Systemic Intelligence

"Systemic Intelligence reconnects us to a deeper knowing, providing quantum perspective, insight and wisdom leading to conviction and clear next steps."

Systemic Intelligence

It’s easy to spot a healthy system – people are flourishing, ideas are generated freely and there’s effective problem solving with minimum interruption. Symptoms of an unhealthy system include resistance, opposition, compulsive patterns, entitlement, overdrive, persistent conflict, oversimplification and overcomplication.

Organisations have intrinsic cultural and operational dynamics that can either support or stifle the business. ‘System Dynamics’ refers to the movements arising from interactions between inter-connected elements that, thereby, form a ‘system’. Understanding the most influential dynamics in a complex system is important for executives and crucial for the leadership of a successful organisation. It can give you the insights, perspectives and understanding to expose the truth of the system, remove the secrets, perceptual filters and distortions.

The challenge in identifying ‘system dynamics’ is that they are subtle and often not recognised at a conscious level. The ‘unconscious’ nature of system dynamics means that they are often more powerful than formally adopted mission or vision statements, permeating the very fabric of the business and impacting decisions and actions, outside of our awareness.

Systemic Intelligence allows leaders to see their current reality, exposing them to all points of views. Once seen, the rest of the system starts communicating. Then the leaders can explore different relationships to find flow, health and vitality. By making everything in the system observable from an objective point of view and expanding your perspective, you are able to see what requires attention and where to take action.

The Banking Royal Commission as an example

As I observed the revelations of the Banking Royal Commission, and other crises that engulf organisations, it strikes me that what’s so clear from the outside, seems to be so indistinct on the inside. While the complex issues that lie at the heart of organisational failures aren’t easy to resolve for anyone who’s in the system, I know that systemic work is a potent resource to address many of these conundrums.

When it comes to the failures that have been revealed through the Royal Commission, with the systemic lens I would be curious what has its roots in the past, what lies with consumers, what come from the interaction with other systems with which they are interdependent, such as other regulators, governments, superannuation, governance, advisors, and international financial markets. No-one is immune from a role in this. And while this is just one sector across our society, it’s a perfect example of the complexity that organisations everywhere are grappling with.

We can access systemic intelligence if we start listening to systems.

What are the systemic levels of conscience, and how to do they play out in an organisational setting? Their impact can be profound. Levels of conscience can be in harmony or dissonance. When we experience significant events, it can throw us into turbulence, which arises with clashing levels of conscience. When we understand how to work with these different levels, we can create flow and vitality instead.

See more videos here

Systemic Consulting

If we want to be skillful with complexity, new levels of awareness and expanded perspectives come when we realise the limitations of our own thinking and ability to observe, and instead open our hearts and minds to different realities.

The purpose and potency of understanding system dynamics is to review alternatives, seek clarity and gain perspective, create alignment, provide insight, resolve confusion, and create healing. This works powerfully for both individuals and organisations, which are human systems.

Mapping system dynamics

When providing systemic consulting, I first help create an awareness of the system, and the relationships between the elements in the system. This allows you then to achieve significant change by creating flow across the system.

An example is team dynamics – by listening, attuning and responding to the system dynamics. By exploring what is at play at the level of personal conscience vs the level of collective conscience, it can impressively resolve team issues and move them into alignment and the conditions for leveraged performance. It’s an exciting outcome that can have not just a significant organisational benefit, but deeply satisfying personal benefits to those involved as well. When we let the system do the talking, we see where the key points of leverage are. And rather than making ourselves superior to the system, we’re more in partnership with it.

Guilt and innocence in organisations as an example

Often I get asked to provide coaching services for executives who are wrestling with difficult decisions, knowing that the consequences of their decisions have a profound impact on both the business, the collective and the individuals. Decisions that relate to organisational restructures, strategic re-direction and investment, and prioritising resources all have a human cost. The choices that get made are rarely black and white, as contrasting needs and objectives can tug in different directions. Sometimes a decision can be one of silence, or inaction – not speaking up on an issue, not defending another’s perspective.

Too often, even if we don’t consciously use this language, we fall into the trap of being ready to judge someone as ‘guilty’ or ‘innocent’ in social terms, based on their decisions. Systemically however, someone’s ‘guilt’ or ‘innocence’ is perceived quite differently, because higher principles are at play, as well as different levels of conscience. For example, decisions are often made with the collective in mind, i.e. the enterprise itself, and not individuals. In this way, leaders have to be willing to carry ‘guilt’ for decisions they make that go against a social conscience – such as restructuring a team that results in someone losing their job – but in fact are for the collective good. Leading from this position gives you gravitas, whereas leading from a position of ‘innocence’ – while perhaps making you more popular – is not a long-term recipe for success, individually or organisationally.

Contact me if you would like to discuss how systemic consulting could benefit your organisation.

“I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the powerful impact of Sarah’s work in a number of settings, and each time have been deeply impressed at the insight her approach brings to problems that previously seemed intractable. Her ability to reveal the full spectrum of elements in any system – including what may be agitating the system, and what it takes to calm it – go far beyond the ‘normal’ organisational development approach of considering situations through an interpersonal lens.
Sarah’s methodology offers HR executives an invaluable approach to realising profound organisational outcomes.”


Business Constellations

The quantum approach needed for today’s complexity

Organisations have complex personal, organisational and social patterns, relationships and dynamics embedded within them.

Some are obvious, but many elements exist beneath the surface. Using ‘business constellations’, invisible forces inside an organisation are made visible. Importantly, the unveiling of the dynamics enables participants to interact with or alter the dynamics if they choose.

