Welcome to Helping Human Systems

My name is Steven Byers and I use he/him/his pronouns. 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?


In 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. I use various approaches, depending on circumstances: The World Café, Circle Council, Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, and other structures. These are ways of convening people for meaningful conversation – a radical act that leads to significant change.

I also offer two other avenues 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 read my blog. And, if you live near Olympia, Washington, please come to the First Wednesday Conversation in the lobby of the Olympia Senior Center. My intention for the 2017 First Wednesday Conversation is to hone our skills in deciphering the plots of systems stories, with help from David Peter Stroh’s excellent book, “Systems Thinking for Social Change.”

“Since systems plots unfold in circles, our goal is to uncover the existing ones so that we can create new and more effective stories. …the act of recognizing the circles you are caught in is the first step toward altering them. Increasing self-awareness is an intervention in and of itself, and the precursor to making any other changes.”

David Peter Stroh, 2015

Send me an email or call me at 360 259-0340 to receive my monthly email invitation to this gathering.

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.

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