Translating Systems Approach to Family Therapy to Organizations LO24131

From: Winfried Deijmann (
Date: 03/07/00

Replying to: Translating Systems Approach to Family Therapy to Organizations LO24111

David Kramer wrote:

> In short, we say, long term customer loyalty and relationships cannot be
> achieved through marketing strategy, collateral development and
> competitive sales efforts. Long term customer loyalty, instead, can best
> be achieved through genuine human interaction in small, dialogic
> exchanges.


> It is possible to see many organizations as dysfunctional families, and
> many group dynamic comparison can be made. Leader as father figure, etc.
> My question: from all of your experience, will the corporate world reject
> the idea of working with a social worker with a family therapy background,
> regardless of his national reputation as a trainer, and how effectively we
> are able to feature his organizational model?

Hi David, you state that the best way to achieve long term customer
loyalty is through genuine interaction in small dialogic exchanges. I
agree. For me, this implicates that you approach and treat professionals
as mature professionals. If you label an organization as 'dysfunctional
family' hence its members, than that is a contradiction towards 'mature
professionality'. I have strong doubts that professional co-workers are
willing to be labeled as members of a dysfunctional family, the call is
too negative. A father-figure implicates that the rest of the family are
children. I am sure you don't want them to behave like children...

IMHO I don't think collaboration and communication necessarily needs more
'family like' metaphors.

Families don't have other functionality than to create a save social
environment. Organizations have primarily a functional output: products,
services, whatever. The corporate world is always hesitating towards
therapy like treatments, and they certainly are not waiting for yet
another organizational model.

As said: relationships develop through genuine open communication, so why
not train directly on that?
I think two core questions have to be addressed:
On corporate level:
1) What skills are necessary to deal different/better with existing
2) What do we / I have to change in the existing structures to give space to
the development of these new (communication)skills?

If a consultant/trainer with a background in Family-therapy can help
organizations to answer these questions without too much fuzziness, why

A message in a small story:

A child walked on the beach. Suddenly it stopped and picked up a small
object, observed it attentive and .. shouted excited: "Daddy, look, I found
a treasure!"
The father looked at it too and said kindly: "Oh, it is just a piece of
colored glass." from that moment the child only saw a piece of colored
glass, the magic was broken. Nevertheless, a moment ago... it was there... a
Who can perform magic? The child that turns a piece of colored glass into a
treasure, or the father who changes a treasure into glass? White or black

collegial greetings,

Winfried Deijmann

Mr. Winfried M. Deijmann - Zutphen - The Netherlands
Artist, Consultant and Facilitator for Organizational Learning, Leadership
and Action Learning Events
Phone + Fax: +31-(0)575-522076
personal websites:
International: <>

Corporate website: HORIZONGROEP - BUNNIK - HOLLAND: <> corporate email: <>

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