Relationship Matters

Book Bonus: Systems Inspired Leadership

December 08, 2021 CRR Global Season 3
Relationship Matters
Book Bonus: Systems Inspired Leadership
Show Notes Transcript

In this bonus episode of the Relationship Matters Podcast, Katie talks with Marita Fridjhon and Frank Uit de Weerd about their new book, ‘Systems Inspired Leadership: How to tap collective wisdom to navigate change, enhance agility and foster collaboration.’ The book, which topped the Amazon charts Business & Organizational Learning in its first week, offers a powerful alternative for innovative leaders. Instead of an outmoded and ineffective top-down, leader-knows-all style that results in stress, pressure, and anxiety, Systems Inspired Leadership offers a fresh, proven approach for achieving optimal results for organizations.

Systems Inspired Leadership is available to purchase on Amazon.

Marita Fridjhon is co-owner and CEO of CRR Global and mentor to an ever-growing community of practitioners in the field of Relationship Systems work. She designs curriculum and operates training programs in Relationship Systems Work for coaches, executives and teams. She came to this work from an extensive background in Clinical Social Work, Community Development, Process Work, Family Systems Therapy, Business Consulting and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She has an international mentor coaching practice of individuals, partnerships and teams. Her primary focus in coaching is on systemic change, leveraging diversity, creative communication, deep democracy in conflict management and the development of Learning Organizations.

Frank Uit de Weerd is an organizational psychologist and executive/team/systems coach with extensive experience in leadership development, business innovation and cultural transformation. He builds on more than 25 years of international experience in Human Resources with Royal Dutch Shell, where he held assignments in Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, UK), Africa (Gabon) and Asia (Malaysia). He believes that it’s critical for organizations to create a work environment where people feel safe to bring their whole person and where they are supported and encouraged to step into their magnificence. These so-called human-centered organizations create superior results and are key for building a better, more conscious and sustainable world.

For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time

We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity to nature, to the larger whole.

Relationship Matters Season 3 Bonus Episode 




KC – Katie Churchman 

MF - Marita Fridjhon

FW - Frank Uit de Weerd


[Intro 00:00 – 00:06] 


KC – Hello and welcome back to the Relationship Matters podcast. We believe relationship matters, from humanity, to nature to the larger whole. I’m your host, Katie Churchman, and I’m delighted to bring you a special bonus episode of the show in which I talk with Marita Fridjhon and Frank Uit de Weerd about their new book, Systems Inspired Leadership. How to tap collective wisdom to navigate change, enhance agility and foster collaboration. The book tops the Amazon chart’s Business and Organizational Learning in its first week and provides a powerful alternative for innovative leaders. Instead of an outmoded and ineffective top down, leader knows all style that results in stress, pressure and anxiety, systems inspired leadership is a fresh, proven approach for achieving optimal results for an organization. The book brings two streams together. There’s the extensive corporate experience of Frank Uit de Weerd who could clearly see the power and need of the relationship systems approach for leadership in modern organizations. And then there’s the extraordinary experience of Martia Fridjhon, CEO of CRR Global who is not only a thought leader in the field of team coaching and systemic evolution but also a mediator, consultant and team coach in global corporate environments. Both are passionate about bringing systems inspired leadership into the world and it is through their relationship system that this book was born. So without further ado I bring you Marita Fridjhon and Frank Uit de Weerd. 


KC – Frank, Martia, I’m delighted to have you on this special bonus episode of the Relationship Matters podcast, welcome. 


FW – Yeah, great to see you. 


MF – Thank you, always a pleasure. 


KC – Look what arrived in the post today! This lovely feeling book. 


FW – Oh, I recognize it! Don’t you Marita? 


MW – I know! I think I saw somewhere it’s called something about systems inspired leadership? I was so curious when I saw that. 


KC – Well, I’m wondering if we’re able to dive right in at the deep end with this because there’s no denying that we’re living in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and complex world - I mean we only have to look back over the last two years to appreciate that. So, how can systems inspired leadership be an ally for us in this ever changing landscape? 


