SCTRI: Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute

Systems-<br />Centered Training and Research Institute Values

SCTRI is a non-profit organization that supports training and research in the systems-centered approach. We are an international association of over 200 members from around the world and most of what we do is done by action groups of volunteer members. Our members range from therapists, organizational consultants, pastoral educators, managers, teachers, administrators to curious people.

The Systems-Centered Training & Research Institute (SCTRI) was established in 1995 under the wing of Resources for Human Development, a not-for-profit organization providing support for fledgling public service groups.

As of July 3, 2006, SCTRI is an independent non-profit organization, recognized as a charitable organization under IRS code 501(c)(3). 

 

Mission Statement

Knowledge and Research. A primary purpose for this organization is to contribute to knowledge with the theory of living human systems and to do related research in long- and short-term change strategies.

Education and Training. A primary purpose for this organization is to continue development of methods of systems-centered education and practice and to train systems-centered practitioners to serve the community.

Community Development and Contribution. The organization will introduce SCT strategies for change to organizations, groups and individuals in private, public and clinical settings.

 

Basic Values

The Goal of Trademark Licensing: to maintain the integrity of SCT methods and to ensure their practice within the following values:

 
  1. Respect for the dignity and worth of all human beings.
  2. Respect for context: members’ behavior congruent with the norms of the environment and the norms of SCT.
  3. Multi-level thinking: self-centering within a systems-centered context.
  4. Empowerment of groups: authority residing with the group.
  5. Decentralized authority: maximum local autonomy.
  6. Commitment to develop a systems-centered environment: differences are discriminated and integrated in the service of the goal.
  7. Creativity: to express our creativity, while affirming the creativity of others.
  8. Open communication: communicating thoughts, feelings and concerns directly.
  9. Diversity: no discriminatory behavior around race, ethnicity, culture, education, economic status, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
  10. Organizational integrity: strive to live our values, saying what we mean and being open to hearing others’ differences.
  11. Accountability: quality service adjusted through an ongoing collaborative process with consumers.

 

Bylaws of Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute

ARTICLE I

Name and General Provisions

Section 1. Name. The name of this organization shall be Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, hereinafter referred to as SCTRI.

Section 2. Incorporation. SCTRI, the organization, was incorporated July 3, 2006 under the provisions of the General Laws of the State of Georgia as a not-for-profit organization, exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3). Net earnings of the organization shall not accrue to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; no substantial part of the resources or activities of the organization shall be used to attempt to influence legislation not related directly to the practice of systems-centered theory and methods; and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including publishing or distributing statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Section 3. Trademark. SCT®, Systems-Centered® and Systems-Centered Therapy® are registered trademarks of Yvonne M. Agazarian and the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute.

 

ARTICLE II

Purpose

Section 1. Knowledge and Research. A primary purpose for this organization is to contribute to knowledge with the theory of living human systems and to do related research in long- and short-term change strategies.

Section 2. Education and Training. A primary purpose for this organization is to continue development of methods of systems-centered education and practice and to train systems-centered practitioners to serve the community.

Section 3. Community Development and Contribution. The organization will introduce SCT strategies for change to organizations, groups and individuals in private, public and clinical settings.

ARTICLE III

Organizational Structure and Authority

Section 1. Organizational Management. The Management Group (Article III, Section 2) has responsibility for the overall governance and management of SCTRI according to its mission and values. The group meets twice each year, unless otherwise determined by the Management Group, at a time and place decided by the group one year in advance and recorded by the Secretary, to:
a. Explicitly review the structure and function of SCTRI and the Management Group;
b. Train and mentor each other in management roles to ensure continuity in the structure and function of organizational management;
c. Maintain accountability for implementation of decisions of the Management Group;
d. Review use of trademarks and any issues related to the rights and responsibilities of license holders with trademark holder(s);
e. Select the Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Steering Group and consultants based on functional criteria.

