Rethinking business organization through the Patterns of Total Body Connectivity

Photo by Adam Foster, Flickr

I grew up in a very (VERY) entrepreneurial oriented family. I watched both my parents create businesses, and I worked for both of them as I was growing up. After I graduated from BYU with my BA in Dance, I took over my mom’s dance studio but then later sold it as my graduate studies and working load increased. Some years later I married my husband Tom who has the heart and soul of an entrepreneur. Everything in his world is a new business idea. He is always looking for ways to improve products, enhance design, and make a difference in the world.

The other day we were discussing some of the ways companies approach their methods of business organization. Of course, at the word “organization,” I immediately thought of the Patterns of Total Body Connectivity! After all, these patterns are the blue prints that organize our movement from birth. What I love about these patterns is that I often find them useful for seeing other patterns in life whether it is in nature, relationships, or even business.

What are the Patterns of Total Body Connectivity?

The Patterns of Total Body Connectivity (PTBC) are linked to developmental movement—a natural progression that we all experienced in some fashion during our first two years of life. There are six patterns, each overlapping and supporting the next one: Breath, Core-Distal, Head-Tail, Upper-Lower, Body-Half, and Cross-Lateral.

Here are some of my (casual) thoughts that I shared with my husband on using the PTBC as a new kind of business model.

Patterns of Total Body Connectivity as a roadmap for business organization:


Breath
:

As the foundation of all movement, Breath reminds us that the whole body is connected. It is about being, oneness, and fluidity.

How does this relate to business? Before any business can be successful it should consider its foundation of being.

Ask yourself: Why is the company in existence? What keeps the business alive and moving? Is there tension within the company that may be “deadening” to the whole? How can it be resolved? Do all the members feel connected, supported, and unified with the company’s mission?

Core-Distal:

This is the first step in differentiation—a necessary process to understand core beliefs and extensions into the world that radiate out from those beliefs. It utilizes the support of Breath Patterning to create relationships to the world, other people, and the environment.

How does this relate to business? Business is all about relationships—understanding how your product/service connects to the world and how the owners, employees, customers, etc. connect to each other are essential for a company to be successful.

Ask yourself: What are your company’s core beliefs? How do you take those beliefs out into the world? What are the relationships that feed the company and support it? Does everything you do connect back to your mission? Do you consider how outside forces shape and influence your goals?

Head-Tail:

Energizing our spinal connections helps bring a sense of playfulness, liveliness, and integrity. It helps define an individual and their relationship to gravity. It awakens the senses, bringing our awareness and attention alive. It also awakes our ability to make good on our best intentions—providing a strong aliveness through our core to our pelvis, preparatory for shifting out into the world.

How does this relate to business? A business stands or falls on its ability to align its values, product, company profile, and unique features. These elements create a figurative spine that supports the entire business and prepares the company for action.

Ask yourself: Does the company feel flexible and aware of changes in the environment, or does it feel rigid, unbending, or passive? Do you maintain integrity to your core beliefs—do you know what you really stand for and what makes your business unique? Are your values aligned with your actions and product?

Upper-Lower:

This is the work-horse of the patterns. It’s a time to yield and reach. To push and pull. This pattern motivates actions. Our upper body can access space, make connections, and reveal our desires. Our lower body can provide support, grounding, and power to get out and DO the things we want/need to accomplish.

How does this relate to business? A solid mission statement will only take you so far. Eventually you must work to be successful. But so many business waste time accomplishing tasks rather than looking at how their actions meet their goals.

Ask yourself: Are you aware of the connections between what you see, hear, and speak with what you do and act upon? Do you know where you are going as a company? Do you know what forces are supporting you in your goals and tasks?  Is every level of organization doing its part to push the whole company in the right direction? The best question to ask: What work needs to be done? What work should be left alone?

Body-Half:

This pattern is one of simplicity and clarity in organization. It often presents an “either/or” sensibility. A theme of stability/mobility is often present as one side must support the other side into mobility.

How does this relate to business? Clarifying issues while assigning and appreciating roles appropriately save time, money, and heartache. Far too often the lime light is on the individuals doing the most obvious actions. But without the proper support the whole company fails.

Ask yourself: What are the big decisions that direct your company? Do you weigh both sides before taking action? Do you appreciate and support those people or processes that serve supporting roles?

Cross-Lateral:

As the most complex of all the patterns, Cross-Lateral patterning considers diagonal pathways for integration of all dimensions. Through its use of rotation it provides a means for us to mold and adapt to the environment and others. Its focus on spirals helps connect all levels of the body and gives access to the world fully.

How does this relate to business? Business requires adaptability, flexibility, and a skill to see complex connections.

Ask yourself: Do you see how all levels of your business organization are connected—including the “bottom of the totem pole” to your highest officers? Are you able to mold and adapt in complex situations?

Of course each of the patterns can provide insight into various aspects of any business organization. But ultimately it is through the integration of all the patterns (and a recognition of their progression) that you begin to see the highly connected and orchestrated system that demands attention of the parts in relationship with (and without losing) the whole.

What do you think? What stands out as important aspects of a business organization?

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Robin is a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA) and a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT). With an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, a BA in Dance from Brigham Young University, and years of both private and higher education teaching under her belt, Robin brings an expansive view of movement and the human body to her work.
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