FW – Thank you so much for the question Katie because I think you are really hitting the core there. The fact is that things are moving so quickly and everything is so uncertain, all of us are lacking information on what the reality is, the reality between brackets so to say. And together, together with many people around us, we can create a picture of what is there and how to move forward and that’s the essence of systems inspired leadership. 


MF – I think the piece I wanted to join with that Frank is something happened just before we started the call that actually demonstrated why we need systems inspired leadership. Katie is a Rockstar in the recording world and in the podcasting world. I’m usually the one with internet problems but today there was a kerfuffle, snaffoo, whatever, and it literally took the three of us to work together on making sure that this recording would happen and would happen the way that we would like for it to happen – that’s an example. When we talk on RSI about systems being in a constant state of emergence, the only that we can create from it is to work together and to realize that even the expert doesn’t always have the answers. And we can lean into one another. So, I always like the examples as they show up in the moment. 


FW – I love what you are saying but also it’s an alliance and interdependence, we depend on each other, we connected and together we created something that none of us knew would be there and would be possible. What’s it like for you Katie, to hear that you’re a title that’s the expert? 


KC – Ah, well that terrifies me, I’m definitely not the tech expert but maybe in this crowd I am, relatively speaking. I wonder though, with that idea of leadership, because a theme through the book is that leadership is a role that belongs to the system. But this can be quite challenging, I imagine, when certain people have the title of leader or leadership is very much within their job description. So, how can we work with those sort of paradoxical principles? 


MF – You know, I think that there is something about, there’s a challenge that we think is there for leaders. When we read through the book the leaders that actually work this way describe that they are more relaxed and that working as a leader is easier. In my own experience as a leader and a CEO of a company and all the other leadership roles that I hold together with other people, very often the biggest challenge is for the stakeholder, is for the people that expect the leader to have all the answers. So very often when you turn it back to the team or to the organization or to whoever sits in a hold the issue that’s being worked with, there is a hesitance to say no but that’s not - you tell us what to do. So I think there’s challenge on both sides but what I’m really aware of is how there is a challenge for employees that are used too and have grown up in a top down leadership role where the leader does have the answer. There’s a big challenge there, there’s a big edge there. So, in both directions. 


KC – Yeah. We certainly worked systemically then, I realized, to solve our tech issues because we all recorded locally, so we’re all leaders, now, of our own recording. 


FW – It is, and I was on the line when Marita said and it may also be useful to make the distinction between a leader and leadership. So it’s a leadership that we hold as a role of the system. Leader is just a job title and we advise the modern leaders, the 21stcentury leaders, systems inspired leaders, to have another view, another way of leading. Like Marita said, it’s not so much top down telling but it’s much more about revealing, revealing what’s there. In a way it’s, I heard it from someone, it’s beautiful, it’s doing less rather than doing more. And that’s also the link, what Marita said, around people said it’s lighter, it’s less stressful, because you don’t carry all the weight on the other shoulders, you can spread it around and count on your people. 


KC – You’re sort of relinquishing control but I can imagine for a lot of people that’s quite scary if they’ve not worked in that way. 


FW – Yep. 


MF – I think so, I think that there is something in systems inspired leadership that is asking from us as leaders to remain in that reflective place of when is it that even in asking people for their input I am pushing my agenda? And how can I help people to cross their edge to then create the systems inspired safety where people would be able to say, you know, I don’t have an answer. And we can continue to ask the question, and when it’s safe enough for me to say as a leader right now I don’t have an answer for you, can we figure this out together? You see how we really need to meet the system, meet the team where they are and not where we expect them to be, it’s that old thing. And it’s incremental. One day I’m really good at systems inspired leader, the other day I suck at it because I want people to act and do the thing… so that’s the reflective place, it’s a continuous journey, there is no there or there. Even for us that reflect on ourselves as systems inspired leaders. 


KC – Mmm. 


MF – It’s a journey. 


FW – Yeah, and if I can build on that Marita, in that holding back or reflecting mode or in the stillness of knowing there’s also a lot of magic, that’s my experience. If you then wait, be still together, something comes up and we talk a lot about emergence, yeah. Emergence is seen as something from the ground or in the earth or wherever it’s coming from is coming up, and it needs a bit of stillness in order to really come up and start flourishing and start manifesting itself in the most beautiful way. And to be open to that magic, for me, is also a beautiful experience, almost a sacred experience. 


