Welcome to Helping Human Systems

My name is Steven Byers and my work in the world is about designing ways of thinking, learning, and working together – better. In the role of trusted advisor, I work with individuals, teams, organizations, and communities – human systems – and help them gain a deeper understanding of the complex issue facing them. I look at the world through the lens of systems thinking.

Perhaps your organization or leadership team feels slightly adrift right now. There might be a sense that the work is not as energizing as it once was. Or that true north, once so clear, has been obscured by issues or questions avoided rather than discussed. Do you see patterns of behavior you would really like to change? Perhaps you notice that you are on a “problem-solution treadmill,” solving the same problems again and again. You might ask,

  • What is the conversation that‘s not taking place, the question not being asked?
  • What would it take to renew our essential conversation, to bring new energy and intention to our relationships?
  • Where do we intervene for lasting change?
  • How might we see our situation from a different perspective?
  • How can we get off the problem-solution treadmill?
  • How can we build on what’s working?

photo-peoplesittingIn my consulting practice I focus on the quality of interaction among the parts of the organization or community – the complex systems in which we live and work. I have found that when it comes to convening people, one size does not fit all. Therefore, I use various approaches, depending on circumstances: The World Café, Circle Council, Open Question Circle, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry. These are ways of convening people for meaningful conversation – a radical act that leads to significant change.

I also offer two less formal opportunities for meaningful conversation. Wherever you are, if you’d like to join an exploration of what poet David Whyte means when he says, “The conversation is the relationship,” I invite you to contribute to my blog. And, if you live near Olympia, Washington, please come to the First Wednesday Conversation at Traditions Café in downtown Olympia. The topics for 2012 vary from The Missing Elephant to Parker Palmer to Social Sculpturing to Poetry in our work. Send me an email to receive my monthly invitation to this gathering, which includes the 2012 mindmap of topics.

I invite you to explore this website in order to learn more about me, my work, recent collaborations, and ongoing learning. My intention is to enrich my colleagues and clients, stimulate conversation, and generate opportunities to do more good work.