Systemic thinking is important. It works by understanding a complete system by a thorough examination of the all the links and interactions between the components of that system. Sounds complicated doesn’t it? It’s not really. Let’s take a look at how systemic thinking works and how it can be useful in everyday life.
Problem Solving And Seizing Opportunities
Opportunities and problems are two sides of the same coin. If you’re struggling to make money, it’s a problem. However, in order to make money you need to identify and take advantage of an opportunity to do so.
I teach that there are 4 stages to developing a successful business: launch, growth, sustain and scalability. When people start to think about a business, in most cases, they only think about the stage that they are about to embark on. So, if you’ve not opened the doors on a business – all your efforts are devoted to thinking about the launch phase.
However, this can lead to problems further down the line. Preparing a business for launch is important but what if the things you do for launch prevent you from being able to easily grown, sustain and scale your business in the future?
For example, certain labour intensive processes may, early in the life of a business, save a little money on automated systems but when you attempt to grow the business (and start paying others to do the work rather than doing it yourself), you may find that it quickly becomes cost-ineffective to do so.
If, however, we’d approached the business as a single system where we had considered all four phases of development; we’d have known that a short-term decision wouldn’t be in our best interests long-term.
So how does systemic thinking differ from ordinary thinking?
We take the whole system and we break it down into smaller units (policies, processes, practices and people).
We examine each unit and decide whether it is linked to another unit (for example you might need a person to carry out a process) or whether it exists in isolation. We also see if the unit exists entirely within the scope of our control or whether there are outside influences that may affect that unit.
We then plot the relationships between each unit in the appropriate level of detail. What do they do? What are the expected outcomes? What kind of bottle necks or obstacles are there to these relationships working in harmony?
We understand that each unit must function as well as can be in order for the system to function in a healthy manner.
Think of it as you would yourself. All your organs must function effectively in order for your body to work and they must each do their jobs (whether working in harmony or isolation) for you to stay healthy and fit.
If you’d like to learn more about systemic thinking and how it can help you as an individual and your business, please contact me today.