MF – I think the other thing that shows up for me when we talk about this is you know in our relationship systems model we talk about the design team alliance, that really is what we now more and more begin to hold a social contract that will create this systemic safety for us in terms of oh, we want to be together when we are doing the work. I was on a call with a team last week at some stage and we’ve now been doing DTAs with them for a long time, design team alliance, and what you just said, Frank, somebody came in and said one of the things that I’ve become aware as we’ve been doing this systems inspired way is that there often is silence because people are thinking. Can we make it part of our DTA that when we’re in silence we will not define it as something bad or that nothing is happening or that people are not engaged, but just ask that question, that’s part of what we have in the book is how to do this, ask the question – what is in the silence? Each one of you just add something. So, it’s those pieces that I think is critical in meeting and knowing that it will feel different and that’s ok! Break from that, is there something trying to emerge? 


FW – Nice. 


KC – It is a talent though because we have biases around filling the space and I guess what comes to mind is how can we create this kind of space in a world that’s moving ever faster? 


FW – So, there is the paradox of what’s called the slowing down in order to go fast. And I think that this is an important experience of leaders, the moment they keep on going and they act and act and act and don’t stay still, they will be in the same patterns all the time. And the only way to break it is to really take this pause. And it is indeed a challenge, really a personal challenge, therefore we also hold, you will see in the book there’s a lot of things you can do, but you also hold your being side who you are as a person is important, to be able to hold it, in particular if you are under pressure, we all know, you get triggered very quickly and if there’s a lot of pressure then the last thing we want is to listen to other’s ideas because they are big obstacles to wait and reflect. It’s quite a being quality there required and that’s the invitation. And I think with experience people see something beautiful is coming out and it’s much more sustainable. 


MF – Yeah, Frank you make me think of when you just earlier talked about roles, the roles brought to the system, so there’s the outer role of leader, team leader, CEO, whatever that is. But also our, what we were talking about is the inner roles which is stylistic, it has to do with my profile, it has to do with whatever test you are talking about. So, one of the things that I’ve seen that is really helpful for leaders that work in this way is to begin to have team members do their own reflection. Am I the one that’s pushing for the decision to be happening? Yes. Ok, now hold that. Who’s the one… but let everyone talk to their preference in how they navigate these. Because those roles, those inner roles, all are expressions of the system. So if we shut one person down then we’re shutting part of the system down, we’re shutting part of the revealing down. But if people begin to see their role/job, if you will, then I can go Katie, I just saw you are ready to make a decision here. Could you hold it, make a note of it, then people can feel seen and valued for the preference that they bring. Because that is the true nature of diversity. So, I think all of that helps us move faster because you know the number of meetings where there’s this person that always jumps in that gets shut down. And then somebody tries to do something, that person jumps in again and that person begins to get the blame, but what is the way that we can allow that voice to be known? We may ask that person to go and sit in another chair and somebody else come and sit in that seat because there’s information there, so I think it’s that piece that is beyond the work that we can write and speak, there is a honoring what is trying to emerge because that is the true definition of systems inspired leadership. 


KC – I just had a thought from what you were saying. Systems inspired leadership is not so much a role, it’s a culture, right? It’s something then that belongs to the whole team you were just using then as an example. 


FW – Yeah, I would underline that, it’s beautiful that you say that Katie. And then we also have for example co-creators and systems inspired safety as one of our key competencies. It is a responsibility of all of us, it’s like Marita says in her example, so someone can say hey, I noticed that you want to take a decision but please hold it. And the invitation is that everyone can say that without disrespecting the outer leader or the outer role of the leader because ultimately he or she may have the authority to take the decision, but there you see the leadership role is flowing and on behalf of everything, of the whole organization or the whole team, yeah, really supporting and surfing the whole rather than being in a strict hierarchy. 