Section 2. Management Group/Board of Directors. The Management Group shall be the Board of Directors of the organization and consist of all those members that have become part of the Management Group, as it is constituted from time to time to have no less than one member and no more than forty-five members. A quorum sufficient for making organizational decisions shall consist of those members present. Members who have successfully completed the intermediate level of training through completion of the Authority Issue Group are eligible to join the Management Group, and become members of the Management Group by attending the regularly scheduled meetings and being recorded by the Secretary. Criteria for self-selection include:
a. Time, energy, resources, and willingness to commit to attending two meetings per year (one for members who live abroad), including the two-day experiential training prior to each meeting;
b. A commitment to contribute to the Management Group goals;
c. Taking up leadership in SCTRI;
d. Agreeing to decision by consensus and withdrawing from Management Group membership if unable to do so.

Section 3. Steering Group. The Steering Group is assigned plenipotentiary authority between Management Group meetings to maintain the vision and policies, and oversee the daily operational function of SCTRI. This group meets weekly, unless otherwise determined by the Steering Group, and can call upon the Management Group as needed to consult or meet by notice of no less than three days. Members are selected from the Management Group on a semi-annual basis, serving from one Management Group meeting to the next, and have responsibility to:
a. Implement policies and programs as directed by the Management Group;
b. Inform the Management Group regarding progress and developments between meetings of the Management Group;
c. Inform the Management Group of emergent organizational issues and any recommendations regarding these issues.

Section 4. Organizational Decisions. Systems-centered methods, particularly functional subgrouping, are employed to resolve conflict and build consensus in making decisions. Consensus means that every member of the group agrees to support decisions of the group and make them work whether or not he or she agrees with them.

 

ARTICLE IV

Work of the Organization

Action groups form as needed to implement the work of SCTRI. Action groups are filled by volunteers from membership.

 

ARTICLE V

Membership

Section 1. Eligibility for Membership. Persons who are in sympathy with the objectives and purposes of SCTRI and support its mission and values shall be eligible for general membership in the organization.

Section 2. Term of Membership. Membership shall be year to year, activated and maintained by payment of dues for the current year.

Section 3. Dues. Membership dues shall be set by the Management Group.

Section 4. Financial Consideration. A central value of the organization is that no one be kept from membership due to lack of financial resources. To implement this policy, fees and assessments are designated “more or less,” with an understanding that an individual may pay more if he or she wishes to, or negotiate to pay less if he or she cannot afford the set fee.

 

ARTICLE VI

Officers

Section 1. Director. The Director must be a member of the Management Group who demonstrates mastery of the theory of living human systems and its application to work with individuals, groups and organizations and whose work exemplifies the values and mission of SCTRI. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the work of the organization is in alignment with the theory, values and vision of SCT, for monitoring official communications between SCTRI and outside organizations, and for holding the Management Group accountable for fulfilling its roles and responsibilities.

Section 2. Secretary. The Secretary is responsible for preparing, compiling and authenticating the records SCTRI, including records of the Management and Steering Group meetings.

Section 3. Treasurer. The Treasurer is responsible for making the financial report to the Management Group, selecting the fiscal year, and ensuring that appropriate tax filings and records are completed.

Section 4. Appointments and Terms of Service. The Director, Secretary and Treasurer are selected and serve at the discretion of the Management Group, who shall have full authority to make decisions regarding length of service in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.

 

ARTICLE VII

Annual Meeting

Section 1. SCTRI holds an annual meeting, open to all members, and interested others of the public in observer roles.
a. The annual meeting shall be held at the time and place of the annual conference.
b. If there is no annual conference in any given membership year, notice of the time and place of the annual meeting shall be made to all Members at their recorded addresses provided in the organizational directory at least three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.

 

ARTICLE VIII

Amending the Bylaws

Section 1. The bylaws can be amended by approval of two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Management Group.

Section 2. Dissolving the organization. The organization may be dissolved by decision of the Management Group in accordance with Article III, Section 4, and Article VIII, Section 1. The Management Group has responsibility for the distribution of organizational assets in a manner consistent with the organization’s charitable purpose.

 

Amendments

Article VI Officers, is hereby amended to include:

Section 5. System Mentors. The System Mentors are responsible for monitoring and mentoring the function of SCTRI as a whole. They demonstrate mastery of the theory of living human systems and its application to work with individuals, groups and organizations and their work exemplifies the values and mission of SCTRI. They are responsible for ensuring that the function of the organization, its members and practitioners, is in alignment with the theory, values and vision of SCT.

