Key Concepts (Our Lingo)

Matrix Leadership Network

Matrix Leadership Network™ is a team or group that functions as an interconnected whole (rather than a collections of separate individuals). Connection and communication are intentionally developed between each pair of individuals in the network (Matrix). "Person-to-person" communication occurs in the open – in the "eyes and ears" of the Whole -- at least part of the time. Teams develop the capacity to function as living systems or complex adaptive systems. Leadership is shared and distributed throughout the network. Relationships and the network as a whole are resilient and adaptive. Real-time feedback occurs throughout multiple connections. Roles and perspectives become increasingly flexible and interchangeable. Differentiation (the synergistic exploration of diverse perspectives) replaces assumptions of conflict. Innovation and adaptation result from harvesting the emergent collective intelligence of all individuals in the network.

Living systems –and – Complex Adaptive systems

A "system" denotes living organisms and social systems that function as "an integrated whole whose essential properties arise from the relationships between its parts.... 'Systems thinking' includes the understanding of a phenomenon within the context of a larger whole"1

The parts of a system (individuals, teams, departments, etc.) communicate with each other. The system or organism also communicates with it environment.

The health, capacity and effectiveness of a living system depend on the capacity of the communication between the parts and the patterns of interaction in the network.

In today's globally interconnected world a "complex system is typically made up of a large number of constituent entities that interact with each other and also with its environment. Complex Adaptive Systems learn from interactions with their environment.2 They adapt, innovate, evolve and grow.


The arising of "higher level", novel and coherent structures, patterns, processes, properties and dynamics during the process of self-organization in complex systems; arising from the interactions of the components (agents) [or individuals] that make up the system itself.3 [Emphasis mine]


The capacity of systems to spontaneously self-organize themselves into greater states of complexity4 in response to changes in their external [and internal] environment.5

Emergent Leadership

In a team follows the wisdom, intelligence and path that arise from the interactions of the members. Leaders shift from command, control and prediction to facilitating and participating in the process of how members are interacting. The paradigm shift requires maintaining an inclusive network and being guided by listening to the "voice of the whole."

Collective intelligence

Collective intelligence in our work refers to the wisdom of the team or group that emerges from the synergistic interactions of all members that represent diverse perspectives, ideas, values and talents. It is the system's intelligence that is greater than the sum of the parts.

Culture change

The culture of an organization or community includes, among other aspects, the customs, norms of behavior, practices, values, beliefs, social climate, rituals and artifacts. For example, a living company may adopt a mission to change its culture from feedback that occurs only in evaluative, hierarchical "reviews," to one of peer-to-peer, real-time feedback that is delivered and received as an investment in working relationships and their shared goals and outcomes.


1Lilienfeld, Robert, The Rise of Systems Theory, 1978 and von Forester, Heinz (personal observation), as quoted in Capra, Fritjof, The Web of Life, Anchor Books, Place,1996, p.27

2 Gell-Mann, M, 1995, ‘What is complexity?’ Complexity, Vol.1, No.1, quoted in Accessed on 12/20/15

3Goldstein, Jeffrey,ibid

4McMillan, E, 2004, ‘Complexity, Organizations and Change’, New York: Routledge Publications, quoted in Gupta, Amit, Ibid.

5Goldstein, Jeffrey, ibid, quoting Nicolis & Prigogine, 1989.