MF – You know, what you were just talking about Frank made me realize that one of the reasons why in the book we laid out the different competencies, and then we were talking about how to do it. Because what I realize is that when we speak on this meta level it may sound confusion, that’s one of the reasons why in the book we try to create the model, lay it out and then provide ways in which you can achieve it. Provide a little test that says where you can score yourself in terms of how are you doing at this competency that is recognizing that each team has its own unique identity. How do I do that? I think that that’s the piece I want to tell to everybody that’s listening. And we also, in the book, talk about you don’t have to read the whole book in order to begin to play with it. Pick a competency and go to how do you do that and do that little test because one of things that I’ve heard so many people talked about recently with that now half read, playing with the book, is how practical it is. So, we may sound theoretical on this call as we talk at the level about it but we want for it to be easily dissectible and achievable. 


KC – That was my takeaway, it’s a guidebook, it’s a guidebook, it’s a handbook and it’s something you’ll reference over time, it’s not something you’ll read once and then it’s one and done. And I think in the book you say read and lead, it’s a reading and leading experience which I loved. 


FW – Like Marita said, that’s what we hear from the reactions now we’re getting and hey, it’s a very pragmatic book and that’s what people appreciate. And for me, one, let’s say particular example of that would be what we call take something that something says as the voice as the system. I was recently in a meeting with a group of colleagues and someone said something about it, he was not feeling so well. Imagine this is a voice of the system, it tells you something about this group, this system, our team. What could it be? And immediately everything shifted because we became much more connected immediately. It’s a very simple technique, everyone can do it. So imagine if this person says something, if that were the voice of a system would be telling something about us. What would it then mean? And immediately you get a different lens. 


MF – Yeah, that thing that Frank’s talking about, again, meta level we hold everything that’s happening in a family, on a team, doesn’t matter the level of the team, doesn’t matter the culture, but everything that happens within that team, is expressed through that team, actually is a systemic event, not just an individual voice. The breakdown in connection this morning is a systemic event. It is not the fault of the expert - and if anybody could see me I would put quotes around that – it’s a systemic event and this was an invitation for the three of us who have never sat in the same conversation, it was an opportunity for us to collectively hold the responsibility of how we do this. That is systems inspired leadership. 


KC – It’s a paradigm shift, would you say? From me to we. 


MF – Yes. 


KC – And suddenly realizing that you can rely on others. It feels safer when I really sort of lean into that. 


MF – Yeah.


FW – Yeah for me there is also when you say that this whole sense of belonging that comes through so strongly. Because the moment you start seeing it like that you become aware that you’re actually part of a bigger whole, you are not alone. Marita also so beautifully said what is trying to happen together? And if you look also in nature how things go, they work together, every piece, there’s a lot of collaboration and in evolution it always becomes more complex, more expressing its potential, so the truth in that, that’s really a bit of relief and giving you a belonging. 


KC – And then I guess wellbeing which is the buzz word right now and it’s something that’s so needed. 


FW – Absolutely. 


MF – Yeah and on a scoring, wellbeing, that sense of belonging that Frank talked about as the belonging, sense of belonging, to being identified in global research is one of the biggest challenges in the corporate world these days. Together with sustainability and sustainability without a sense of belonging is very difficult because that’s when it becomes siloed individual actions. But one thing that I do want to say that I think is important to know is that having a systems inspired leadership approach and doing all the things that we just talked about doesn’t mean that the book doesn’t stop anywhere. It doesn’t mean that at some stage there may be a majority vote or there may be whatever and the leader, having used this input model, having used the stuff that we talked about just now, will make the decision. So it’s not about shrugging the responsibility of accountability from the outer role. I think that’s one of the things that in the teal movement got misconstrued and it’s being corrected now but it’s not about nobody takes responsibility. 


FW – Yeah, and building on that, it’s also not about endless conversations all the time and going in circles all the time, no, it’s indeed an effort to get all the information on the table so you can make a much more informed decision. And you will disappoint some parts of the group of the people, and maybe you can explain why you made the certain decision and some people will leave as a result but that’s fine, you move forward. That’s our advocacy. 


KC – Someone gave me a great example recently about how you’ve got two arms and they’re separate but they’re part of the same body and you need them to work together, and it sounds like systems inspired leadership brings that cohesion to organizations. 


MF – I think so, and then you know I think the other thing that I would say in this is there are other models around that is doing this. There are leadership models that are already adhering and doing this so I think all of us just have different ways of framing it. But the work that we’re doing and the emergence of the new leadership style and methodology really is the creating from and expanding on modern systems thinking that is in the process of being shaped and evolved and it’s just another expression of it. 


