Preface by Gunthard Weber
As I read the draft of this book two lines of a poem by Börries von Münchhausen came to my mind:
“But as the day sneaked through the gardens,
the white lilac had blossomed…”
I will follow this inspiration because I presume that this book will, for the moment at least, rarely find its way to the desks of managers who might be irritated by my inspiration. I see it mainly in the hands of business consultants and coaches. That the “white lilac” of Management Constellations really exists is still an insiders’ tip among managers. It is just starting to blossom but this book reveals that this extraordinary approach is already sneaking through the gardens and it gives us a glance of what it could look like once it unfolds its brightness, effectiveness and beauty in more and more companies. As in 1975 I was asked by several colleagues: “Have you ever attended a seminar by Bert Hellinger?” – in those days he was known only to a small circle of insiders – today it could happen that when facing difficult issues in your organisation you will be asked: “Have you ever tried a management constellation?”
There are a remarkable number of things that I like in this book:
It is compact and manageable so it can be read even by busy people. The authors present the contents in a well-structured and differentiated way with clear and vivid case-studies. The reference to the theories developed by C.O. Scharmer and K.E. Weick are stimulating and the comparison with the process of management constellations shows that in other fields similar approaches to consulting and management have been developed. The main difference is the focus on the language of body and space and on other dimensions of awareness.
The book presents itself in an unpretentious manner. Sure, it wants to convince the reader of the remarkable potential of this still young approach, but it does so without missionary zeal and points in detail to the challenges both for the practitioners and for the management teams that want to use it. Thus it appears clearly that the methodology is quite demanding and requests a lot of experience and background knowledge on the side of the consultant who wants to make use of it. More so than appears at first sight.
The possibilities to gain and generate information through management constellations as well as the reciprocally stimulating transformation of images into language and vice versa are presented in detail. This is particularly helpful for generating accurate hypotheses as well as for implementing concrete strategies.
Theory and practice are well mixed, although the main focus lies on the application in management contexts. You will be pleased to find very little speculation and, instead, a lively and comprehensive description of real cases. The reader will encounter lots of pointers for reflection and for action and this book will certainly, as did the previous book, stimulate profound discussions and initiate interesting developments. This book is trendsetting and innovative for practitioners of system constellations as it shows how one can tie in with the culture and language of management when presenting this potentially disconcerting method. It also explains how system constellations can be effectively integrated with other management techniques.
The approach of Management Constellations and Organisational Constellations is still in the phase of development despite having been successfully tried and tested over the last few years. In my opinion the potential range of applications of this method have not yet been fully explored and understood. As management constellations ignite the sense of possibilities in organisations, I wish that the method itself will gradually unfold its potential. This book could contribute to it being, in my opinion, currently the best introduction not only to management constellations but to organisational constellations in general. Therefore it deserves to command widespread attention and I very much wish that it will get it.
In many gardens of this world this lilac is already blooming.
Wiesloch, July 2010