Achieving and Sustaining High-Performance Self-Organizing Criticality and the Process Enneagram

What do fires, earthquakes and sand piles tell us about achieving and sustaining high performance in our organizations? In looking carefully at systems under stress we can learn a lot.

In the fire at my plant, the people in our normally dysfunctional organization suddenly changed into a high-performance team and did astonishingly excellent work…until the crisis passed. What happened here?

The earth’s tectonic plates gradually shift, building potential energy, which is released in earthquakes of various sizes.  How does this relate to safety performance?

Gradually adding sand to the top of a sand pile causes a build up the potential energy in the self-organizing system, which is released in occasional slips of the sand. What does this reveal about high performance teams?

These are all related and can be explained by the theory of Self-Organizing Criticality (SOC). This theory opens up insights and pathways for leaders to use that can quickly and effectively lead to high levels of performance in our organizations.

Tools will be shared that leaders can use to move their organizations to these levels of high performance and sustain them.

Three simple rules for leading and the two most critical steps that leaders can take to move their organizations to high performance and sustain them will be provided.

These theories, tools and simple steps are the core of Partner-Centered Leadership© which brings people together into highly effective, energetic and creative teams.  Partner-Centered Leadership is a robust, proven process that leaders can use to move their organizations into a much safer, more effective and profitable future.


Richard N. Knowles, Ph.D.