Human Nature for Human Beings
In many organisations, human beings are paradoxically seen as both the organisation’s greatest asset and also the organisation’s greatest liability. Although declarations such as ‘our people are our greatest asset’ and ‘it’s all about the people’ are routinely made, these idealised statements usually do not reflect the reality of actually working in the organisation. The reality is that, in a range of organisations, human beings tend to be viewed as potential problems that somehow need to be fixed and human nature is often considered to be an unpredictable and irrational phenomenon that will cause disruption.
Rather than engaging with the challenges of working with the power and potential of human nature, it can seem easier to invite human beings to behave in a more predictable and rational manner. One of the main ways of doing this is by attempting to codify and classify certain characteristics of human nature and then presuming that individuals will invariably behave in accordance to their classifications. This assumes an idealised set of behaviours for each individual, rather than working with actual human nature, which can be quite different. The actual behaviour of individuals will often differ from imposed idealised behaviours.
Actually working with the power and potential of human beings requires that human nature needs to be engaged with, rather than being avoided or dismissed. Although an organisation tends to be classified as a relatively homogeneous entity with stated values and idealised behaviours, it is actually a coalescence of connected individual selves. The individual self is the fundamental unit of any organisation and understanding the nature of the self and how it connects to other selves is key to influencing organisational outcomes. Instead of treating individual selves as objects to be categorised, ‘human nature for human beings’ works from fundamental principles of human nature and uses a practical multi-ontology contextual framework for self-understanding.
At its most fundamental, this practical multi-ontology contextual framework for self understanding is simply a circle, which forms the basis for a variety of processes that powerfully connect your inner and outer worlds. In working with the circle, more complex patterns emerge and these can be used as a way of understanding your self so that you can powerfully put your inner world ideas and instincts into practical action in the realities of the tangible outer world. I describe this multi-ontology contextual framework as an archegyre. ‘Arche-‘ means fundamental, and a ‘gyre’ is a constantly moving circle. This contextual framework is dynamic, rather than being merely static and its constant movement reflects the constantly changing perceptions of the connection between your inner and outer worlds.
By using an archegyre to help you understand how the various aspects of your self are showing up on your individual work and the work of your organisation, you can often achieve a clearer wider and deeper self-awareness that enables you to make sense of potentially confusing and seemingly paradoxical situations. Archegyres naturally form in human perception rather than just being mechanistic constructs that attempt to objectify individuals and their actions. By reflecting how human beings naturally perceive the world around them and how you instinctively work with what emerges, exists and evolves, an archegyre helps you to work from the centre of your own understanding.