An Exploration - Relationship Systems Intelligence™

Updated: Feb 18

What is Relationship Systems Intelligence™ and who is it for?

I keep writing about Relationship Systems Intelligence™ (RSI™) and the contribution it makes to business and community. Well, more RSI is beneficial for any place where two or more people are on a journey to achieve something together.

Let us look at the three aspects of RSI:


Well, I don’t think relationship needs much introduction or definition. We are all in relationship, all of the time!

Or maybe it does need some definition? Who has helped you define relationship in your life?

What is relationship? The saying goes that we are always in relationship. It means that we are always interconnected with something or someone. That could be another person, that could be with ourselves, that could be with our car, that could be with nature, with the team at work or with the sports club we belong to. In this article, I am going to look at it from a team’s perspective.

Relationship is what exists between me and the other team members, and between each of them. Each relationship is unique and is created between the team members through what each of them bring to it.

Relationship holds a lot of information about how these people relate to and feel towards each other.

I might really get on well with person Y in the team and I might have an issue with person X. The unique relationship that emerges from this relational space expresses itself in the quality, or felt sense, of what is between the individuals. The relationship is experienced as a quality of that relational space.

This felt sense of the relationship has a big impact on the effectiveness of communication, collaboration, productivity and creativity between the people.


Let us bring the term systems to the Relationships in a team.

Wikipedia tells us: "A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.”

We can translate this definition to a team or organisation, for which the above is all true.

Teams are a great example of a Relationship System. The individuals of the team are the "the interacting or interrelated elements" of the system and the behaviours, norms and even spirit of the team ‘form the unified whole’. Teams are also impacted by the larger organisational Relationship System they are part of.

The focus in Relationship Systems (e.g.: a team) is on the quality of the interdependent field of this team. How the team members relate to each other is reflected in the characteristics of this interdependent field.

The characteristics of how people are with each other impacts the effectiveness of the team. The quality of cohesion, communication, collaboration, innovation, inclusion, belonging and productivity are all an expression of the of the Relationship System.

Relationship Systems Intelligence offers a radical shift away from the common way of looking at teams. It offers a holistic perspective that asks leadership to view and engage with the team as a unified whole and support it in creating the optimal conditions for effectiveness.

Influencing the unified whole is the objective of leadership, breaking away from the old model of myopically focussing on individuals only, where fixing team issues is done by only focusing on and fixing the individuals.


I was curious to what Wikipedia had put down as their definition: "Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. More generally, it can be described as the ability to perceive or infer information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviours within an environment or context.”

This is a rich and beautiful definition.

Relationship Systems Intelligence™ (RSI™) is the intelligence to consciously, intentionally and skilfully understand, influence, collaborate with and navigate Relationship Systems.

It is everything that Wikipedia so elegantly tells us about Intelligence, directly applied to working and living in Relationship Systems.

RSI enables the ability “to perceive or infer information” from the Relationship Systems to help it, and everyone involved in it, in becoming more effective as a unified whole: be that a team, department or entire organisation.

Since we are always participating in one or more Relationship Systems at a time, RSI offers an essential and extremely supportive intelligence for all of us to become more helpful and effective participants and leaders in the Relationship Systems we find ourselves in.

RSI supports everyone with “knowledge towards adaptive behaviours within an environment or context.” In this case the Intelligence of being effective in Relationship Systems, also known as a team.

Relationship Systems Intelligence is underpinned by 5 deeply human and powerful principles, which are fundamental truths about all Relationship Systems. RSI provides the skills and tools to consciously and intentionally nurture these principles in Relationship Systems, enabling the system to flourish optimally, irrespective of circumstance.

RSI covers the well being of teams, supports with setting up optimal structures, deepening inclusion as well as clarifying action and accountability for execution.

Please join me in my upcoming blogs in which I will individually explore each of the 5 Principles in more detail, highlighting how they support teams and organisations to create the conditions in which high-performance can emerge.

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