Working with leaders and organisations for almost 20 years, I have often been confronted with situations in which standard organisational development interventions could not bring the desired results. 

This can manifest in a multitude of ways: the knowledge from training does not stick, organisational change approaches do not manage to overcome the resistance, internal communication strategies create more cynicism then clarity, formally adopted values in an organisational culture project are not lived, newly established innovation corners in the company remain empty, motivational measures do not bring greater engagement, etc. 

It was rarely about the skills and capabilities of people leading these interventions. However, all these interventions were missing the point. It felt like there was a need to see these organisational problems (or challenges, if you prefer) from a different perspective; to understand them better, before setting any intervention.

darko markovic holding a speech

In addition to that, I witnessed how the level of complexity, unpredictability and speed of change in the way business was done dramatically increased during this period. And it seems like it is not going to stop.

On the contrary, more than ever, the change has become the new constant. And to be clear, it is not only about the technology, but overall dramatic changes on a larger playground. It seems that the rules of the game have changed, but no one can completely grasp them yet.

Again, it felt like there was a need for a different way of working with leaders and organisations in order to help them better navigate in this world. The aim is to create organisational systems that are healthy and strong, where purpose can sustain and the energy freely flows. The task is to establish organisations who remember their past, but remain open for the future.

One more thing I have noticed in my executive coaching practice is that the leaders often do not see themselves as part of the system they are leading. Somehow, in their mind, there is a separation between ‘me as a leader’ and ‘the system I am leading’. And this is where the classic coaching approaches are doomed to fail, or at least remain short-sighted and with lesser impact.

It felt like there was a need to rethink the way we work with leadership development. It goes way beyond personal competence, and even personal mindset; the view on leadership had to be larger, helping the leaders truly understand the systems they lead and the role they play.

Darko Markovic Systemic Solutions

With these questions in mind, my curiosity grew and inspired me to search for an approach that could bring greater benefits to my clients.

And like in the saying ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’, I have ended up in a small village close to Groningen in the Netherlands. This is where I discovered and learned about the phenomenological systemic approach to organisational and leadership development.

This approach originates in the revolutionary work of German philosopher Bert Hellinger. Initially, Bert had been more focused on the understanding of families and social systems, but the approach has gradually transitioned to the field of organisational life by his colleague Gunthard Weber.

This application of the systemic work in the field of organisational development and systemic leadership has been further developed and fine tuned by Jan Jacob Stam and his Institute in Middelbert, located next to Groningen.

It took me about four years to master the systemic approach to working with leaders and organisations, as taught by Jan Jacob and his team: Bibi Schneider, Barbara Hoogenboom, Anton de Kroon and Christine Blumenstein-Essen, to whom I am truly grateful. It was a long process of growing into the systemic way of looking at the organisational issues and leadership challenges. It was not easy but, since the very beginning, I felt like I was in the right place, with the real potential and concrete approaches to address the above-mentioned challenges.

So, it is time for me to give back and spread the systemic work further. This website will serve as a place to present up-to-date systemic solutions for organisations and leaders who are looking for more effective ways to approach their development. I wish you great systemic insights and, of course – solutions.

Darko Marković

Systemic coach, facilitator and consultant