Living in a "Quadriform society" (T+I+M+N), we're constantly exposed to situational responses from tribal, institutional, market and network organizations. Chaotic, simple, complicated and complex situations are mixed up together. We're constantly wondering "where did that come from?". We're always trying to get a read on the responses we're seeing to the varied situations we're immersed in. Here's one way to sort out the responses that became clear to me by pondering the implications of Harold Jarche's added Group Work parameter to this evolving mash-up of the Cynefin and TIMN models.
- Tribal responses are lacking in coordination, cooperation and collaboration. They act against other tribes and institutions. They effectively undermine their own market position as a valuable provider, trusted source and understanding relater to consumers seeking cooperation with what they need. Tribal responses isolate themselves from the inter-dependent networks in their midst as if the network is more of the same chaos keeping them under siege.
- Institutional responses are lacking in cooperation and collaboration. They successfully coordinate their simple internal efforts with best practices while acting against outside interests. They discard their own failures onto their surroundings while making enemies of those seeking social justice, sustainable models, cleaner environments or other larger issues. They develop reputations for delivering reliable quality at what they have always done while proving to the market they cannot respond, adapt, evolve or learn from what's changing. Institutional responses firewall themselves off from the networks in their midst for security reasons involving continuing chaotic situations and others' tribal responses to the chaos.
- Market responses are lacking in collaboration. They successfully cooperate and coordinate with diverse niches, interest groups, demographic segments and consumer advocacy groups. Market responses act against rival providers while striving to better serve those who've adopted their differentiated and isolated value proposition. They practice empathy to allow for the value they provide to be intrinsic, unique to each beneficiary and decided in the eyes of the beholder. They cooperate with the long tail of active consumers by democratizing what institutions have centralized, controlled, restricted access to and mass produced. They utilize networks in their midst to get some buzz, spread their word, and generate some demand for what they offer.
- Network responses lack nothing. They collaborate with highly interdependent communities. They contribute to the common good altruistically, expecting nothing in return. The network returns the favor by extending the reach, enhancing the reputation and disseminating the value of each contribution. Network responses empower each participant to do their thing for the good of the whole and for their individual interests at the same time. They provide platforms for self expression that gives others the impression of understanding, respect, inclusion and permission to do the same. The usual problems that fallout from tribal, institutional and market responses vanish in the presence of network responses.
With these four ways to read the responses to any situation, it then become possible to define variations in situational literacy/illiteracy:
- Tribal responses are completely illiterate. They cannot get a read on institutional, market or network responses. Everything appears chaotic, out of control and unmanageable. Everything calls for a tribal response. Every response is tribal regardless of how big, well funded, long established, connected or responsive.
- Institutional responses can read tribal responses. They get the opportunity to impose control on out-of-control actions. They handle the constant danger of chaotic situations fueled by tribal responses. However, institutional responses cannot get a separate read on market and network responses. They equate markets with signs of tribal responses: being out of control, lacking coordination and violating their legally protected, proprietary interests. They view the network as equally tribal, aiming to put the institution out of business, undermining time-honored credibility, destroying their brands and disrupting their business models. They read a black and white subtext of insider/outsider, controlled/chaos, and with us/against us.
- Market responses can read institutional and tribal responses. They read shades of gray, middle ground between polarized extremes and nuanced subtleties. Market responses sees leveraging an apparent shortcoming where institutions see a weakness to keep hidden. Market responses create opportunities proactively by getting a read on who and how institutions and market rivals fail to serve, solve problems and adapt to the changing times. They recognize how customers form tribes of common interest, expression and connections. They see how to become less controlling, more accommodating and increasingly open without going into a panic like institutional and tribal responses.
- Network responses can get a read on all other responses. They read in living color. Network responses see how everything results from everything being connected. The network read of a situation is far more complex than we can put into sequences of words of spoken or written languages. Network responses take it all in. The read of the situation sounds like "Yes!"