System Behaviours

A few years ago now, Lankelly Chase held a series of conversations and interviews with people in local communities to identify some core behaviours that support thriving communities and systems. People shared with how it is the presence of these behaviours, more than any specific methodology, that seems to account for this positive, healthy change.

They now influence how work happens and what to look out for as indicators of the change emerging. Learning suggests that they need to be present and continually promoted in every part of a system, that some may be easier to cultivate than others, they may not all exist at the same time, and some surely must be missing. But, for now, they are a good enough foundation to support the work.

These behaviours are about perspective, participation and power.



We are part of an interconnected whole

We are connected to each other and the planet in a web of life. Our individual actions are part of a hive of activity that is made up of the contributions of many people. 

People share a vision

People gather around a shared vision and appreciate each other’s views. We all want the whole system to work, even if we know we can’t control it.

People are resourceful with many strengths

We make up an intelligent network of people who have both strengths and weaknesses, and continually learn and grow with each other.



Open, trusting relationships enable effective dialogue

People feel safe to ask the difficult questions, voice agreements and disagreements and deal with the conflicts and uncomfortable emotions that may surface.

Leadership is collaborative and promoted at every level

There are different styles of leadership which call on a variety of skills and strengths. Everyone has the potential to be a leader wherever we are in a system. 

Feedback and collective learning inform adaptation

The understanding of a ‘problem’, actions taken to ‘change it’ and what we learn from this interaction continuously inform each other. A culture of experimentation exists where we embrace failure for what it will teach us.



Power is shared, and equality of voice actively promoted

We can all play our fullest role in creating an effective system. Unequal distribution of power, including structural inequality, is continually challenged.

Decision-making is devolved

People closest to a complex situation are free to use their initiative to engage and take responsibility for their own change.

Accountability is mutual

People are encouraged to be accountable to each other and our actions without fear of failure and judgement. (System improvements are driven by accountability to the people being ‘served.’)