The inventor Buckminster Fuller was fond of holding up his hand and asking people, “What is this?” Invariably, they would respond, “It’s a hand.” He would then point out that the cells that made up that hand were continually dying and regenerating themselves. What seems tangible is continually changing: in fact, a had is completely re-created within a year or so. So when we see a hand – or an entire body or any living system – as a static “thing,” we are mistaken. “What you see is not a hand,” said Fuller. “It is a ‘patterned integrity,’ the universe’s capability to create hands.”

Extract from ‘Presense – Human Purpose and the Field of the Future’ (Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers)

‘What seems tangible is continually changing: in fact, a hand is completely re-created within a year or so.’ This same observation could be made of business and organizations. When we look at teams we are tempted to think of them as concrete stable things – when in fact they are constantly changing. Even the bodies making up the team are being continually replaced. Trying to keep a team in fixed state is like a person rowing a boat furiously in an attempt to stay in the one place in a river. Eventuly they tire and have to allow the flow to carry the boat. We should remember that although we can’t hold the boat in the same place – we CAN steer the boat – and that is what collaborative leadership is.