unfortunately many leaders believe and operate as if these are the only components of work to bring about and support organizations and change efforts.
The three areas “below the green line” are essential to organizational health and sustainability. The three areas are Information, Relationships and Identity. Information reflects the nature of how information is shared, how it is utilized in decision-making and how transparent the critical information is to all stakeholders in the system.
Relationships has a far more expansive meaning than is generally thought. It has to do with how a team or organization values its people – their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being; the level of connectivity among people across the system; the value place upon collaboration and high functioning teams; and the level of connectivity of and the type of relationship between key teams, programs and operational systems. It is not just the traditional understanding about a focus on people getting along and liking each other.
Identity refers to the level of shared purpose, meaning, passion, beliefs, values and principles of people in teams and the organization as a whole.
All three areas are completely interconnected. In some ways information is like the vital nutrients for the living system, relationships are the conduits to infuse nutrition throughout the system and the identity is concept or framework (mind) that organizes the system into a unique entity. All three are essential to the well being of the whole.
Just as the top circles are essential but not sufficient, the bottom three circles can’t stand by themselves in a healthy system. A system focus solely on the bottom three circles would be like a social club or a book group where the only purpose is about sharing time together around a common purpose.
“Below the green line” always exists in a team or organization. The question is not about forming “below the green line”, but shaping the below the green line to be most conducive and effective to realize the mission and vision of the organization. As an example, in a highly bureaucratic organization the “below the green line” might we described by the following statements:
For more information about Below the Green Line - Theory into practice you are invited to read more of this article....
November 14 & 15, 2019 - February 14, 2020 (Closed to the Public)
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino City Unified School District. This program is for school leadership teams - Working on the Work.
6 Part Leadership Team Development Program - January 13 & 14th - April 14th & 15, 2020 ( Open to the Public)
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.
January 16 - 17, 2020 (Open to the Public)
This is a 2-day Master Class for Leaders and Consultants. The class is focused on how to diagnose complex organizational issues and how to design effective strategies and interventions based on the diagnosis. No prerequisites are required.
This Program has been postponed until Fall of 2020
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino City Unified School District.
Will Be Offered in Fall of 2020 (Originally scheduled for May 2020)
This is a 2-day Master Class for Leaders and Consultants. The class is focused on how design and facilitate planning conversations using the Process Enneagram developed by Richard Knowles and Tim Dalmau. It is extremely helpful if participants have attended a multi-day Leadership Practices for Challenging Times trainng program delivered by Steve Zuieback.
Fall 2020 - Specific Date TBD (Open to the Public)
This is a powerful 2-day Master Class on the skills and techniques for managing difficult group dynamics. The course is sponsored by the San Bernardino City Unified School District and is open to the public. No prerequistes are required for registering and attending.
Spring 2021 - Specific Date TBD (Open to the Public)
This is a powerful 2-day Master Class on micro skills - the skills and techniques for managing group dynamics. Without an effective use of micro skills, facilitators and leaders tend dto rely too much on facilitation process. The combination of micro skills and effective process is the key to facilitating powerful results for teams and organizations. The course is sponsored by the San Bernardino City Unified School District and is open to the public. No prerequistes are required for registering and attending.
Managing Groups - Fast Track by Michael Grinder
March 2016: Diagnosis- From Theory to Practice
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