Gaia Theory, Covid and Bioteams

Gaia Theory, developed by the amazing James Lovelock, contends that our planet is a self-regulating system. An example of this is the incredible ability of nature to keep key variables like temperature, water salinity and CO2 within narrow upper and lower boundaries – seemingly despite whatever else happens!

Most of this happens through continuous small adjustment mechanisms which are effectively invisible to us. However over time the stress on one or more of these variables may become too great for the normal regulation mechanisms to be able to maintain the necessary equilibrium. When this happens Gaia Theory suggests that exceptional adjustments may then occur!

Some believe Covid is an extreme Gaia reaction to our ever-increasing abuse of the planet. The argument runs like this:

“Humans have become an existential threat to the earth and all the creatures which depend on it. Therefore an exceptional self-regulating response was overdue to reduce (or eliminate) this threat and restore the balance.”

What does this all mean for those trying to create high performing teams?
Bioteams Rule 10 in the Bioteams Team Organization Zone is summarised in just one word – “autopoiesis”. This term refers to the well-established theory of self-organization at a biological level developed by two Chilean Biologists (Maturana and Varela).

The autopoiesis concept is explained and applied to teams in more detail here however in summary using this rule Bioteams focus on three key (but counter intuitive) core values:

  1. Making positive impacts (transformations) on key people, networks and enterprises is more important than hitting deadlines and producing artefacts and deliverables
  2. Holding relationships and collaboration as more important than processes and leadership hierarchies
  3. Constantly seeking to create virtuous cycles both inside and outside the team boundary with reinforcing feedback loops. Such a team focuses on continuous improvement and learning instead of just “getting this job done and moving on to the next job”.

A high performing team may be much more like a living creature than a well-oiled mechanism such as a beautifully engineered watch. At the bioteam’s heart is self-management. Thus bioteams learn, reinvent, repair and reproduce through a strong set of commitments, practices and values which create strong performance, resilience and agility.