On and effective October 15, 2006, the Management Group recognized the longstanding functional role of System Mentors as Officers of the organization and approved this amendment by two-thirds majority vote of the full Management Group, in accordance with Article VIII, Section 1, of these Bylaws.

 

Article VIII Amending the Bylaws, is hereby amended as follows:
Section 1. The bylaws can be amended by consensus of the Management Group, as defined in Article III, Section 4.

On and effective April 22, 2007, the Management Group approved this amendment by consensus.

 

Article III Organizational Structure and Authority, is hereby amended to include:

Section 1. Organizational Management.
e. Select the Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Steering Group and consultants based on functional criteria.

On and effective October 23, 2010, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.

 

Article VI Officers, is hereby amended to include:

Section 4. Appointments and Terms of Service. The Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer are selected and serve at the discretion of the Management Group, who shall have full authority to make decisions regarding length of service in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.

Section 6. Associate Director. The Associate Director is a member of the Steering Group who is responsible for monitoring the function and operation of the organization, supporting communication and cooperation among action groups, and ensuring consistency with the norms and values of the organization.

On and effective October 23, 2010, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.

 

The Steering Group proposes changing “Management Group” to “Board of Directors” throughout the bylaws. The Board is working at the policy and vision level and the term Management Group no longer fits.

On and effective October 23, 2010, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.

 

Article I Name and General Provisions, is hereby amended to read:

Section 3. Trademark. SCT® and Systems-Centered® are registered trademarks of Yvonne M. Agazarian and the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute.

The term Systems-Centered Therapy® was not renewed in June 2007.

On and effective October 23, 2011, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.

 

SCTRI Board of Directors' Report to the Membership – October 2014

Introduction

The SCTRI Board of Directors had its bi-annual meeting from the 16th to 19th of October 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This report offers a brief overview of the work undertaken by the Board.

The SCTRI Board is made up of post Authority Issue Group members who have the time, energy and resources to take up the role.  The Board meets twice a year for 3½ days each time; the first two days are process work with a Consultant (Yvonne Agazarian), where we work to reduce any restraining forces to taking up our Board roles, and the remaining 1½ days is working on the business of the Board.  Minutes of the business section of the meeting will be posted on the SCTRI website, Members section under the category ‘Minutes.’

Organizational Process Work

This session of the Board’s processing work focused on the new theoretical concept in the Theory of Living Human Systems that personalizing roles can be both driving and restraining forces, depending on the context and the goal.  Essentially, until the recent revision of the theory, personalizing roles were seen only as restraining forces (for a full discussion of this new theoretical piece, see article by Yvonne Agazarian in Fall 2014 issue of Systems-Centered News, Volume 22, No. 1).

A practical example of this work was an exploration about money in relationship to the current norm of SCTRI funding the fee for the consultant.  The Board explored whether to continue this norm or to have the Board Members meet the total or partial cost of that fee.  We were encouraged to explore via subgrouping the roles we had developed during the course of our lives around money.  As we subgrouped, with curiosity, around naming the roles, examining their origins and the impact of the past-adaptive roles on the criteria we have developed to inform our spending priorities, interesting things happened.  It became more possible to introduce (without embarrassment), person system context realities, e.g., demands on finances and to discriminate these from impulses and reactions that originated from the roles as outlined earlier.  It also allowed for a conversation about the duality of Board membership: on the one hand the organization wants well-trained members in order to have effective leadership, hence payment of the consultant’s fees.  At the same time, some Board members have described the process work as ‘priceless’ in terms of personal development, and as such may wish to contribute to the consultant’s fees.

What emerged in the tone of the work was a sense of generosity – a wish to both give and take, which if we as a Board can learn to inhabit, can only be a driving force for the development of SCTRI.

The conclusion of this work was that we decided that we were not yet ready to make a decision about changing the norm of the organization paying for the consultant.  Instead, we agreed to allow the learning to percolate in all of us and take the matter back for a decision next time.  This ‘pause point’ we agreed was important as the work around money is an example of the Board working and testing our organizational norms, and doing this at a manageable pace.  As a Board member helpfully stated, ‘Working with the decisions we can make and taking a next step without pushing ourselves to go the whole way.’

