Tetradian glossary

This glossary describes specific meanings of terms used in SEMPER and other Tetradian models. Cross-references between terms are shown in italic text.

active learning
systematic process of reflection on action, for the purpose of developing skills and competencies; examples include action-learning/action-research, Quality Circles, debriefing and task self-assessment; link-theme between mental dimension and physical dimension
matching the intended overall purpose; an EREAI effectiveness-assessment theme associated with the spiritual dimension of the context
aspirational dimension
see spiritual dimension
behavioural dimension
see physical dimension
shorthand term for a common paradigm of business and business-management characterised by a command-and-control model, win/lose transactions, short-term thinking, narrow focus, an over-emphasis on efficiency at the expense of overall effectiveness, and lack of awareness of the performance paradox
domain of inherent uncertainty and unpredictability; in the business context, may be partially concealed in aggregates such as demographic groups and mass-marketing, but at the individual level all real-world transactions involve some degree of chaos and complexity; also useful when deliberately invoked in creativity, in narrative and dialogue, and in foresight techniques such as scenario construction<
domain of emergent properties and non-linear relationships between factors; unlike chaos, which is inherently uncertain, may often create an illusion of predictability, especially where linear analysis is applied within a short-term, narrow set of assumptions
conceptual dimension
see mental dimension
process of emergent conversation in which awareness and knowledge are created between the people the involved; link-theme between mental dimension and emotional dimension
‘on purpose’, producing the intended overall result with an optimised balance over the whole context; requires broad generalist awareness of the whole, rather than the narrow focus required to create local efficiency, hence often contrasted with efficient
‘doing more with less’, creating the maximum result with the minimum use or wastage of energies and resources in a specific activity or context; improved incrementally through active learning and related techniques for feedback and reflection, although major improvements usually require a change in paradigm; an EREAI effectiveness-assessment theme associated with the mental dimension of the context
human dimensions of effectiveness, such as feelings, emotions and ergonomics, expressed in practice in issues such as usability, simplicity and personal preference; an EREAI effectiveness-assessment theme associated with the emotional dimension of the context
context within which cause-effect patterns can be identified only retrospectively, and in which analytic techniques are usually unreliable and misleading
emotional dimension
relational and emotional aspects of work and the workspace: feelings and values, internal relationships and interpersonal transactions, relationships with external stakeholders; also emotional assets and relational capital such as reputation and trust; see also visionvalueleadershipnarrativedialogue
the process and practice of deriving power from within the self, or assisting others to do so through power-with; link-theme between spiritual dimension and physical dimension
acronym for five keywords to evaluate effectiveness: efficientreliableelegantappropriateintegrated
the discipline of developing a forward view in time; link-theme between spiritual dimension and mental dimension; see also sense-makingstrategyscenario
a specific objective to be achieved by a specified point in time; emphasis on the physical or behavioural dimension of purpose, contrasted with missionrole and vision
contextual awareness of all the interactions between the physicalmentalemotional and spiritual dimensions of work and the workspace, and the active process of linking them together into a unified whole
mentoring, coaching, example and other processes for guidance of Self and Other in action; link-theme between physical dimension and emotional dimension
social acceptance of the enterprise and its aims; perceived to conform with ‘the spirit of the law’ as well as ‘the letter of the law’; may be referred to as ‘licence to operate’
dysfunctional power-transaction (power-against) in which one attempts to help the Other win by making Self lose
mental dimension
mental and conceptual aspects of work and the workspace: beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, procedures and process specifications; also knowledge-assets and intellectual capital
mental model
chosen set of beliefs and method to interpret a given context; usually underpinned by a less-conscious paradigm or worldview
a desired state to be achieved, usually within a specified timeframe, and to be maintained indefinitely once achieved; emphasis on the emotional and, to a lesser extent, the mental dimensions of purpose, contrasted with goalroleand vision
personalised and often emotive expression or interpretation of knowledge, as history, anecdote or story; link-theme between mental dimension and emotional dimension
process of integration in which efficiency in different areas is traded-off and balanced for maximum effectiveness over the whole; in any complex or layered context, the process relies extensively on the EREAI themes (efficient,reliableelegantappropriateintegrated) to identify the energies and resources to be balanced, and on the R5 principles (recursionrotationreflexionreciprocationresonance) to identify balances and trade-offs between different layers and sub-contexts such as departments, business processes and business units
coherent set of beliefs about cause-effect relationships within a given class of context
performance paradox
an effectiveness paradox in which a desired result is achieved by paying attention to everything except the desired result; arises where that result depends on emergent properties derived from the optimisation of many factors incomplex or non-linear relationships, such as occur in all organisations; particularly affects organisations dominated by a business-as-usual model, in which an over-focus on short-term financial results produces weaker financial performance than organisations which focus more on integration issues such as customer service and employee satisfaction
physical dimension
physical aspects of work and the workspace: skills, competencies, physical processes, behaviours, actions; also tangible assets and work-environment
the ability to do work or, in some contexts, the rate at which work is done; in a collective sense, the ability to get work done; in human terms, this definition needs to be expanded as the ability to work, play, relate, learn, as an expression of personal choice, personal responsibility and personal purpose and with awareness and respect of shared purpose; exists only within the Self, as power-from-within; see also power-withpower-againstpower-over,power-under