KC – And an important one I’m going to add. 


FW – What I love about you saying that Marita is we don’t claim that although it’s a paradigm shift that it’s something unique for us. We’re also an expression of something that emerged. This Covid world needs a different style of leadership and we need to rely much more on each other and we need to become much more aware that we are part of bigger wholes, really start listening to that and then co-create from there. 


KC – I see, I see your point, this isn’t just out of you two, I hear from so many clients that leadership just isn’t working. 


FW – As we said before, this magical emergence process that’s happening all the time, that willingness to expand, to evolve, to reach a bigger potential, we’re all part of this, be a part of nature, part of evolution and here we go. 


MF – One of the ways in which in feels to me as if we do, there are two places where it feels like we are bringing something that’s more unique and it is also being picked up, is the notion that we want to receive in a systems inspired leadership model, we want to receive information not only from the individual members but from the system itself, that’s the piece that many people still struggle. But it literally is let’s hear from everybody because the system can only be heard through the voice of other people. The system can be seen through constellations of how people sit together, how people gather, what they do together, who talks to who, so constellations is part of seeing the system. Hearing the system is part of having everybody’s input but there is the place where we need to be able to sit down in the space of whatever the challenge is or in the space of the team or in the space of the organization, and the example that I’ve used with you in the past Katie is that right in the middle of the pandemic when I was working with different teams and different people, at some stage you had to be able to sit down and ask people after they’ve said all they wanted to say about Covid and how bad it is and all true, now go sit in the seat of Covid 19, what does it want to say to us? And it was an amazing experience. And what it talked about was I will stay around for long enough that you are able to get the chance, all of you, to create new ways of being together because if I leave too soon you’ll go back to the old ways. Now, we can make it up as California woo woo or whatever we want to call it but there is something about that that we’ve seen over and over and over again. Once you begin to ask the system itself, what does it want? And it’s something that Frank and I had the experience of in writing the book together, and working with Howard Vanness, our amazing editor, who worked with us and consulted with us. There comes a moment where there’s a disagreement between us and the best place to go then is to say what does the book want? What does the systems inspired leadership need from us? That is the revealing of the system and once you reveal the system to itself it finds and gives us its own answer. That’s very different. So it’s that thing that we call the third entity or the system itself. What does it want? What does it know that we don’t? 


FW – and this is a typically beautiful example, Marita, and to echo what you say also about how we wrote a book together so to say. And this is a space of experience. You need to do it, so if people think that they here yeah, I can’t understand, the invitation is to try doing it! If you’re part of a team or part of a family, so imagine that you are the family and you really embody that, and really be open in how you’re being, what’s the information coming through? See whether it works. And it works, don’t ask us how it works, but it works. So we can benefit from the information that’s becoming available. 


KC – Things emerge when relationships spark and we can either ignore that and push against it or we can lean into it and I think you two are a great example of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This book wouldn’t be what it is without both of you leaning into that space. 


MF – Well, and the thing we often talked about, the book wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t interview 30+ people who have been trained and applying it, that became the resource from which we could map the parts that we had and see it manifested in the street and in the board room. So, again, when you ask the question who wrote the book, the third entity of Frank and Marita but then we couldn’t do it without a Howard and we couldn’t do it without a Katie whom we have spent however many podcasts that helped manifest this thing, and then if we didn’t have our practitioners that contributed… can you see how we always look at the performing individual or whatever, but behind that is an entire system, multiple layers that actually practice that, that’s huge. 


FW – And it’s underlying the interdependence that’s there. And it’s also sometimes this, yeah this random encounters. You have an issue, you’re thinking how to do it, I remember that when I did an interview with a potential coachee and this person said something and then I knew I have the first two sentences of the book now, that’s just a gift. 


KC – Wow. So I know see what you were meaning Marita when you said this is just our contribution, because you were trying to refer to that whole system, all those sort of people thar aren’t necessarily here today that have led to this book that is, I guess, created out of systems inspired leadership. 


