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The Game of Teams

Teams are the new unit of currency in business. Harnessing the wisdom and brilliance of teams is not easy. It can be messy, confusing, non linear and complicated. Learn from your peers and thought leaders about what it takes. Listen to their stories, pains, and pride when it works. This show is about the magic of mining work and relations for high performance, satisfaction and fulfilment on teams

Jul 1, 2020

Introduction: Marita Fridjhon is the  CEO of CRR Global Incorporated. She has 25 years’ experience as a therapist, mediator, OD consultant and executive coach working across the globe. Maria is best known for her work as a Relationship Systems Intelligence advocate. She is passionate about modern systems thinking and working with the relations and information available at the systems level. She excels in facilitating client systems discover the solutions that already exist.

Podcast episode summary: This episode illuminates what it means for teams to think and see systemically . Marita artfully shared the learnings from her work  and her book, Creating Intelligent Teams in a way that I imagine anyone listening to the show will want to immediately adopt or at a minimum examine. Marita shared some excellent examples, resources and tips on the subject of Relationship Systems Intelligence.


Points made through the episode:

  • Marita shared her journey into the world of systems thinking and her work with CRR Global in helping teams and Organisations create systemic change
  • She described systemic thinking as a moderns systems approach to change, where the focus shifts from concentrating on the individual or bunch of individuals to focusing on the relationship between things.
  • CRR is clear that there is always rich information from the system that is different from the information from individuals. Both need to be heard
  • Get into the habit of hearing from the Voice of the System (VOS)
  • The question becomes “what is trying to happen in this team?
  • Research shows that biggest challenge for Organisations still organised in clicks and sticks or levels and spans is that execution is happening across teams and between teams -need to rethink our structures
  • Sport is a great example of how to think systemically -no one player is able to win the game alone- it is always a team endeavour a collective
  • This “knowing” often breeds a sigh of relief with Leaders and team members as it is never one individual fault or need to have all of the answers
  • One ground condition for change is to get used to hearing all the voices of the system
  • Important to remember that not all systems are intelligent some are toxic
  • Shared example of Redwood forests in the US where forest needs a fire to be able to rejuvenate and grow.
  • Systems Intelligence is about staying the distance long enough for the system to reveal itself
  • That does not mean we do not take action and we never know all of the time whether a decision we make is right or not but wise to reflect and ask “ what was trying to emerge with that wrong decision”
  • Some teams and organisation have deliberate “failure days” not to catch someone out or to blame but rather to learn
  • Striving for perfection or being right is often an antagonistic approach to take to change
  • Key message from her book “Creating Intelligent Teams”
  1. Make sure the system is able to ventilate -ask team members to share their complaint for 2 mins each Speak to the centre as opposed to anyone individual
  2. If you do not get at the VOS individuals will stay in premature state of attack or flight
  3. Put a chair in the room to become the Voice of the Team
  • Some key principles of systems thinking
  1. Relationship is in constant state of emergence
  2. Pay attention to the change that is happening and create from there
  3. Each system has its own unique identity
  4. Practice deep democracy -get all stakeholders voice in the room
  • 3 Phases of Engagement with CRR-
  1. Meeting: the client where they are -do a simple check in
  2. Revealing: This is where challenges, problems or things that are not working are voiced and with CRR that means a lot of experiential work
  3. Align and Act this is where a meeting, team or organisation can now see all and then decide how to figure things out
  • Marita offered 3 pieces of advice for Listeners
  1. Shift your focus from one to many
  2. Recognise that systems are in a constant state of emergence nothing is fixed
  3. Trust the system it knows



Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation


  2. Rod, Anne. & Fridjhon Marita. Creating Intelligent Teams
  3. Peter Hawkins & Peter Senge excellent authors who explore moderns systems thinking
  4. Sinek, Simon. The Infinite Game -How to lead in the 21st Century