The subgrouping around personalizing reactions to money released energy and creativity that informed the Board’s work with SCTRI’s finances in the business portion of our meeting.

Another theme that ran through both our process and policy work was how to manage the role-locks that interfere with taking up our member roles in the organization.  We discovered that finding one’s curiosity and empathy for one’s self and the other in the role-lock is a driving force to undoing these role-locks.  This exploration felt like just the beginning of important work and two valuable points emerged from this exploration:

            Every voice is a subgroup

            Every role-lock is a result of a rupture of the system

Organizational Policy Work

Marketing

As many of you will be aware, one of the Policy areas the Board has been concentrating on is marketing.  At recent Board meetings, we explored the norm of ‘telling’ and not ‘selling’ and the implications of this approach for SCTRI.  This work continues to be worked through and implemented at the Conference Level with the Board giving its approval for an amended ‘short version’ Conference Brochure.  The Board also supported the focus on Social Media as a means of letting people know about the Conference.

The issue of plenipotentiary power remains a focus for the Board with a recognition that the Conference Co-Director system has continued to develop as it takes up plenipotentiary power.  An example of this was when it was recognized that one of the key conference sub-systems, the Program Planning Group, was no longer working. The Co-Director system innovated a new structure – ‘an ad-hoc PPG’ – which brought in new Members with energy and resources.  The PPG has since gone on to deliver an exciting conference program.  The Board also noted that there seems to be a system-wide development or shift in that members who have experience of working in work groups then have the ability to step into ad-hoc groups with minimum turbulence, and achieve the work group goals.

Developing Leadership

The Board discussed the benefits of making clearer the training and development opportunities that come with some of the volunteer roles available within SCTRI, e.g., the Conference Co-Director roles.  Whilst undoubtedly there is a lot of work linked to taking up these roles, there are also a number of benefits: learning about system building, managing authority issues in oneself and others, practicing task and process leadership, and linking with various sub-systems within SCTRI so one has a clearer understanding of the system-as-a-whole.

Fran Carter, Nina Klebanoff and Dorothy Gibbons on behalf of the Board are heading up a leadership development group to support members who are interested in being mentored to take up leadership positions in SCTRI work groups.

Photographs on Website and in Publicity Flyers

Clarification had been sought from the Board about SCTRI’s Policy on using photographs taken at SCTRI events and trainings for the purpose of social media and marketing.  This was discussed and the Steering Group have been tasked with developing a policy within a timeline of pre-conference 2015.  In the meantime, the working agreement is that anyone who is taking photographs must seek participants’ permission prior to taking the photos and from the outset must clarify what they are to be used for.  Any member who is having their photograph taken must clarify the boundaries within which these photographs can be used.  Personal responsibility rather than a ‘rule bound’ approach is the Board’s agreed way ahead for now.

Conference 2016, San Francisco

The Board was advised that the location for the 2016 Conference in San Francisco is changing.  The hotel has been specifically chosen as it offers an environment that supports the work we will be doing.  Here is a brief taster:

‘With a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Hotel Kabuki offers sleek and serene accommodation in the heart of Japantown.  Just a few blocks from the unique shops and fine dining of Fillmore Street, the Hotel Kabuki is surrounded by restaurants and is centrally located near to much of the wonderful sites and attractions San Francisco has to offer.’

http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/california/san-francisco-hotels/hotel-kabuki/

Recognition for Contributions to the Work of SCTRI

The Board wanted to reiterate our thanks and appreciation to the many members working in a variety of roles and within many work groups to ensure that SCTRI continues to develop and achieve its mission.

Board Membership

A reminder: anyone who has completed the Authority Issue Group training and has the time, energy and resources is eligible to be a Board Member.  I hope you can see from this report what an opportunity Board membership offers – you get developed and you get a chance to influence and support the development of SCTRI.  If you qualify and are interested, please contact me or any member of the Steering Group for a conversation.

Sincerely,

Annie MacIver

on behalf of the Board of Directors of SCTRI

Claudia Byram, Fran Carter, Rowena Davis, Dick Ganley, Susan Gantt, Dorothy Gibbons, Eileen Jones, Nina Klebanoff, Joy Luther, Annie MacIver, Mike Maher, Jon McCormick, Rich O’Neill and Sven-Erik Viskari