MF – Yeah, and those conversations, if I go back on it now and I think about the number of times that I had a disagreement with a faculty member or when we had a disagreement with the accrediting ICF or… that’s the piece that conflict is a signal of something new trying to happen and the changes come from that. So, it’s not always an easy journey but don’t see those events as negative, it actually is a creative part of what’s trying to happen. 


KC – And it’s a shifting from that individualist lens that we so often look through to that we space, that collective space. 


MF – I think so. 


KC – I imagine goes beyond humanity, right, and we can lean into nature and the world and those pieces we’re neglecting right now. 


MF – I think so, I really do, that’s a really good point Katie. That when we’re looking at creating society 5.0 we’re fighting global climate change, how do we do it from a systems inspired place? That’s a very different question. 


FW – Yeah, for me it’s really holding then that you’re a part of this bigger whole and that you’re an instrument for it. And not an instrument in a very sectional way but really that’s the paradox, in order to contribute most to this whole, also to be the most authentic, so what is my voice, what do I think about it? Voice it. But not so much to get at them but trust that this is information that will help this whole system go. And that requires what Marita was also referring too in terms of conflict. Also acknowledging that people have different point of views, that there may be a truth in it, there is a truth in it. That’s also what we call the systems inspired rule, that everyone is right partially. Can you take that point of view? Can you really live with that and then move it forward, and trust that there is an answer if you give birth through an emerging process, emergence process, that something good will come out although it may not look so beautiful maybe initially. 


MF – And you know, it’s always this also something about the systems in a constant stage of emergence that somethings will have to fall down, if we’re looking at what’s happening in the world at the moment around violence and around aggression and around filling the blanks, there are things that will get burnt, there are things that will fall down and that’s the nature of systems. And something new will emerge from that. Just because we don’t know what that is doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. So, I think that’s the other piece, we need to know, one of the things that we talk about in our courses is you can help an elephant that’s trying to get up, but you cannot help an elephant that’s trying to fall down. Some teams, some organizations are trying to fall down. Help it to fall down or allow it to fall down and find the places that needs to be rebuilt in what that looks like. 


FW – Now you see how much stress that requires inside yourself, our confidence is this is actually birthing something really good. 


MF – Yeah, I know. 


FW – And I think the invitation is for people to really reflect about it in your own lives, you’ll also see that things that were tough may have contained the biggest gains. 


KC – Such profound work, I don’t think I expected to come away with this idea of systems inspired leadership being ideally the waters we swim in. I had a client today who was complaining about their culture at work, they were always getting emailed and they had to reply and I said well aren’t you part of that culture, aren’t you compliant in replying and there’s this sense sometimes that it’s out there and actually when we think about systems inspired leadership and we embrace it then suddenly we’re a part of that culture and that change, hopefully. 


FW – We are all part of the bigger whole. We are part of human evolution in a way, that’s maybe the highest form. But we’re all a part and we’re all connected. There’s somewhere in the book we also say we may still be a bit adolescent of human nature and be a bit more mindful of the interests of all people and let’s optimize around, say, the whole rather than only some powerful elements. 


KC – I’m wondering if we can zoom back in to planet earth, we always tend to do this on calls, Marita and I end up going to sort of the universe and beyond. Bringing it back to systems inspired leadership in organizations, someone listening to this podcast who’s never come across this term before, what’s the one thing you’d like them to take away from today? 


MF – I would say to know that if, you know, the saying, the intelligence that talks about ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together’. Part of what we’re seeing is that in order to go far we have to be agile, we have to make some decisions fast, but there’s a long term piece that we have to be able to navigate so that we can look further into the future and also make the determination now. I think the speed of change that is happening at the moment, Covid did so much of that, there are some things that we have to do fast. But let that not be the only way that you navigate the challenges of your organization, the challenges of your team. Do the things that need to be done immediately, absolutely, but don’t hold it as the final decision. Do the long term piece as well, get as much information, dialogue, input from everybody and let them figure it out! Spend time on that and then take some of that information and begin to build something that is more sustainable. That’s the thing that research talked about, how do we build fast but sustainable? In order to build fast but sustainable there are parts where we will have to go slow, that’s not a failure, that actually is a success of the feature. 


