Why bother with systems thinking?:: presumably because you want to understand!
Thursday, 8 November, 2012 2 Comments
I absolutely INSIST that you read this excellent 3 part series on ‘Systems Thinking’ (ST).
I came to ST along a path from insurance risk, to complexity and resilience but it made so much sense because, well, that is the way my brain is wired! When I was younger I didn’t buy in to the conventional Business Management books because they just didn’t feel right but ST did and, although it can, as John says, make you feel like you are going crazy! However, when the message is spelt out in such a readable manner I begin to see where I (and others) have been going wrong in our efforts to communicate the need for and benefits of change.
Because I hope this illustrates that ST enables a deeper understanding of systems irrespective of whether the are naturally occurring or man-made.
Please consider that engrained belief systems and the prevailing business culture are clear and present dangers for ALL of us. According to Alvin Toffler:
If that isn’t spelling things out plainly enough for you, you may already be beyond help so I’ll let you get back to your cave drawing!!!
Analytical thinking is hitting the laws of physics* and has been found wanting. The analytical mindset is at the foundation of our educational systems, our political systems, our financial systems and the business of business, all of which are reaching the end of their effectiveness in a world characterised by increasing complexity, volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity. This is being felt by many, but the awareness of what underlies it is lagging behind, so in an effort to ameliorate chronically low employee engagement, increasingly low voter turnout at elections, poor customer loyalty, or low attainment at school, we deploy little tricks or try to invent new “tools” or “techniques”.
However, all the tools and techniques in the world are useless to really address these issues if they come out of the same old mechanistic, analytical mindset. A more sophisticated mindset is required first. A new kind of thinking, not a new trick devised out of old thinking, is required.
A transition is occurring, however…
* Feel free to consider: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; Law of Requisite Variety; Principle of Incompatibility [Zadeh].