Organizations are complex systems. There is so much data flying around, that workers need to filter which data they let in and which they ignore. In fact, because organizations are so complicated and multi-faceted, people and teams can and will create their own simplified version of reality, that they share with their close co-workers.
We call these versions of reality working models. This means that an organization, especially a large one, can be seen as a system of alternate working models (Trumpism intended). The issue is that very few people are aware that they have adopted a working model. As we will see, working models can have a powerful impact on productivity. Hence, we can speak of a hidden force.
There is a good side to this. If teams did not create their own model of their environment, they would never be able to concentrate on their core task. By simplifying reality into a working model, they are able to filter data, focus and get some work done, instead of having philosophical discussions all day long.
New people coming into teams are not yet familiar with the working model, which means they usually experience an information overload, but also notice things that existing team members don’t. This is why it’s so interesting to ask them how they see the team. You’re bound to hear some interesting stuff.