A ‘business constellation’ is a diagnostic tool that identifies issues and maps a path forward. Once you commence a business constellation the patterns and behaviours that require attention reveal themselves. It’s a quantum approach that bypasses conventional, linear approaches of understanding and resolving issues.

A ‘business constellation’ accesses the inherent knowledge and wisdom within the system, provides space for reflection and to explore the different dynamics, offers a new perspective and gives clarity and often conviction to actions.

Echoes of the past as an example

Across my consulting career, I’ve frequently come across situations of organisational dysfunction, where there was genuine confusion as to what was causing it and why unsettling incidents kept occurring. Despite best efforts and an otherwise healthy workplace culture, something was going on that would manifest itself in unexpected, troubling behaviour or organisational disruption. What I found in these situations, was that the disturbances were actually echoes of something in the past that had not been properly attended to; they were symptoms of an earlier event or decision that had badly affected the organisation and yet had been papered over or disregarded. Conducting business constellations brought these hidden dynamics to the conscious level, which then enabled them to be dealt with appropriately, resulting in the recurring disruptions to disappear.

“Having seen how some organisations just ‘gel’, while others struggle with dysfunction – even when the right strategy, structure and talent are in place – my passion is to help leadership teams shift their perspective from looking for tactics to ‘fix’ problems, to being curious about what might lie behind organisational challenges.
I’ve found that using organisational constellations is an incredibly effective approach that allows you to see situations from the outside-in, to understand how business really works and enable all the parts to operate seamlessly together.”


Systemic Coaching

Are you searching for new frontiers to enable your business or clients to thrive, and adeptly navigate complexity and change? My systemic coaching develops powerful break-through thinking for teams and individuals.

You will learn to understand and tap into systemic intelligence, which allows you to go into any situation and be comfortable not knowing what’s going to happen next. You’ll have a process that’s robust and flexible enough to help find the answers. It’s an incredibly relevant way of illuminating obstacles that impede the best-laid plans, and showing a path forward, whether in small business, large corporates or personal life.

From a systemic perspective, being able to listen to and read the system’s symptoms enables you to provide interventions that act as impulses for the system to come into alignment, or potentially they can be generative impulses that move it forward, or even more intriguing, they can be active transformational impulses that invite a new future.

Via either team or individual coaching, with an emphasis on collective dialogues, I can help you gain profound and different perspectives when it comes to issues like unconscious bias or guilt and innocence in the workplace, the collective conscious, navigating ambiguous challenges, understanding resistant or recurring issues, and organisational dysfunction.

Reach out to me to discuss what might be possible.

System Dynamics Training course

System Dynamics & Organisational Constellations Training 2023/2024

Are you searching for new frontiers to enable your business or clients to thrive, and adeptly navigate complexity, change and challenges using systemic intelligence? If yes, you are invited to participate in a unique opportunity – a 14-month training course in system dynamics and organisational constellations, incorporating the most potent practices and methodologies to mobilise organisational systemic intelligence.

For those with the consciousness, curiosity and willingness, this training requires a leap, both personally and professionally, and offers a highly leveraged platform for revealing different perspectives and new possibilities. The course is unique in Australia, and is designed to be undertaken by open minded and curious executives, experienced organisational development practitioners and executive coaches interested in an expanded perspective and offering.

While system dynamics is a growing methodology in Europe and the US, it’s relatively newly emerging in the Australian business context. Sarah Cornally is committed to bringing this work to Australian organisations and fostering a group of perceptive and skilful professionals and consultants to steward this work in the Asia Pacific region.

Are you one of these consultants? Are you looking to move beyond your current repertoire and step into the rich opportunities that become possible when you know how to work with systemic intelligence and system dynamics?

  • Recommended for Executives, Consultants, Facilitators, Trainers, Executive Coaches, HR & OD Professionals & Leaders
  • Teaching, Practice & Experiential Days
  • October 2023 to April 2025
  • In person workshop sessions.

“The opportunity to develop an emerging collective of professionals, who are able to leverage the profound insights of working with systemic intelligence in organisations, could not be more relevant. I believe that we have the opportunity to make a real difference to corporate Australia, NFP and public sector organisations, by developing and applying a systemic lens to the complex future that’s rushing towards us all.”


Click here to learn more or register your expression of interest!

Download SD&OC Training Brochure and Book of Case Studies on Systemic Intelligence in Business.

Graduates of Sarah’s System Dynamics & Organisational Constellations Training course share their learnings and perspectives.

What Previous Participants Said

“I’m at a stage in my work where I’m feeling pulled to a new level of effectiveness and impact. So I was really looking for something to give me the keys to unlock that. The systemic lens of this work gave me that and more – it’s enabled a whole new level of consciousness.”


“The value of the course is first and foremost your own incredible personal growth and development. The other most significant benefit is that it gives you a new dimension to your business. I can’t compare the value of the deeper understanding of systematic thinking it’s given me, and the more profound sense of what’s going on.”


“I absolutely recommend the course to consultants, coaches, and trainers. There are so many layers to the training that give so much more context, depth and breadth to the work that we are doing, and the impact that we can have.”


“On a personal level this course has expanded and deepened how I work with clients and the results of the systemic work are profound in terms of commercial outcomes and humbling and heartening on a human level. I am a far better consultant, facilitator, coach and mentor as a result of this training. I encourage others who feel a resonance for this work to contact Sarah and see if there is a fit.”