Systems Thinking

“The System is the Solution”

Systems ThinkingSeveral years ago, I ventured into the concepts of Systems Thinking. So the the first thought as I am writing this is who cares about Systems Thinking….it reads like some abstract….intangible idea with no real life application. Well….stay with me on this.

Peter Senge wrote The Fifth Discipline which is the cornerstone of the Systems Thinking principles.

“Systems thinking is a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation.”

Systems Thinking is looking at all the parts of a business or organization and determining how they all fit together to create value greater than the sum of  the parts. This is like getting the Big Picture of things and the problem in many situations is that people like and are only interested in one part of the business or issue.

Here’s two examples:

  • In my post on The End….the people in this group were fixated on the declining financial picture. They failed to understand that the financial picture was the result of not understanding their market and developing a product that the market would be interested in. All of the components of an organization are connected together and not separate entities in themselves.
  • The current issue of health care often debates about specific issues rather than the healthcare system as a whole. Allan Webber wrote:  “Rule #7 says “The system is the solution.” . The only way health care reform makes sense is to see it as a system, not a series of disaggregated choices or random unconnected episodes.”

Thinking about the whole business is at times harder than actually doing business.

The leaders of the best business/organizations, I believe are always thinking about the Big Picture.

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