FW – Yeah, for me the invitation for people is to take a systems view. That’s what I see most. If I interreact with people they always look at hey, this is a bad person or this department is not working well. And it really looks at the parts so there’s something wrong with the individual, but know that they are actually part of a rep of relationships and it’s the quality of these relationships that will determine success. And my wish is really invite people to look through the systemic lens and the interesting thing there is what we’ve said before, to consider everything you hear as a voice of the system. How could it be? And so for example, I heard recently that this guy John is a bad guy. Ok. He behaves bad. So what if that could be a voice of the system, what could be difficult for him or her? If you start looking at that things will shift. 


MF – I love what you just said there Frank because there’s this one time that I was doing something similar and said yeah ok, we’ve got that chair, that’s bad and terrible, but let’s just look back over the last couple of weeks, where is it that everybody else did the same thing just more skillfully? And there was a moment and then people started laughing because there’s the person that does conflict in a bad way but all of us do the conflict, some of us are just a lot more sophisticated. If I look at the Gottman material and I listen to some of the couples that he’s worked with, ok, now we never do that in our relationship, but then I look and we’re doing exactly the same blaming, exactly the same contempt, just so much more sophisticated. SO don’t think you’re not doing it. We’re just more sophisticated. So that’s a systemic event and that’s what Frank, I think, is talking about, look at all these things, if it’s a bad expression yes it’s a bad way to express it but what about this is systemic, where else do we see this happening, that’s the piece. It’s way too easy to blame the complainer. 


KC – Oh, it’s been such a joy to talk with your third entity today. There’s such a beautiful passion but also vulnerability, the fact you own that you’re still living and learning this day by day and I think that is the lesson and the takeaway isn’t it, this isn’t something you get a certificate for and it’s done, this is a life long journey. 


MF – I think that’s the big takeaway. 


FW – Yeah, and building on that I also think the book is wiser than the two of us. 


MF – I love that Frank, say that again! 


FW – No, the book is wiser than both of us, I’m sure! If we read it in 10 years’ time we will discover some new insight, some new layers, some new depths. That’s what I find really interesting. 


KC – The book is here with us. 


MF – Yeah, the book is here with us, the third entity of the book is here with us. I think as I listen to all our conversation that there maybe is a future podcast where we begin to look at the competencies that we hold for systems inspired leadership because I realize that this is very much a meta view, it’s a great conversation to get this started and I love it. 


FW – Yeah, and people will grow into it and it will become much more manifest day by day because the world needs it and it’s happening, so it’s coming. 


MF – The other thing that I want people to be aware of and see whether you can collect and count the ways where a child or somebody that you didn’t expect it from actually knew what to do in a bad situation, because you see that over and over again. It’s like that original tribe that in an morning they sit around the camp fire and they ask the children to share their dreams because they believe that the dreams of children have information, uncontaminated from what adults have, that’s a role that lives in that system with children. Begin to look around the places where that is manifest today, every single day. 


KC – Gosh, that’s beautiful. What a wonderful idea. Thank you both, I wish you even more success with the launch of the book and I hope that there are a series of future podcasts, I feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface with these conversations. 


MF – So thank you Katie, as always, you’re amazing in holding this role, thank you, thank you. 


FW – Thank you so much indeed. It’s really nice to be with you and talk to you, you pull the words out of us very easily. 


MF – Thanks Katie. 


KC – Thank you both, take care. 


[Outro begins 37:53] 


KC – A huge thanks to Marita and Frank for sharing their roadmap for collective growth and change. By tapping the collective wisdom of the organization systems inspired leadership can help organizations overcome barriers and open doors to growth and innovation. With meaningful collaboration at its core, systems inspired leadership inspires everyone to learn new ways of being, taking action and developing conscious intentional relationships resulting in improved job engagement, greater sense of belonging and personal growth. Some of the benefits of systems inspired leadership include sustainable results, engaged and empowered team members, enhanced agility and capacity to navigate change, increased self-confidence and awareness, less stress and overwhelm for everyone and a collaborative we culture in which people work together as a unified whole. Systems InspiredLeadership is available to buy know and will be an invaluable guide book for you and your organization. To find out more about the work behind the book do check out For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time. We believe Relationship Matters from humanity to nature to the larger whole.


[Outro 39:48 – end]