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Systems Thinking – Psychological patterns to effectively lead change.

One of our readers asked about how to think of ‘scoping’ and ‘scaling’ for planning change.

This is our attempt to provide a short answer. We will put together an actual toolkit to help others. Stay tuned!

The critical element of designing change (for all purposes) is leveraging systems thinking.

Systems thinking refers to the way we consider and study dynamics between many kinds of systems.

In a society study, for example, we would consider individuals, society, sub-groups, economics, literacy rates, businesses, culture, etc.

In an organizational study, it is the same. We typically would consider systems consisting of people, structures, and processes that operate together to make an organization.

In doing so, we are looking to observe habits, tools, concepts, language, processes, systems, etc. in an organization to map the dynamism of our interdependent structures. This way, we put ourselves in a better position to consider those elements when building requirements for a change project – they often help us identify leverage points that may lead to our desired outcomes.

How do we do it? Well, there are several theoretical models to systems thinking, though I must say there is no such thing as a complete theory as there is no one good solution to any organizational problem.

What we can say is it is a dynamic and it is different than event-oriented thinking, meaning there are less causal chains of events to get to the root cause of an organizational problem. We tend to focus on the forces generated by feedback loops to find out systemic behaviors that may be nourishing organizational issues.


  • 28 September 2016

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