Patterns in your company are related to your customer’s patterns and even to patterns in your family. Problems tend to repeat themselves at different levels. In this blog I describe this principle and what you can do to get more insight and transform these patterns.
Visiting a dairy farm
The other day I went for this inspiration walk for my company. This is an interesting way of working on your business, but that is a different subject.
During this walk I passed by this dairy farm. It was a modern stable with a sign which said “Friesland Campina” (“A Dutch dairy company) and it said that you could walk around and visit the farm. For a tour you needed to contact the farmer.
Since I am a curious person, I walked into the stable. I saw a few cows and many empty spots. Apperently many cows were outside, which is good. There were still quite some cows standing inside and they didn’t have much moving space.
Then my eyes caught a corner with many calves. I decided to take a closer look. I must say I was quite shocked by the dirty conditions they were in. They had to walk in their own shit and some were even lying down in it. They didn’t look healthy and it looked like there was something wrong with their feet. There was sawdust on the ground, but it was still nasty looking.
You might wonder what this has to do with business. Well, a whole lot. What I felt while I was watching this was that treating these animals this way is affecting the whole dairy farm and even the whole supply chain and finally the consumers. That’s why I decided to cut down on dairy products myself.
A problem will repeat itself on different levels
From a systemic point of view we see that patterns and problems in a company tend to repeat themselves at various levels. In the case of the dairy farm I wouldn’t be surprised I the ‘legs’ of this company would be dirty and not working well. This can show up in e.g. financial problems (an important leg of a company), issues with the customer (another leg) or the health of the owner (yet another leg). There could also be other ‘legs’ being affected. That would ask for further investigation.
Another pattern could be that this farm experiences little moving space in relation to government regulations or Friesland Campina, the customer for example.
You migth want to blame Friesland Campina or the governemnt if you have experience these problems. It is smarter to dive a little deeper and explore the systemic layer. This way you will find solutions that are more sustainable and might solve other problems at the same time. Ask yourself questions like What patterns are repeating themselves and the various levels? And what can you do to stop this pattern.
I dare to say that if this farmer will treat his calves better and gives his cows more space, he will experience more space and the ‘legs’ of his company will start cleaning up.
Find out which patterns cause the problems in your company to repeat themselves
Business Constellations are a great way to quickly show this deeper layer in organizations and point out the patterns that are causing the problems. That is why I really love this method.
If you would like to explore the repeating patterns without doing a constellation I advise you to do the following. Explore the following levels in your organization and see what patterns are repeating themselves. Be creative in finding the patterns. Sometimes this requires reframing and renaming that what you are experiencing. Like the legs of the calves and the legs of the company. Connect with the essence of the problem and translate this to the next level.
- Patterns your customers are experiencing
What are the questions they are asking? Which problems do they have? What is the core of these questions, what is the connecting energy?
- Patterns between your company and your customers
What characterises your relation with the customers? Which processes go well? Which have problems? What are the common complaints? What is the natural tendency of you and your company when there is tension in the relationship?
- Patterns inside your company
How do employees treat each other? What is the culture? What are the main pitfalls of the company? In case of a one-man business this is more about your own patterns while running the business.
For bigger companies there is also the interaction between the management layers. What characterises these interactions? What are the common issues?
- Patterns of the people inside your business
This is where the family systems come into the picture. What do the employees bring with them from their own systems? What are you bringing from your family system? What patterns from the family you were born in resonate with the patterns in the company and with your customers?
Be aware that I am not talking about good or bad. When you conduct this research, be open without judgement. You are not looking for a scapegoat. Your intention should be to reveal the deeper lying patterns in order to transform your business. This is the only way to make sustainable changes.
And yes, you as a consumer can also chose to connect with certain patterns and to not connect with others. That is why I am cutting down on dairy and when I use dairy products I chose the organic ones.
Please leave a comment telling me what ideas and insights this article gave you.
If you like to learn more about business constellations, check out the agenda for workshops, trainings and webinars.