CornerStone Consulting AssociatesCurrent Reality
Current Realities: Organizational Learning and Growth

Making The Invisible Barriers Visible

Human beings tend to be ”wall-builders.” Sometimes walls are built intentionally, but most often it is done through unawareness and ”learned” patterns of behavior. As organizations and teams evolve, walls become more proliferate and rigid -- ultimately isolating us. We do this ”to” ourselves. And since we ”do it”, we can also learn and practice ”not to do it.”

Quite often we attempt to remove the barriers impeding teamwork and collaboration, but only succeed in renaming them. Instead of eliminating their effect, we only make the barriers more rigid.

Helping people to see the walls, or barriers, that are present in their organization is a major step forward. On the other hand, while barriers are dysfunctional, boundaries serve a useful purpose. Boundaries are necessary in order to make distinctions and for a group of people to learn and perform together.

We can learn to recognize useful boundaries instead of building barrier walls. Useful boundaries have these qualities:
  • They include more, rather than fewer people.
  • They are soft and organic, rather than hard and rigid.
  • They evolve to meet our needs, rather than solidifying in stagnation.
  • They serve to positively structure and enable our organizations.
  • They include more and more of the whole human / business system as we ourselves develop.
  • They include an environment that helps us learn and grow.
Making the invisible barriers visible gives people courage to approach the barriers with a posture of discovery and understanding -- to practice making clear choices about which barriers to remove and which boundaries to retain or modify.

©CCA 1998

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CornerStone Consulting Associates
Bringing Systems to Life
2761 Stiegler Road - Valley City OH 44280 - US

fax: 330-725-2729