Self-Defeating Action

This is a rather contrived Accidental Adversaries example consisting of two individuals working in the same group. Amy is very well organized and methodical, while Ed is very insightful and creative. Together they could make a great team, yet over time they defeat each other's, and eventually their own, success.

The insightful and creative person, Ed, continues to come up with new ideas for improving things, yet has difficulty figuring out how to present his ideas and how to plan their implementation. Amy's activity supporting Ed is then in terms of presentation development and planning. This leads to Ed's success for the presentations go very well and the implementations are perceive as very well planned. Ed's activity supporting Amy is then in terms of giving credit to Amy for the assistance in the presentation development and planning. This contributes to Amy's success, encouraging Amy to continue to act supportingly toward Ed. This is very definitely a virtuous reinforcing cycle.

All this works well until Ed becomes wrapped up in his own glory and begins to take credit not only for the concepts and ideas but for the presentation and planning of them. This is Ed's activity toward Ed which detracts from Amy's success. This also acts to decrease Amy's activity supporting Ed. At the same time this is happening Amy becomes dissatisfied with Ed getting credit for all the creative thought and Amy's activity toward Amy tends to be in terms of beginning to take some measure of credit for the development of the ideas. This action in fact detracts from Ed's success thereby diminishing Ed's Activity Supporting Amy as Ed is likely to start looking for someone else to assist him with presentation and planning, or even worse Ed may begin to believe his own lies and consider he is quite capable of doing his own presentation development and planning.

As it turns out the two balancing loops that are created tend to negate the reinforcing nature of the initial cooperative activities. We are most certainly our own worst enemies.

Effective Strategies

theWay of Systems * Feedback * Musings
Copyright © 2004 Gene Bellinger