The New Johari Window: #9 Turbulence
The quiet pool is represented in a relationship by those subsystems that never change or change very slowly. These are the subsystems that provide what Talcott Parsons calls the latent pattern maintenance of the system. (I will later in this book relate this subsystem to the fourth Quadrant of the Johari Window). These subsystems preserve the continuity of a relationship, while other subsystems in the relationships are rapidly changing. Continuity comes through the rituals, ceremonies, norms, values, and narratives of the relationship—deeply embedded and often invisible (latent) patterns of interpersonal behavior.
The quiet pool is also represented in both informal and formal processes that often dictate the nature of relationships in specific settings. Rules and regulations (that are slow to change and that seem to have a life of their own) dictate the form and function of the relationship—the external panes of the two windows are in charge. These rules and regulations are reinforced even when no longer appropriate. They are followed even when no longer formally in force. They are cogently represented in the phrase, “that’s the way we have always done it around here,” and are often reinforced by the remnants of the organization—those people and departments who represent the old ways of doing things in the organization. Everett Rodgers identifies these people as the recalcitrants of an organization who forever struggle against change and innovation.
This quiet pool may at first seem to represent a deficit and a source of resistance and consternation for those seeking to improve and adapt a relationship (or organization) to a changing world. We must recognize, however, that a quiet pool is the primary source of nutrition for the stream—and that (in a comparable manner) the quiet pool in a relationship (organization) is the primary source of its distinctive character, traditions and culture. Without this core subsystem, a relationship will fall apart. It will lose its integrative glue and its sense of abiding values and purposes. In a postmodern world where boundaries are falling away, the quiet pool contributes in a profound way to clarity in a relationship—particularly with regard to shared intentions and a sense of continuity and commitment. From this perspective, the remnant of an organization provides an invaluable wisdom regarding the deeply embedded patterns of relationships in the organization, and the stagnant resistance of the organization becomes a fertile ground for the formulation of new strategies that honor the past while leaning toward the future. From this perspective, the entire subsystem is a strange attractor—and the ultimate source of energy (as well as nutrients) in the organization or relationship.