Agreements Fields. Fields are systems where people interact, where there is a coherence that holds those interactions together. An agreements field then is the coherent capacity of interactions to tangibilize the potential energy available in those interactions. Experience seems to show that people experience weak agreements fields and strong agreements fields, which is supported by Agreements Health Check survey responses from 124 countries.
Weak Agreements Fields. When agreements fields are weak, we experience little capacity to making something with the available potential energy. Though we might see the potential in individuals and in the group, our agreements make it hard to work with that potential: we tend to focus more on getting the required outcomes, and much less on developing capacities and relationships or on seeing and engaging potential. To be responsible to the resilience of the group’s efforts, in weak agreements fields, we tend to try to increase resilience by increasing the flexibility of our capacity to get people to do work–our resource of human bodies. From this perspective, we need to be able to scale up and down the number of human bodies available to do work. When we need more output, we contract more bodies, and when we need less output, we contract fewer bodies. We can do this more efficiently by contracting that pool of labor–bodies to do work–and keeping investment in their training and benefits low. This leads us to focus on having flexible financial capital to be able to scale the number of contracted bodies available. Does the liquidity of this flexibility of capital reduce the return on investment, since it needs to be more readily available?
Strong Agreements Fields. When agreements fields are strong, we experience a high capacity to tangibilize the potential energy available in our interactions, by definition. We see potential, pathways to manifest that potential, and we use the outcomes of those pathways as feedback about the potential and pathways we saw. In strong agreements fields, we seem to increase resilience by increasing the capacity of our interactions to leverage our inputs, by working with the reenforcing and balancing feedback loops in our interactions and in the viral nature of our social networks. We study our interactions to find leverage through the nature of social systems. This allows us to scale efficiency, achieving much greater outputs with the same inputs, the same number of people with the same level of financial capital. By keeping the same people, we want to invest in their capacities and their benefits. This leads us to focus on being more strategic, more systemic, and more collaborative, as a way to engage and learn from the potential energy available to us in the strong agreements field.
If agreements fields have within them the capacity to tangibilize the potential energy available in the individuals present and in their interactions, strong agreements fields seem to engage our intention and our attention–what we do for what reasons and what we focus on–in very different ways than do weak agreements fields. I am curious what you find in these two different settings.