collective win/lose or lose/win process in which power is mistakenly believed to be transferred between Self and Other; contrasted with power-with
personal power; expressed as work in any combination of the physicalmentalemotional and/or spiritual dimensions; ultimately the responsibility of each individual, although availability may be enhanced through power-with or suppressed through power-against
actively dysfunctional forms of power-against, in which an attempt is made to prop up the Self by putting the Other down (win/lose), or to prop up the Other by putting Self down (lose/win)
passively dysfunctional forms of power-against, in which an attempt is made to offload responsibility from Self to Other (win/lose), or to take on responsibility from the Other (lose/win), without the Other’s active involvement and consent
collective win/win process to assist Self and/or Other to access personal power; contrasted with power-against
practical dimension
see physical dimension
a conceptual commitment or model, the mental-dimension equivalent of value
an expression of individual and/or collective identity – the spiritual theme of ‘who we are and what we stand for’; incorporates distinct dimensions of visionrolemission and goal
collective term for five characteristics of complex-systems used in the soul-model, namely recursionrotationreflexionreciprocation and resonance
overall balance in transactions, especially power-transactions; reciprocal balance between entities is not necessarily direct or immediate, and in many cases balance may only be achieved over time at a system-wide level, with energy-transfers occurring between physicalmentalemotional and/or spiritual dimensions; an R5 principle for assessment of effectiveness and relevance
patterns of relationship or interaction repeat or are ‘self-similar’ at different scales; permits simplification of otherwise complex processes; an R5 principle for assessment of effectiveness and relevance
corollary of recursion, in that the whole, or aspects of the whole, can be identified within the attributes and transactions of any part at any scale; an R5 principle for assessment of effectiveness and relevance
relational dimension
see emotional dimension
high degree of certainty and predictability for a desired outcome; an EREA effectiveness-assessment theme associated with the physical dimension of a context
the ‘snowball effect’ in all real-world systems, balancing feedback and feedforward (increasing the effect towards self-propagation) against damping (reducing the effect); an R5 principle for assessment of effectiveness and relevance
literally ‘response-ability’, the ability to choose and act upon appropriate responses according to context, as an expression of personal power; link-theme between spiritual dimension and physical dimension
a declared focus or strategic position within the ‘world’ described by a vision; emphasis on the conceptual or mental and, to a lesser extent, the emotional dimensions of purpose, contrasted with goalmission and vision
systematic process of assessing a context from multiple perspectives; an R5 principle for assessment of effectiveness and relevance
an imagined future context, developed for the purpose of understanding both the present context and options for action in the future context; a foresight technique
aspect of integration in which a meme – an idea, a practice, a way of relating or the like – spreads throughout an organisation, requiring little or no effort or intervention beyond the initial ‘seeding’; contrasted with the more typical ‘command-and-control’ tactics of business-as-usual, which require constant effort and intervention to impose a meme throughout the organisation; may be either constructive or destructive
acronym for SpiritualEmotionalMentalPhysicalEffectiveness (EREAI), Relevance (R5); also the Latin word for ‘always’
the process of creating mental models to provide a conceptual framework for understanding ambiguity, emergence and uncertainty; link-theme between spiritual dimension and mental dimension; see also foresight
(as in ‘the soul of the organisation’) the expression of integration throughout the organisation
colloquial term for tetradian
spiritual dimension
aspirational and intentional aspects of work and the workplace, expressed in collective and individual identity and purpose, and in issues such as ethics, values and codes of conduct; also commitment-assets and spiritual capital such as organisational morale, health and fitness; see also visionvaluesense-makingforesightempowermentresponsibility
a sense of meaning and purpose, a sense of self and of relationship with ‘that which is greater than self’, and also practices such as meditation and ‘bonding rituals’ which support such identity and relationship; expressed in organisations in issues such as ‘belonging’ (identification with) and active commitment to the collective identity and purpose of the organisation
‘start anywhere’ principle
corollary of self-propagation, in that ‘seeding’ for integration may be started from any appropriate aspect of the organisation, permitting different types of pilot projects to be trialled simultaneously in multiple areas – usually away from nominal ‘problems’ – allowing emergence to indicate ‘winners’ for further propagation; contrasted with most conventional intervention techniques, which usually attempt to tackle ‘problem’-issues head-on, often further inflaming the problem, or transferring the problem elsewhere within the organisation
‘big picture’ view of an action-plan to realise a purpose, usually emphasising its visionrole and mission components; contrasted with the tactics required to execute the plan
detailed missionsgoals and other step-by-step activities to execute a strategy, or some segment of an overall strategy
depiction of the physicalmentalemotional and spiritual dimensions as four axes in a tetrahedral relationship, usually also showing the respective link-themes as the edges between the vertices of the tetrahedron
an emotional commitment; link-theme between spiritual dimension and emotional dimension
description of a desired ‘world’, always far greater than any individual or organisation; described in the present tense, yet is never ‘achieved’; emphasis on the aspirational or spiritual dimension of purpose, contrasted with goal,mission and role; also link-theme between spiritual dimension and emotional dimension
generic term for the process of identifying, developing and documenting vision and values, leading towards strategy and tactics
dysfunctional power-transaction (power-against) in which one Self attempts to win by forcing the Other to lose
functional power-transaction (power-with) in which both Self and Other achieve part or all of their objectives for the transaction; contrasted with the dysfunctional ‘lose/lose’ transactions win/lose and lose/win
the activity of changing energy from one form to another; in human terms, the exchange may be between any forms of physicalmentalemotional and/or spiritual energy
largely unconscious but generally coherent set of beliefs about how the world operates; at the level of day-to-day practice, approximately synonymous with paradigm