The role of helpers

A source is rarely able to fully manifest their initiative alone. They usually need help.

Helpers bring specific ideas and carry out actions to realise the vision. They may help the source better articulate their vision or expand it in ways the source hadn’t thought of. In every case, only the source knows whether or not the idea or action fits.

The motivation for a helper to join a source’s initiative is usually an instinctive one, namely a feeling of being uniquely positioned to help realise the source’s vision. On further analysis however it is possible to see that the primary motivation underlying a helper’s willingness to help is actually the realisation of their own vision and need, through the opportunity of helping. This represents the most healthy form of collaboration imaginable. However should helpers’ initiatives drift outside the source’s vision, Koenig discovered this creates undesirable consequences. Many organisations in a state of confusion or tension have become disconnected from the source’s vision.

Helpers can be sources too

Thus it’s possible to see every helper as a source in their own right. From their own point of view they are trying to meet their needs and the energy they have for helping will relate directly to whether or not it meets their needs. From the point of view of the source they are helping, they can be seen as agents. They are not able to see the vision of the whole but their actions help the source realise their vision.

When an agent takes the initiative to realise a part of the source’s vision they function as a source for that part, as such it is they who have the vision, feel the passion and know the next step. In a company this might be someone taking the initiative to create a new product line or open a new division. It is important to recognise in this case that the original source does not receive the information on the agent’s vision or clarity on the next step. The agent receives these. So the original source needs to refrain from intervening at this level, limiting their control to simply ensuring that the agent’s initiative lies within their own larger vision.

Through looking at an organisation and mapping the initiatives of the source and the source’s agents we can arrive at a picture of an organisation that maps its operations to a very high degree of complexity. It’s a way to bring clarity to an enterprise which cannot be seen through a designed organisation chart. Research into how to apply source principles to organisational mapping is being pioneered by Koenig’s associate Charles Davies.

Next: Succession of source

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