Locard’s exchange principle – A good principle for us all to remember!

March 13, 2018

I love a good detective show. Nothing too dark you understand…the hammier the better for me!

Midsomer Murder, Death in Paradise, the classic Murder She Wrote and even the brand new Shakespeare & Hathaway (I know, you’re astounded by my good taste in TV!)

It was when watching a particular gem, the afternoon classic, Armchair Detectives, that I learnt about Locard’s exchange principle. In forensic science, Locard’s exchange principle holds that the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene and leave with something from it.

Simply put “Every contact leaves a trace”

This made me think about how we could all apply this principle to the work we all do and the interactions we all have – Now I want to reassure you, this doesn’t mean I think we will all regularly come across people being murdered with the candlestick in the library for the inheritance money you understand!

But it is interesting to think about the trace we all leave in the interactions we have – for me this means:

  • In my work as an Organisational Development practitioner I support organisations to create effective healthy workplaces. And a key principle of this work is to be aware of both my personal impact and the impact my work has on the individuals, teams and organisations I work in collaboration with.
  • Also, here at The Institute for Organisational Development we often talk about the importance of working with the whole system. The system being the entire organisation and sometimes thinking wider than that. This is because, again in the spirit of Locard’s exchange principle, if we make a change in one area it will and does impact in every other area across an organisation and beyond.
  • And finally, wherever and however I interact with others, reminding myself I will leave a trace and I have a choice about what trace to leave and what trace to take from those interactions.

So, whether it’s the job role you do, the impact your work has across a business or simply your day to day interactions.

Remember every contact leaves a trace and be sure to be mindful and purposeful about how you leave yours!

Want to find out more about the work we do here at The Institute for Organisational Development? Get in touch rosanna.james@thebeechcentre.co.uk

Rosanna James

OD Consultant

The Institute for Organisational Development for People, Performance and Organisational Development

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