This continues our look at the book, The Starfish and the Spider.
According to the authors, the second of the five legs in a decentralized organization is the catalyst. This is a very important leg because this is a major part of the formation of the circle or system.
In chemistry, a catalyst is ¢â‚¬Å“any element or compound that initiates a reaction without fusing into that reaction. (92)¢â‚¬ In an open system, a catalyst initiates a circle but then moves to the background or even out of the circle altogether. Catalysts get things going, then turn the control of the organization over to its members. In doing this, they transfer ownership and responsibility to the circle because they know eventually it will be time to leave, though their influence will continue because of the investment they have made in the circle.
Catalysts develop ideas, shares the ideas with others, and leads by example. They are like an architect of a house. They are essential to the long-term integrity of the home, but they do not move in. As a matter of fact, when a catalyst stays too long, the whole structure becomes too centralized.